Wednesday, February 28, 2007

More on HWL ...

... Happy 200th birthday, Longfellow. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

I think that will be it ...

... for today. I haven't even left the office yet and when I get home I just want to relax.

Some day ...

... I will get there, and this is what I'd like to do: Walk the tube.

Maxine shares a project ...

... she's too busy to join (I know that feeling): The Golden Age of Detection Wiki.

Better late ...

... butr I should have posted this yesterday: Whales in the Forest: The Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Bicentenary. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Standards of brevity ...

... Guardian and Bebo promote Nanotales. (Hat tip. Maxine Clarke.)

You couldn't make this up ...

... Dracula Book Gets Pedophile Off the Hook. (Hat tip, Scott Stein.)

Time for ...

... Junto for March.

Congrats ...

... to Frank Bidart: Wellesley Professor Receives Bollingen Prize in American Poetry. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Binary titles ...

... a.k.a. Twofers. (Hat tip, Maxine Clarke.)

I pass along ...

... for the benefit of those, such as Peter Winkler, who comments on this post of mine, Glenn Reynolds's Advice to Al Gore Defenders. I should have thought an attentive reading of the original defenses would have been enough. This one, for instance - which argues, simply that people like Gore are better than others and should be allowed to behave accordingly.

There is also this: More Global Warming Hypocrisy.

Finally, there's this link to and quote from The Economist.

Update: Why the Gore story matters and related items.

The mail has arrived ...

... Today in Letters February roundup . (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Speaking of Neal Gabler ...

... he's got some bad news for Hollywood (which may turn out to be good news for all the rest of us): The movie magic is gone.

Florence King ...

... on Neal Gabler on Walt Disney: Live and In Control. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

It's about time ...

... Twilight of the Ideologies. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

That rarity ...

... an original take on Poetry and Politics - Szirtes View .

Can there really be such?

... A Decent Rejection ?

This is interesting indeed ...

... first off Bryan identifies (quite correctly) the Clueless on Wall Street .

But then his next post is about Monte Carlo. Surely there is a connection.

In support of freedom ....

... including Freedom To Read On The Internet.

Also, don't miss More Lame Reasons For Books to Be Censored.

The anglosphere century ...

... or The Majestic Sweep. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A tip from Maxine ...

... Writer's choice: Clare Dudman.

A good question ...

... Is Zadie Smith right on Trajan's column?

And, from yesterday ...

... the GOB's Contrasts.

I've been too busy lately ...

... to check things out as well as I should, such as The Kenyon Review Blog.
Lots and lots of intersting stuff there. Just keep scrolling.

Today's poem ...

... C.E. Chaffin's Aubade.

Blogging will remain light ...

... and spotty, while I finish writing my next review.

This is definitely worth pondering ...

... More Renoir.

On a lighter note, more on Amanda and Jeff: No Toblerone.

I was never a Who fan ...

,,, but I think it's interesting that he blogs: Britney and a Purple Dress .

Check this out ...

... It's not all Mozart.

Amen, brother ...

... Poets Against War. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I like this quote from Auden:

“There are many people, and they number some artists among them, who today seek in politics an escape from the unhappiness of their private lives, as once people sought refuge in the monastery and convent. Driven by envy and hatred they spread discomfort wherever they go and ruin everything they touch. A wise political party will have nothing to do with them.”

Genuine crushing of dissent ...

... Four-year prison sentence for blogger “Kareem Amer”.

Small wonder that Egypt made this list: List of the 13 Internet enemies in 2006 published. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden, who also sends this link: 'Inside the Wire'. I think it worth noting that these people are where they are because they were captured on the battlefield and not, like Jack Mapanje, who is quoted here, for their writing. That said, I can't that imagine their situation is very pleasant. But the book is being published and no one will go to jail for that.)

Tackling Shakespeare's sonnets ....

... The Perfect Form. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

They said it was hell ...

... Frontlines of poetry war nasty. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Huck's dad revisited ...

... Carlin Romano on 'Pap' Finn: The backstory.

Good news ...

... maybe: Environmentalism Evolves. "... you don't even have to care about global warming to be against burning fossil fuels." Indeed.

And here's more on that Whopping Utility Bill. Especially important to read - in full - is this undercovered news.

Finally, it is worth remembering this resolution, passed 95-0 in 1997 by a Senate presided over by then-Vice President Gore.

You may also have missed this: Way, Way Beyond Kyoto.

Some thoughts for Lent ...

... The Merton Reflection for the Week of February 26, 2007.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Enabling stupidity ...

... "Remove Child Before Folding" And Other Modern Prose Poems. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Another inconvenient truth ...

... in the form of a Utility Bill.

Well, how about that?

... Mike Hulme on UK press scaremongering. (Hat tip, Maxine Clarke.)

