Saturday, May 23, 2015

And many happy returns …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Happy Belated Birthday To Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Creator Of Sherlock Holmes.

Pressing on …

… Beyond Eastrod: the journey continues: Rage, rage against the dying of the light: the return of Beyond Eastrod.



It isn't about death, but a favorite villanelle of mine is Auden's "Miranda," from The Sea and the Mirror. 

Haiku …


Old streets and houses.
Some are left. Some will endure.
Time's spidery web.

Today's music …

A masterwork, period.

Have a look …

 Ralph Steadman’s Rare and Rapturous Illustrations for Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 | Brain Pickings. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Doing it themselves …

… 5 Famous Books That Were Originally Self-Published | Mental Floss. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Questions and numbers …

… Myles Away From Mathematics, Magic and Mystery | Colm Mulcahy. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

FYI …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Herman Wouk's New Book, 'Sailor And Fiddler: Reflections Of A 100-Year-Old Author,' Coming Out In December.

Through and at …

… Zealotry of Guerin: Inner Courtyard, Strandgade 30 (Vilhelm Hammershoi), Sonnet #243.

Dialogue …

… The hard problem: Tom Stoppard on the limits of what science can explain | Books | The Guardian.



The Playwright And The Scientist: A Conversation Between Tom Stoppard And David Sloan Wilson.

(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

One of the qualities of liberty is that, as long as it is being striven after, it goes on expanding. Therefore, the man who stands in the midst of the struggle and says, 'I have it,' merely shows by doing so that he has just lost it.
— Henrik Ibsen, who died on this date in 1906

Friday, May 22, 2015

Words of wisdom …

… from Ted Nugent: To The Graduating Class Of 2015… | The Daily Caller.

Too young to write a memoir?

...from the NYT

Inevitably...

Curiouser and curiouser …

… Quantum physics: What is really real? : Nature News & Comment.



If there is no objective reality, does that mean that reality is purely subjective? And what exactly does that mean?

Hmm …

Well, I have no right to comment on the UK's domestic politics, but this piece by Terry Teachout that I just linked to has this in it:

Molly Guptill Manning tells the story of the ASEs in the informative if lightweight When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II. All who read it will be awed by the industry of the men and women who published the books, most of whom donated their services for free. (The authors and publishers of the reprints split a one-cent royalty on every paperback copy.)
Starting from scratch, these civilians quickly managed to get large numbers of books into the hands of large numbers of grateful servicemen. Without their efforts, America’s soldiers and sailors would have found their wartime service to be even more cruelly burdensome than it was—and America’s authors and publishers would have faced a very different set of problems when the war ended and those servicemen returned home.
I rather suspect the program succeeded as well as it did precisely because civilians managed it. It's one thing to have a patron of the arts like Lorenzo de Medici. It's another to have a bureaucrat or an arts administrator attempt to take the place of a Lorenzo. Lorenzo was genuinely cultured, not merely credentialed or appointed.

Triumph of the middlebrow …

… How The Second World War Made America Literate. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

At the heart of middlebrow culture was the belief that high art was accessible to anyone who was willing to put in the effort to understand it, and that reading “serious” bestsellers such as Lust for Life or Marquand’s The Late George Apley could serve as preparation for more ambitious ventures into great literature. For those servicemen who were already in the habit of reading for pleasure, the stateside counterpart of the ASEs was the Book-of-the-Month Club (which is mentioned only in passing in When Books Went to War). Both enterprises were essentially aspirational in their goals, both drew on the same wide-ranging pool of books, and both were broadly successful in elevating the literary tastes of those readers who made good use of them.
Reading this, I was reminded that I am myself a product of middlebrow culture. I grew up thinking that even a working-class kid like me could aspire to enjoy Bach and Shakespeare and Rembrandt. All I had to was open myself to them.

Language, literature, and enrichment …

… Anecdotal Evidence: `All the Niceties of Melodious Speech'. (Hate, Dave Lull.)

I can’t speak to Auden’s state of mind but one can readily forgive his lapse in etiquette. It must have been a dreary event: On stage with Sexton were Pablo Neruda, Charles Olsen, Allen Ginsberg and Stephen Spender – world-class gasbags all.
True, but Spender, whom I met once, seemed not only nice, but rather humble.

Something to think on …

When the soul drifts uncertainly between life and the dream, between the mind's disorder and the return to cool reflection, it is in religious thought that we should seek consolation.
— Gerard de Nerval, born on this date in 1808

Snowflakes …

The Trigger-Happy Generation - WSJ.

