Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's New Year's Eve, folks ...

... I won't be blogging, and you be able to find something better to do than visit here. Happy New Year!

David Levine RIP redux

Nice appreciation of caricaturist, David Levine in today's NYT.

Casting ...

... James McAvoy to Star as James Bond Creator Ian Fleming in Film Bio of the Thriller Writer.

A terrific roundup ...

... even if I am late linking to it: Sunday Smatterings Between the Holidays.

I can think of no title ...

... for this post: Night. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A monarch for our time ...

... Bernard Cornwell's King Alfred in the twenty-first century.

This week's batch ...

... of TLS Letters: Utopian labours, Finnegans Wake, RNA, and more!

And the winner is ...

... Sean Webb's The Bridge.

AbeBooks

Here's AbeBooks Year of Books in Review

Amazing ...

... amd disturbing: The Lost Tribe.

An answer ...

... and a quiz: Date of Birth.

The wisdom of elberry ...

... Advice for young people.

While we weren't looking ...

... Singularity Proponent Ray Kurzweil Reinvents the Book, Again. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I see that Ray sent me the link also. I interviewed him a few years ago. He's about as bright as they come.

Thought for the day ...

Derive happiness in oneself from a good day's work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us.
- Henri Matisse, born on this date in 1869

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Keep an eye out ...

... I, Sniper: A word from Stephen Hunter. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Still the boss ...

... Why Marlowe is still the chief of detectives. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Issue No. 7 ...

... of Triple Canopy.

His own man ...

... Ron Slate on Desolation of the Chimera, last poems by Luis Cernuda, translated by Stephen Kessler.

No cartoon ...

... Kipling’s Permanent Contradictions. (hat tip, Dave Lull.)

And the livin' is easy ...

... Summertime By J. M. COETZEE. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

My thanks to Terry ...

... Last call for Tuesday.

Tough guy ...

... a Mickey Spillane Snapshot.

A chat ...

... the Toronot Star's Judy Stoffman.

Worked up weirdness ...

... Surrealism in Literature: Herta Müller--The Passport.

Lovers ...

... and other writers: Quotes of the year.

Continuing ...

... Writing Fiction vs. Journalism.

Let's not forget ...

... The Greatest White Bitch of All. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

To each his own ...

... My Play, My Life. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

More crap in art ...

... Contemporary Art and Reviving Civilisation.

Have a laugh, folks ...

He's not the only one ...

... God Doesn't Like Crap in Art. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Always fun ...

... Oddities from 2009.

Logical humor ...

... or humorousa logic: The Syllogisms of Seinfeld. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Dig ...

... Props for Pops. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Thought for the day ...

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.
- L.P. Hartley, born on this date in 1895

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Why is this not revived?

A form of immortality?

... Rosing from the Dead.

Wonderful ...

... “Card sharks and blues harps and dolphins who leap…”

The everlasting sleuth ...

... or, The Eternal Detective. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

RIP ...

... David Levine, Biting Caricaturist, Dies at 83. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something worth reading ...

.. about what's not: The permanent home of language.

To begin ...

... First Lines Meme.

Lots of stuff ...

... Stücke.

Congratulations ...

... Ooh - another nearly made it.

The holiday edition ...

... of Obit Magazine.

Culture in South Philly ...

... Fond Memories of Another Christmas Season with the Children's Ballet Theatre's Production of The Nutcracker.

My latest column ...

... The language of enchantment.

In case you're interested ...

... Books You Can Live Without. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The headline is misleading. These are books they can live without.

Problems, problems ..

... As books go beyond printed page to multisensory experience, what about reading? (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Who knew?

... '70s Rock Show as Parable.

In my view ...

... indispensable: Biography looks at Louis Armstrong through his art.

Thought for the day ...

How some of the writers I come across get through their books without dying of boredom is beyond me.
- William Gaddis, born on this date in 1922

Monday, December 28, 2009

No blogging tonight ...

... we're going out to a birthday dinner.

This seems worthwhile ...

... A Treasure Found, Restored, and Now Available.

Interesting ...

... These are the facts...

The marathon continues ...

... at FiveChapters.

The economics of writing ...

... Reminder: Money Flows To The Writer. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Walseriana ...

... New Walserings and a Walser concordance. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Check this out ...

... An interview with Ioan Hefin.