Hey, this is useful ...

... Ten Things That Will Cost You Nothing.

Maxine wonders ...

... What was your first detective novel?

I think mine was The Moonstone. Could that be right?

The future of newspapers (cont'd.) ...

... Office chair set on fire.

Something to look forward to ...

... Jacques Barzun Centennial Celebration.

The Doctor will see you ...

... online: Hyde Collection Catablog. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Speaking of which ...

... here's Donne again. I know it by heart, actually.

George Divine figures prominently ...

... (naturally) in the biography of John Osborne that I am reviewing. So Im interested in Harriet Devine's Blog. (Hat tip, Maxine Clarke.)

Well, it does seem like good advice ...

... Willa Cather's Words to Live By. (Hat tip, Maxine Clarke.)

Matinee musicale ...

... Hot lunch.

The inhabitants of nowhere ...

... The Men of Utopia: Who’s Who in the Cast. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Recommended reading ...

... The Forbidden Library.

Hey, I never thought of that ...

... the way to get newspapers interested in books is ... to put authors on TV! Book chat, book laffs. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

After all, we all know how important TV is to newspapers.

The future of one newspaper ...

... may not be so bright: More bad news for NYT shareholders.

Gee, maybe it is ...

... rocket science: Secret Workings Of 'Times' Book Review Exposed! (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

So you think you know ...

... the world: Globes.

Maybe I shouldn't agree ...

... because I guess I'm a critic, but I do agree: On Getting It Wrong .

Yesterday, I was listening to Granville Bantock's Sappho, a grand late romantic work that, like most of Bantock's work, is simply ravishingly lovely to listen to. How backward of me, to enjoy music that is melodic, emotional, accessible. Why not spend my time listening to Elliott Carter's ghastly string quartets? (I once spent a week listening to those over and over, just to get a handle on them - by means of which I was able to toss them out of my life forever. And I am a big fan of Bartok's string quartets - I think they're among the monuments of 20th-century music - so don't conclude that I just don't like "modern" harmonies. Bartok's music isn't "modern." It's just highly original and good, which makes it perennial.)

I think too many critics are afraid of being thought old-fashioned or insuffciently hip - or something. Of course, if you're just trying to be hip, well - you're not really hip.

Denis Dutton weighs in ...

... on Joyce Hatto: Shoot the Piano Player . (I saw this at Arts & Letters Daily, but Dave Lull also sent me the link.)

Courtesy of Art Durkee ...

... more from Gabriel Marcel: Creative Fidelity: We Cannot Go Back.

Postscript: The only interesting part about this is the part about Marcel. Otherwise, talk about turning everything into politics. Marcel's book has to do with encounter. Encounter may take place on the plane of thought, but I doubt if one can encounter a polity. And in a democratic polity a variety of views is presumed. The notion expressed on this post seems to preclude that those who hold a view different from the author of the post and others who think similarly are in any way authentic or could possibly be right. Indeed, the correctness of their views is such that they wonder if they can have an authentic relation with said polity.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

So ...

... Maud's going to be anthologized: Participation in the school band may occur.

Anti-Wiki ...

... A History Department Bans Citing Wikipedia as a Research Source.

Seems to me that Wikipedia was only part of the problem. None of these students checked enough sources to became aware of the problem with the Wikipedia entry?

Upscale YouTube ...

... `This Dumb Region of the Heart'.

Well, if you say so, David ...

... Process: It’s Like Falling Down the Stairs.

Hedgie has posted ...

... and Auden poem, one of the best, for W. H. Auden's 100th Birthday.

Also from Ed ...

... this terrific link: Ninja Poetry.

A nice roundup ...

... by Ed Pettit: Roaming the net . . .

Glenn Reynolds has ...

... a post parents made find useful.

Also check out this: Flying nostalgia

Check out ...

... Belinda Subraman Presents.

Goi here to check out Rob Sussman.

Just don't call him Al ...

... Rediscovering Alexander Herzen. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Common Book ...

"... I have frequently had the occasion to stress the metaphysical significance of the encounter, never having seen eye to eye with the rationalist who prefers to construe it as a simple, accidental meeting; but I had not noticed ... that encounters can also occur on the level of thought. To encounter someone is not merely to cross his path but to be, for the moment at least, near to or with him. To use a term I have often used before, it means being a co-presence. We have a number of thoughts with which we get by without really encountering them; they are not revealed or present to us, and it might be added, we do not expose ourselves to them. A real encounter with one of these thoughts, if we consider the matter carefully, is something which does not happen accidentally, and one can ready oneself for it - as for a visible encounter - but it still involves one of those shocks which punctuates the career of the soul."
- Gabriel Marcel, Creative Fidelity

Speaking of the news business ...