With any luck, these people will be subjected to so much ridicule that they'll become afraid to bore us any further with their drivel.

A great perhaps …

 Bryan Appleyard — Life: Stupendous, Churning, Steampunk. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Pianist James Rhodes memoir blocked no longer

Rhodes’ memoir details the very serious assaults he suffered as a young boy and the way in which music has helped him to deal with the trauma. However, his ex-wife sought to prevent publication of key passages, arguing that they would have too distressing an impact on their 12-year-old son.

Retraction Watch

Listing scientists and others who issue retractions of their work...for example, "[t]he authors of a study that helped foment the public and governmental obsession with bike helmets later issued research that undermined their initial findings."

Masterpiece of masterpieces …

 I Am Not a Cheese - The Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I am a professional musician, and even without a detailed exploration of the harmonic relationships, the counterpoint, or the vocal nuances, I devoured every page. I know these songs very well, but 90 percent of what Bostridge wrote was completely new to me. Ever the history major, Bostridge explores the time and place — circa 1828 in Vienna, where both Müller and Schubert were working — and the cultural significance of some of the references in the songs: a history of tears (in No. 3 “Frozen Tears”), natural phenomena such as Ignis fatuus (No. 9 “Will-o’-the-Wisp”), and an especially fascinating treatise on the linden tree in German literature — No. 5 “The Linden Tree” being perhaps the most famous song in the cycle. A chapter on “The Crow” explores not only Caspar David Friedrich’s paintings but also the symbolism in Hitchcock’s The Birds. Even as I write, I know this threatens to sound dull, dull, dull, but in Bostridge’s beautiful prose, the entire story comes to life, and I swear I could hear little syphilitic Schubert finishing his famous unfinished symphony in the other room. (As a side note, he was one of the first composers to succeed financially simply as a musician, without patronage, and was quite successful in his day.)

Q&A …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Interview With Stephen Hunter, Author Of 'I, Ripper'.

Today's nonsense …

… The History of PTSD and the Evolution of Trigger Warnings | The New Republic.



Nice to see that those commenting disagree. Lo, how the New Republic has fallen.

At home, with the sea...

...Colm Tóibín: Writing is always a battle against your own laziness

I have a suspicion that he is terribly lonely.

Better heard than read …

 Toward an Oral Art - NYTimes.com. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

"Old men should be explorers …"

A copper's son …

Havoc. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
For many, certainty has become the new normal. But it’s an illusion. Like it or not, as the song has it, trouble is “laying and waiting on you”. Each of us wades in the swamp of everyone else’s actions and intentions. We’ll forever be vulnerable to havoc. And no amount of insurance, risk management or technology will keep it from our door. You might not have sharks in your neighbourhood, but there’ll always be a catastrophic diagnosis in the wings, or a financial crash, or just some moron running a red light.

Hear, hear …

 Apology for Grandmothers — Partisan. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Appreciation …

… Review: V.S. Pritchett and J.B. Priestley – The Turnpike short stories | The Dabbler. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A free speech primer …

… How To Spot And Critique Censorship Tropes In The Media's Coverage Of Free Speech Controversies | Popehat.

"Hate speech" means many things to many Americans. There's no widely accepted legal definition in American law. More importantly, as Professor Eugene Volokh explains conclusively, there is no "hate speech" exception to the First Amendment. Americans are free to impose social consequences on ugly speech, but the government is not free to impose official sanctions upon it. In other words, even if the phrase "hate speech" had a recognized legal definition, it would still not carry legal consequences.
This is not a close or ambiguous question of law.

Life weighs in…

… The End of Irony. Or Not. – Lingua Franca - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

And that brings me to Vonnegut’s fellow Hoosier David Letterman, whose final television broadcast aired last night. Think of Letterman mouthing the words “television broadcast” — or “beverage” or “ladies and gentlemen” or even introducing himself as “Dave” Letterman — and you get a sense that he was working similar effects, in the realm of the television broadcast. The opposite of irony is sincerity, and sincerity has for a long time been debased by TV talkers, with their sympathetic nods, creased brows, and phony concern. For years and years, Letterman was palpably not sincere in a single syllable he uttered.
Letterman never did anything for me. I think people laughed, not because anything he said was especially funny, but because by laughing they signaled that they were hip, they got it, even if they didn't, even if there really wasn't anything to get, which was usually the case.

Something to think on …

Act well your part, there all the honour lies.
— Alexander Pope, born on this date in 1688

Glib unflappability...