By Kay Ryan ...

... Still Life with Lemons, Oranges, and a Rose (1633).

It's that time again ...

... time for: Reading Resolutions.

A real trouper ...

... the recuperating Maxine posts: Look out for Swedish Book Review 2010-1.

So what ...

... if it's Monday? Poetry Friday - Christmas Bells.

For the fourth day ...

... of Christmas: One more day.

Thought for the day ...

In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but how many can get through to you.
- Mortimer Adler, born on this date in 1902

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Excellent advice ...

... `Brave, Beleaguered, and Cheerful'.

Good to hear ...

... I guess: Bloom Disavows Canonical List.

Themes ...

... Consequences by Penelope Lively.

Hmm ...

... Kindle Milestone: Amazon Sold More Kindle Books Than Physical Books On Xmas.

Another list ...

... The year draws in--time for a list!

... and another: Favorite Books of 2009.

You better believe it ..

... “Gekommen um zu bleiben, wir gehen nicht mehr weg…”

From elberry ...

... dispatches.

Triple play ...

... Bryan on Destruction, the Past and the Future.

Puzzled by happiness ...

... A blissful war refugee ignites a media circus. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Today's Inquirer reviews ...

... Judith Fitzgerald on Paul Auster's latest: 'Invisible' flaws too apparent.

... Finding the father within.

... A review of Malcolm Gladwell's latest book.

... A insider's look at N.Y. detective facing tough case.

... A portrait of the rebel Molly Ivins.

Thought for the day ...

As soils are depleted, human health, vitality and intelligence go with them.
- Louis Bromfield, born on this date in 1896

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Get well, Maxine ...

... and make sure to have a Happy New Year.

The beauty and the mystery ...

... Two Nativities.

Untangling verbal mysteries ...

... Definin' the Blues. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The latest batch ...

... of TLS Letters: The 'prebiotic soup', Johnson biographies, Maxine Albro, and more.

Bearing doubt ...

... God is the question. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I don't think we should underestimate the importantce of experience, of what Wordsworth calls "a sense sublime /Of something far more deeply interfused ... A motion and a spirit, that impels /All thinking things, all objects of all thought,/And rolls through all things."

Thought for the day ...

Art is only a means to life, to the life more abundant. It is not in itself the life more abundant. It merely points the way, something which is overlooked not only by the public, but very often by the artist himself. In becoming an end it defeats itself.
- Henry Miller, born on this date in 1891

Friday, December 25, 2009

1688

"The Glorious Revolution of 1688 has long been consigned to the revolutionary B-list, dismissed as a bloodless back-room deal. A new history proves the event worthy of its name..."

Joy to the world ...

Tiny Fred?

... A 166-Year-Old Manuscript Reveals Its Secrets. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Merry Christmas, Ebenezer ...

... In Defense of Scrooge. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

... Scrooge is not given to brooding and shows absolutely no sign of depression or conflict. Whether he wished to or not, Dickens has made Scrooge by far the most intelligent character in his fable, and Dickens credits his creation with having nothing "fancy" about him. So we conclude that, in his undemonstrative way, Scrooge is productive and satisfied with his lot, which is to say happy.

Thought for the day ...

There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition.
- Rod Serling, born on this date in 1924

God bless us, everyone!


http://cgfa.acropolisinc.com/botticel/p-bottic14.htm

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Owls from the OWL ...

... Owls So Cute, Who Cares If They're Wise?

And, for good measure ...

... also from Dave: the latest issue of Able Muse.

The Lull Report ...

... links from Dave:

Vatican Defends Status of WWII Pope .

The Maestro Was Miserable.

Sounds of Sorrow, Sounds of Hope: Classical Music for World AIDS Day.

Forgotten treasures of the last century, from 25 writers.

commonplacing & the modern longue durée.

A Tribute to Kim Peek (1951-2009).

Geoffrey Hill's The Peacock at Alderton.

Sensus Literalis.

Unusual witness ...

... On crime & thrillers: twas a crime before Christmas, fiction by Paul Davis.

Give me an A ...

... Alphabet in crime fiction: Larsson.

Filling in the blanks ...

... The Second Sex, by Simone de Beauvoir, translated by Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier.

More P.D. James ...

... P.D. James, Talking And Writing 'Detective Fiction'. (Hat Tip, Dave Lull.)