... this, too, is worth considering: The fictional career of a famous newsman.

We link, you decide.

In the meantime ...

... consider Spooky Writing Experiences !

Bryan has an update ...

... on God & James & Tom & Jerry.

Also, it seems Bryan wrote last week's news seven years ago: Just to Say...

And we wonder why the news business is in trouble.

Today's Inquirer book page ...

... honors W.H. Auden's centenary by featuring his poem Atlantis.

The feature review, however, is Vikram Johri's look at Edward Luce's In Spite of the Gods:
The Strange Rise of Modern India: A country racing to meld modernism.

John Freeman finds Daniel Alarcon's Lost City Radio chilling: In a Latin nation, men fight, die or disappear.

Katie Haegele DigitaLit column takes a look at computer-generated stories: Author, author! Computer takes a bow. By the way, so far as I know, Katie's is the only MSM column devoted to what is going on with literature and publishing online. So if you're involved in that sort of thing you may want to pass the word around. Or get in touch.

David Montgomery is of two minds about Steve Berry's The Alexandria Link: Sequel is engaging - and maddening.

Sandy Bauers listens attentively to Kurt Vonnegut: Thirty years later, Vonnegut is both relevant and resonant.

Finally, Carlin Romano takes a wry look at Mr. Wrong, Harriet Brown's anthology about love gone awry: Insightful tales of love gone wrong.

This past week, we had one other review and two other book stories. You can link to them here.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

I'm not sure ...

... if I'm coulrophobic exactly, but I don't like clowns. They give me the creeps and I don't find them funny: Coulrophobia 2: The Cull. I also have a cast iron alibi.

The economics of writing ...

... The Money Entry 2007: Science Fiction Income. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Still life ...


... a watercolor of a pear that Debbie did. I like it a lot.

Maxine and Bryan both ...

... though for different reasons, may find it worthwhile to look at this trio of blogging warfare.

I find it fascinating that a number of the professors involved in this are so fond of using the f-word. Why is that? I hope the UK is spared this sort of thing. What shall we call it? Discoarse? And how do you become a professor without knowing what a petitio principii is?

Wonder if this will make the headlines ...

... Chopper Down-Dozens Dead!

It's not too late ...

... to find your place in The Great Poetry Exchange.

Also check out Epigrams on Poets.

And, a related item ...

... A Reading Challenge In a Good Cause.

Wrinkled old retainer (cont'd.) ...

... Wicked Witch of Publishing Joins Great Scrotum Debate of 2007. “The Higher Power of Lucky” Fuels Bonfires Across America.

A book review ...

... well worth your attention: D’Souza goes native.

A bumper sticker ...

... I can finally agree with.

Are any among us more representative of the age's shallowness than those who think they're making a grand statement by putting on display something that reduces a complex issue to a dimwitted slogan?

Me too, I guess ...

... zombie reader.

Ed also got a nice note from Cordelia Biddle regarding his fine review of her new book: Biddle's The Conjurer.

Also from Minx ...

... something quite different: Alchemy.

More on ...

... that wrinkled old retainer: "You won't find men's genitalia in quality literature". Really?

Maybe it's the spelling ...

... Cosy. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Because, after all, there is the great Cozy Cole. Here he is duelling with his friend Gene Krupa. Nothing silly about that, though it's plenty joyful.

Okies, yes ...

... Oklahoma! no: 'Grapes' ripe with essence of Steinbeck. (Hat tip, Dave Lull, who writes also that "A friend of mine saw this on Sunday and said it was excellent.")

How could I have missed this ?

... Hackery: US versus UK. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I largely agree. I especially agree with Chris Hale and others about the New York Times and with dark heart's selection of magazines. A lot of the problem, I suspect, is that too many U.S. journalists are clergymen and social workers manqué - less concerned with reporting on events than on affecting the outcome of said events.


Terrifying implications ...

... What Brazil tells us about torture today. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I better not let my wife know ...

... about this: Shutdown Day. (Hat tip, Maxine Clarke.)

Debbie would surely want me to participate. Actually, since it's a Saturday, maybe I will.

Maxine encounters ...

... the downside of blogging: Unpleasant Cargo.

I think that Maxine's response on Winkler's blog just about says it all. If I were going to respond to someone's post to the extent that Winkler did to Maxine's, I would alert that person, in order for my response "to be read and to invite discussion." Winkler quotes this from Maxine's post:

My basic and oft-repeated point is to wonder why the "mainline" book publishing industry operates on the huge advance/remainders system, as the quest for the next Harry Potter or Da Vinci Code is losing them (on average) a lot of money. These days the big publishers won't look at books unless submitted by an agent, so they aren't even experts at selecting the books any more; they have become marketeers, trying to catch a commercial trend rather than being innovative and original. Hence this Christmas, one can't move for books with titles almost identical to last year's "surprise hit", "Does anything eat wasps?" and last Christmas it was the same for piles of books called, with minor variants, the same as the previous year's bestseller, "Eats, shoots, and leaves".

I could have written this myself. Day after day I sit in my book room at The Inquirer and see one book after another arrive modelled on countless others that arrived previously. One genius after another has managed to snooker more than the average advance out of a publisher to give us the real lowdown on Iraq, the Bush administration, imminent doom from this, that or the other. The celebrity's ghost-written novel doubtless cost the publisher more than the average advance. From where I sit the evidence of waste, unnecessary duplication, and poor judgment in the publishing business is overwhelming.

I could go on. I think Maxine's original post was sound in its thinking and its evidence. Publishing not only needs to change course, it actually is changing course - and POD is one of the directions it happens to be taking.

It could also use some more imaginative acquisitions editors. Maxine herself is probably worth a princess's salary as an acquisitions editor for a crime fiction publisher.

According to Bryan ...

... and I can hardly disagree, "weird Americana is always fun on Saturday." Hence, his post about Righting the Wrongs of Wikipedia. But get this. As Bryan noticed, there is no page for "Jesus Christ," but there is one for Jesus, which has this to say about Jesus of Nazareth: "... believed by Christian followers to be God's dad, who came to earth as a human c 2 AD. However, God has recently revealed on His blog that Jesus is actually His nephew, not His son."

Whatever we make of that, I believe I can top Bryan in the Weird Americana category, with this: No Strings.

I ask you, Bryan, is there a single British politician (with the possible exception of George Galloway) who can match the blend of vacuity and inanity this bunch displays?

Let's all keep ...

... Lynn Viehl and her father in our thoughts and prayers: News.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Bravo ...

... A pack, not a herd.

My kind of people.

We conclude tonight's blogging ...

... with this extremely important announcement: God to Call Press Conference.

New performances ...

... at Blue's Cruzio Cafe.

These are so neat!

More on those "greatest" sweepstakes ...

... Who is the greatest of them all?

Maxine links to

... Nature's X-files.

Also check out Another round in the stars. The Dante Trilogy is what interests me. I have the first volume to be translated on my personal shelf at my office. Now I'm sure I'll want to review it.

Finally, Maxine also alerts us to a New series on It's a Crime!


This is quite interesting ...

... A conversation with oneself.

Vikram, by the way, has a very interesting review in Sunday's Inquirer.

The grand finale ....

... 'A very trifling incident'.

Thanks to an experience I had a number of years ago, I am persuaded that death is not the absolute end of us. It isn't that I believe in an afterlife. I just think that life, once started, doesn't end.

Something I didn't know ...

... about Houston: Poetic Streets. Something to be proud of.

This is fun ...

... Admiral Dewey had won.

Sarah Weinman picks up on ...

... Proper Care and Marketing of Meg Gardiner.

David Montgomery ...

... has had a short story published in Demolition Magazine: My short story.

I heard this on the grapevine myself ...

... yesterday: LATBR in Danger of Being Marginalized?

I may have more to say about this trend - and it is one - later on this weekend.

All you films buff should know ....

... that Ed Champion's Oscar Blog is up and running.

I often find these useful ...

.... Archaic Medical Terms.

I'm inclined somewhat to melancholia, but I'm rarely depressed.

Next stop, nowhere ...

... fro Terry Teachout's Almanac.

Blogging will resume ...

.. later on. I have things to do and will be leaving the office early today.

Nick Tosches ...

... on Erich Auerbach on Dante: World Without End. (Hat tip, Dave Lull)

Mention is made in this of Ernst Robert Curtius's European Literature in the Latin Middle Ages, a wonderful book, literary scholarship at its absolute best.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Today's poem ...

... Partial Building Collapse.

Wow ...

... Gerald Howard on Philip Rieff and Reasons to Believe. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Good news for Brontë fans ...

... Carry on Wuthering.

Well not entirely good news, maybe even bad news: one rumor is of 'a "Hollywood comes to Yorkshire" supposedly starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie.' Depp would camp it up. Jolie would simply be out of her Depp.

Concerning character ...

... Paperback Writer: Protag No-Nos.

Another look ...

... at Independent bookshops and author readings.(Hat tip, Maxine Clarke.)

Bryan links ...

... to a wonderful Auden poem" For Auden .

"When Auden wrote the entire history of the language flowed through his pen."
Indeed.

A final salvo ...

... fired at Daniel Dennett: H. Allen Orr Responds. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

We link, you decide.

Would rows suite ...

... or something like that: Fun With Homophones.

Join the caravan ...

... The Camel Book Drive.

Boy, is this true ...

... from Terry Teachout's Almanac. Which is why I don't don earphones at exhibitions. I usually don't even read the stuff they tack up beside the paintings.

A most interesting figure ...

... A Squire of Skies. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Words and music ...

... Music and Writing: What Works For You? (Hat tip, Maxine Clarke.)

In today's Inquirer ...

... my predecessor as book editor, Mike Schaffer, takes a look at Jane Smiley and her new novel: Smiley's latest: Sex to the max.

... and Ed Pettit praises Cordelia Biddle's latest mystery: Book Review Mystery opens underbelly of Philadelphia society, 1842.

On Wednesday, Carlin Romano wrote about the author of The Race Beat, who have a notable connection with the paper: The press as hero on Southern civil-rights beat.

Vox populi ...

... may not be vox artis. Fay Weldon on The tyranny of the bestsellers.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

OK, this has nothing to do with books ...


... but I thought I'd post it anyway. Seems Jon Bon Jovi came into the newsroom tonight and did this photo op with Susan Balée.

The word of the year ...

... so far, anyway: beclowned.

My friend Saaleha ...

... has been trying to get this point across, too.

Today marks the centenary ...

... of Wystan Hugh Auden (this Wikipedia entry is approved by The Auden Society).

Here is a nice selection of his poems, including "Atlantis," a favorite of mine since I first read it (it seemed to be offering me personal advice).

Patrick Kurp posts some thoughts: Happy Birthday, Wystan! (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Wordcarving posts a tribute: This Lunar Beauty. (A hat tip to the Incomparable Minx.)

And Adam Kirsch offers and Homage to Auden. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Auden was a great poet. There has been no one like him since his death. I will add to this post as occasion warrants.

Update: Something doubly appropriate: Auden on Ash Wednesday . (Hat tip, Barbara Smith.)

Also, Ed Pettit advise in a comment that the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography has made it's Auden entry available for the week: Auden, Wystan Hugh.

Update: Maxine tipped me off to this piece in the Sunday Times: Losers and limbo.

Update: Carla Bruni sings Auden and others. (Hat tip, Daniel Scott Buck.)

And here's an Auden quiz . Yours truly got 11 out of 15, described as '
Impressive. You are found by the "Bureau of Statistics to be one against whom there [is] no official complaint".' (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Bryan takes on ...

... Liverpool's Inner Demons and alerts us to Hot News from Jeff and Amanda .

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

This is cute ...

... Squirrel Nutkin and the Merkans

OK, I'm late with this ...

... The Hummingbird: A Seduction

Maxine gets a well-deserved nod of recognition ...

... from the Guardian: A week in books blogs.

Good heavens ...

... Gladiators in Chester - and Afghanistan

What might they be doing there?

Day by day ...

... The Diary Junction

Once again...

... life imitates art: Philip K. Dick Was Right

Attention Brontë fans ...

... The Brontës' Influence. (Hat tip, Maxine Clarke.)

Also, here's a link to the Brontë Parsonage Museum and Brontë Society.

Oh, those Christians ...

... William Wilberforce in Book and Film. (Hat tip, Maxine Clarke.)

Not at all ...

... No offence? (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

"It seems this new wave is in thrall to literature's most base instincts, and much of it seems to be a glorification of drug use, nihilism and sex. And although I realize that this might make me sound like some kind of puritan (I'm not), I wonder how else I'm supposed to react to reading stories about drug addicts having sex with transsexual prostitutes, and the like."

This sort of thing doesn't offend me, but it is likely to bore me. I've known the drug scene a lot better than most people, and it's not terribly interesting, actually. Fictional drug scenes tend to be more interesting than the real thing, though rarely interesting enough. Fictional bars tend to be more interesting than real ones.

As for The Higher Power Of Lucky being banned from school libraries because of the use of the word scrotum, I was simply reminded of Vivian Stanshall's Rawlinson's End and the character of Scrotum, who was, I believe, a wrinkled old retainer.

Update: After I wrote the above, I kept thin king that I had heard about Scrotum, the wrinkled old retatiner long before I heard of Stanshall. Then, I remembered that I had first heard about it from a gay acquaintance when I was in college (a gay acquaintance? of mine? at a Catholic college? yes). He referred to him as a character in what he thought was a secret G&S operetta called The Sod's Opera. I have since discovered this: Request for Erotica Producer Information.

Harlequin Books ....

... has partnered with Sandals Resorts for The Harlequin Everlasting Love contest.

Good news for Jim McGreevey ...

... bad news for Daniel Dennett: Some poll results.

Now's the time ...

... Writing Chinese New Year Poetry. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

The plot thickens ...

... We noted in this post that the appeal of religion would seem to transcend species. Now there's this: God, Science, and Telepathic Pets. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Uh-oh ...

... Lord Jeffrey is in trouble: Move Over, Jeff .

Boy, will Amanda Marcotte be angry if she ever sees Bryan's observations regarding her execrable style.

Forget Imus in the morning ...

... try Homer: How To Start the Day. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I'd love to attend ...

... but doubt if I'll be able to (and I haven't been invited): The London Book Fair 2007. (Via Publishers Lunch.)

A couple of musical stories ...

... in today's Inquirer:

... David Stearns's piece on the Joyce Hatto affair: Ears don't deceive - the CD covers do.

... and more on Dame Nora: Philly's piano-playing cat is YouTube star.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Ouch ...

... Glenn Reynolds on some bogus charges about a book.

That Steyn was warning of a future, not advocating one, has always been obvious to me. And it's a serious warning, especially given that the current civil authorities in most European countries are ineffectually waffling in full Weimar mode.
As Glenn would say, read the whole thing.

OK, so she's no Joyce Hatto ...

... Nora, The Piano-Playing Cat.

In case that doesn't work, try this link.

Don't miss ...

... the GOB's Monday meanderings .

Dickens & Co. ...

... Coming soon: How to write a serial narrative. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something else to worry about ...

... Obesity Causes Television.

It's not too good for the mind, either.

Something I missed once ....

... but won't miss twice: Wife in the Money and Wife in the Money 2: Jeff Calls .

I am beginning to understand why I am not rich.

Sad news ...

... Jakov Lind RIP. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Who knew?

... The tale’s the thing, for every generation. (Hat tip, dave Lull.)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

We've got company ...

... newspapers, that is: Magazine circulation down.

The nature of poetry ...

...`Poetry is Not the Thing Said But a Way of Saying It'.

You can't please everybody ...

... Brits on Yanks.

Research isn't what it used to be ...

... it's easier: Pinned Down.

More on ...

... that new technology thingee: Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge Device.

Ouch ...

... Review - A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. (Hat tip, Maxine Clarke.)

The view from abroad ...

... Bernanke fills Greenspan’s large shoes.

The economy seems about as good as it can get.

Funny, I haven't heard much about that.


Something I forgot ...


... to mention. The other day, one of these guys was perched in my South Philly backyard. It's a red-tailed hawk.

Take that ...

... Secular Eschatologies and Class Interests of the Internationalized New Class. Via InstaPundit.

The link is to an abstract of the document. You have to download the document by clinking the icon in the upper left.

Another discovery by Amy ...

... Separated By A Common Language.

Check out ...

... what Negley says....

Also from Maxine ...

... A tale of three letters, for Susan.

Maxine reviews ...

... Betrayal, by Paul Carson.

Possible loss to literature ....

... Literary Agent. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Another list ...

... of personal bests, this one William Boyd's: My Five Most Important Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Today's Inquirer reviews ...

... Thomas Devaney offers of a comprehensive view of Charles Bernstein's Girly Man: His most emphatic, rewarding poems yet.

Carlin Romano assesses the achievement of James A. Michener, whose centenary took place on Feb. 3: Michener's legacy: Author or benefactor?

Roger Miller returns to his childhood to review The Dead Fathers Club: If Hamlet were 11, he might write this.

I was quite impressed by Keith Dixon's The Art of Losing: A deceptive novel morphs from caper to moral fable.

Glenn Altschuler isn't entirely convinced by Peter Wood's A Bee in the Mouth: 'New Anger' traced to those '60s liberals.

Michael Harrington likes the cartoons, but is less impressed by the life: Addams' cartoons fascinating, but not his life .

Katie Haegele is charmed by the language of Un Lun Dun: Young Adult Reader | Clever wordplay energizes this oddball adventure story.

During the past week ...

Rita Giordano was impressed by a moving personal account of autism: Book Review | Unflinching look at autism in the family.

David Walton found Vic Gatrell's City of Laughter more than just fun: Book Review | Drawing on a thirst for celebrity scandals .

Phaedra Trethan found truth and laughter in Ron Geraci's The Bachelor Chronicles: Book Review | A bachelor's witty, touching take on the dating game .

And Desmond Ryan found Stanley Weintraub's 11 Days in December to be not your usual Christmas story: Book Review | Christmas on a bloody battlefield

Well, this is certainly interesting ...

... Polish poets threaten Google's supremacy. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Maybe I shouldn't get into this ...

... Who is the greatest living writer of the British Isles? (Hat tip, Maxine Clarke.)

But why not? My own pick would be A.S. Byatt.

Well, this is pretty bad ...

... PhD-Dissertations.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Andrew Kenneally also brought something like this to my attention the other day after he saw an ad for it on this blog. During my lean years as a freelancer I sometimes copyedited dissertations and I see nothing wrong wih getting editorial help because everyone can use an editor. But this is ghost-writing, for God's sake!

The incomparable Florence King ...

... on the Angri-cultural Revolution. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

They had discovered that expressing anger was a new way of defining the self—“I’m angry; therefore, I am”—and a lot easier than the old way of sacrifice and delayed pleasures.

Indeed.

For thoughtful conservatives ...

... there is a book sale on at ISI Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In the interest of full disclosure, I actually worked for ISI four decades ago (frightening thought - the time, not the job, which was great).

Is blogging heritable?

... Like Father, Like Son. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Welcome to the 'sphere, Joshua.

More on ...

... The Top Ten Books.

The start ...

... of Maxine's fortune:Thank you, Brainiads.

Things are moving apace ...

... Faith in Meg and Frum.

Friday, February 16, 2007

OK, 'fess up ...

...Who Took the 'Judeo' Out of 'Judeo-Christian'? (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Wasn't me.

Check out ...

... Blue Kookaburra.

Posted just today ...

... A Shameless Short Story.

Life and literature ...

...`Merely Beautiful'. This brings to mind Wallace Stevens's wonder Of Mere Being

Right under my nose ...

... and I didn't know. Garrett County Press is not only located in Philadelphia, it's actually not far from where I live. Garrett's editor in chief Joley Wood is blogging at Powell's: Flashes of Lost.

A cri de coeur ...

... from Maxine: Workaholic questions.

Workaholics, Maxine? You? Me?

Uh-oh ...

... Dangerous Knowledge In Academe. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

But that's what academics thrive on, isn't it? Danger. Transgressiveness.

Well, I'm not sure ...

... The Uncertainty Principle of Beauty. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Actually, I still like Hermann Hesse, if only for the thrill his books gave me when I first discovered them (when I was studying German in college and before the craze began) - and also whenever I listen to Strauss's Four Last Songs.

Happy birthday ...

... to Steve Clackson

Well, this sounds useful ...

... A Good Source Of Info For Internet Speak

OK ...

... I've linked here to a couple of posts complaining about New Blogger. I had to make the switch today. So far, I have had no problem. It seems much faster, but that may have more to do with Scott's good services (mentioned in an earlier post), for all I know.

This is certainly true ...

... it is Tiime for an American Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

But I think, if it happens, it will be electronic.

I am back ...

... a very nice young man named Scott, from The Original Computer Doctor, just came by and serviced my home computer, which was moving like the proverbial molasses in January. No longer. And I now know some things I didn't know before and am quite a happy camper. Than you, Scott!

No blogging for now ...

... because someone is coming by shortly to do some work on my home computer. Blogging will resume sometime later.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Things are more complicated ...

... than we thought: The Hidden Matter of the Dwarf Spheroidal .

Take that ...

... Sam Tanenhaus is the Misinformed One.

I don't know Sam Tanenhaus, but I reviewed his biography of Whittaker Chambers and thought it masterful. His knowledge of blogs does seem wanting, however. And yes, Bob Hoover does have a sense of humor, quite a lively one, in fact. He is also a first-class guy and a first-rate book review editor.

Today's must read ...

... is this piece by Kenneth Rexroth: The Reality of Henry Miller. On this date, 21 years ago, according to the wonderful Today in Literature, "the original manuscript of Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer was auctioned for $165,000, then a record price for a 20th century literary manuscript."

Unacknowledged no more ...

... Poetic Lawmakers.

A question worth asking ...

... especially yesterday, when I missed this: Was Cleopatra beautiful?

Maxine serves up ...

... Just a few highlights. And also has Sharing sorted out, sort of.

Bryan in Philly ...

... On Camille .

Another look at The Divine Camille.

A list of a different sort ...

... A little list.

Cathy Young picks up ...

... on something Bryan had noted: PandaGate and anti-male bigotry . (I saw this at InstPundit, but Scott Stein also noted it ina comment attached to an earlier post. Be forewarned: Young's post quotes Amanda Marcotte in all her coarse grandeur.)

As a Catholic, I find Marcotte's rants against the Church too puerile for comment. But the Church isn't the only thing she apparently feels obliged to be offensive about - and being offensive appears to be important to her. It is how she chooses to "express herself," to make her case, which is fine, so long as she doesn't expect everyone to respond enthusiastically to the self - or the points - so expressed. Choosing such a person for one's political campaign is transparently impolitic, and anyone who says otherwise is either foolish or mendacious.

Let's start the day ...

... with me! Here's my piece on J. Peder Zane's The Top Ten: Author, author! Ten times over. The print version of this, I believe, includes my own Top 10 list. But this does not seem to have made it online. So here it is:



Frank Wilson’s Top 10

Essays by Michel de Montaigne
Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot
Collected Poems by Wallace Stevens
Works and Days by Hesiod
Autobiography by John Cowper Powys
The Duino Elegies by Rainer Maria Rilke
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Seven Gothic Tales by Isak Dinesen
Le grand Meaulnes by Alain-Fournier
Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
Update: Cathy Dononvan, of the Communications Department of Rutgers University Camden, emails me that Rutgers-Camden's "graduate English program requires its students to pass a comprehensive exam where they must identify passages from works deemed most notable in the time periods that they chose to study." She also sends along the reading list .

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Calling Dennett & Dawkins ...

... it seems Religion isn't bad for kids after all, according to a book published by Oxford University Press. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Gee, I never noticed this ...

... Bryan Appleyard's Selected Articles.

It doesn't happen often ...

... "You're making me nostalgic for Philadelphia."

Daniel Dennett strikes back ...

... with An Open Letter to H. Allen Orr. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A good many of Dennett's questions seem answered in Peter Williams's Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf?

Far from wanting to warn anyone against 'even opening a book like this,'[59] I recommend that believers and non-believers alike apply their 'native intelligence'[60] to reading The God Delusion. However, I suggest doing so with help from a list of logical fallacies. Readers can then enjoy a stimulating game of 'I Spy'. In particular, look out for examples of: self-contradiction, begging the question[61], attacking a straw man[62], data picking[63], wishful thinking[64], appeal to ridicule[65] and various ad hominim attacks[66] from simple name-calling[67] to 'poisoning the well.'[68] Blowing away houses made from philosophical straw is a praiseworthy endeavour; but Dawkins' frequent substitution of straw houses for the real thing means that his critique of religion has more puff than bite.

An evolutionary tale ...

... Librarians' life on Earth.

Artistic partners ...

... with an all-star cast, including Philip Larkin and Kingsley Amis, Goethe, Schiller, and many more: The Rivals. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Thanks to Dave Lull for sending a link repair.

Bad housekeeping ...

... Untidying the drawing-room. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

If it isn't true ...

... it ought to be (warning: salty language): Email Humor . (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Gee, this seems to be ...

... well, snowballing:

Let's start with Clouds. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

And there's this from India: Experts question theory on global warming.

There's this from the New York Times: A Cool $25 Million for a Climate Backup Plan ("... most of the horror-movie scenarios are looking less and less plausible. Climate change will probably occur not with a bang but with a long, slow whimper, as you can see in the new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.")

There's also this from Fox, though we know we can't trust them, right: On Global Warming: Follow the Money Indeed! (Hat tip, Mark Yost.)

Most significant, though, is this global cooling link.

Update: Steve Clackson sends along this link: Stone Age Cemetery, Artifacts Unearthed in Sahara and comments that "Their remains still lie there, found in older archaeological layers and surrounded by harpoons, fishhooks, other tools, and remains of their catch.We are on a long long continuous climate change and so it goes."

And there's this: Study: Glacier melting can be variable.

Congratulations, Barbara ...

... You'll Never Guess!!!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Clive James on ...

... Jorge Luis Borges: Can a great writer be blind to the world around him? (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

If we're going to question Borges's politics, we ought to question Gabriel Garcia Marquez about his fondness for Castro. And let's not forget Neruda's ode to that wonderful guy Stalin. Borges may not have protested the junta, but he didn't praise it, either.

Once upon a time ...

... others needed the Help Desk: Not as easy to use as the scroll.

Some good sense ...

... from Dr. Helen. I'd love see her chat with Theodore Dalrymple. Or even Anthony Daniels.

Religion of peace ...

... strikes again: Feminist's book is recalled by its publisher for 'offending religion'. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Time now ...

... for An Interview with a Grumpy Old Bookman. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Amy lists ...

... 10 Things I Like Beginning With the Letter “C”.

Which brings to mind Wallace Stevens's poem The Comedian as the Letter C.

Come one, come all ...

... but for a limited time only: A half-life of one.

I would be happy if a couple of my poems continued to be read in the the years to come. I would not care if no one knew I wrote them, or knew anything about me. I have always admired Anonymous. He did a lot of good work and has been spared the intrusion of biographers.

List of hits ...

... from VicLit. (Hat tip, Maxine Clarke.)

Here's a politician I like ...

... Czech president Vaclav Klaus - not because I agree with what he is saying (though largely I do), but rather because he is not intimidated by the journalist interviewing him.

Oh, and don't forget that Valentine bouquets 'are bad for the planet'.

Remember Mencken's words: "A Puritan is someone who is desperately afraid that, somewhere, someone might be having a good time."

And take that ...

... Daniel Dennett. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Orr's response echoes a point I have made: that if The God Delusion were the only book by Richard Dawkins that you knew, you would never guess what a good writer Dawkins can be. As for Dennett, his tenuous grasp of logic is becoming increasingly evident.