Dissenting voices ...

... Bah humbug! The classics we secretly loathe. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Thought for the day ...

For the creation of a masterwork of literature two powers must concur, the power of the man and the power of the moment, and the man is not enough without the moment.
- Matthew Arnold, born on this date in 1822

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Weariness ...

I spent a good part of the afternoon trekking about town with a backpack that grew increasingly heavy. Maneuvering among the crowds and around the patches of snow and ice didn't make it any easier. I am beat. And I have a column to finish.

Joe, Patrick and Sam ...

... `The Teacher of Morality at Harwich Beach'.

She ought to know ...

... More Insight from P. D. James.

Ho, ho, ho ...

... New York Ranks Last in Happiness Rating.

Pennsylvania didn't score too high (41), but that may be because Philadelphians like to complain. And I see that Dave's state (Wisconsin) didn't fare too badly (29).

Ultimate Boz ...

... 'Charles Dickens' by Michael Slater. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In the east ...

... The Star of Bethlehem. (Hat tip, Craig Chaffin.)

Revisiting a classic ...

... Common sense about today’s political class.

A note ...

... To anyone still listing! (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Paul Klee to himself ...

... Colour possesses me.

For Christmas books ...

... for kids, pay a visit to BooksForKids.

Surpassed ...

... by one's character: The Burden of Holmes. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

O wad some Power ...

... the giftie gie us /To see oursels as ithers see us! The Green Movement's People Problem.

The movement needs to break with the deep-seated misanthropy that dominates green politics and has brought it to this woeful state. Its leaders have defined our species as everything from a "cancer" to the "AIDs of the earth." They wail in horror at the thought that by the year 2050 there will likely be another 2 or 3 billion of these inconvenient bipeds. Leading green figures such as Britain's Jonathan Porritt, Richard Attenborough and Lester Brown even consider baby-making a grievous carbon crime--especially, notes Australian activist Robert Short, in those "highly consumptive, greenhouse-producing nations."

I think there more than just a people problem. As Glenn Reynolds says, "If you’re going to tell me that carbon dioxide is an unparalleled catastrophe for this planet, you’ve got to be willing to demonstrate your sincerity by, you know, endorsing other forms of energy. Otherwise, I’m inclined to think you’re a lying opportunist or something."

Beautiful ...

... Because...


Sounds good ...

... Party with Pops!

New to me ...

... Five Films Not to Miss.

So far, I've managed to miss them all, though they sound interesting.

A simpler time ..

... Bing Crosby’s Christmas prayer.

Loner for our time ...

... The Dark Side of Enlightenment . (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

There definitely is no one quite like Kleist. Frank Langella starred in The Prince Of Homburg back in the '70s, a performance available on DVD.

Thought for the day ...

One is always of his age and especially he who least appears so.
- Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve, born in this date in 1804

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Not to worry ...

... at least they didn't die from the heat (and we all know weather is not climate): European weather deaths pass 100.

Music alert ...

... Bach 2009: Bach Around the World. (Hat tip, Joe of New York.)

Is it because ...

... he went to Princeton? CENSORING F. SCOTT FITZGERALD at Yale.

Together at last ...

... The Rabbi and Frank Lloyd Wright. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

For five years, when I lived in Abington, I passed Beth Sholom every day to and from my job.

Two more ...

... from Rus:

After a decade of fear, we're connected to writing in new ways.


Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?
(Come to think of it, who wrote The Book of Love?)

A clutch of poetry links ...

... courtesy of Rus Bowden:

Two poems by Ron Slate.

When I First Saw Snow by Gregory Djanikian.


Warrior poets depict life in the war zone.

SOLDIER TO POET: An Exchange.

The Best Poetry of 2009.


Breyten Breytenbach: the greatest Afrikaner poet of his generation!

Forgotten man ...

... Deems Taylor, the guy who narrated Fantasio, was born on this date in 1885: CD REVIEW: Deems Taylor – PETER IBBETSON (A.D. Griffey, L. Flanigan, R. Zeller, C.R. Austin, L. Summers, E. Lunde; NAXOS).

Gingerbread persons ...

... Garrison Keillor's secret celebration. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Also from Bryan ...

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

Our own back yard after the weekend's snowfall is less lovely than Norfolk, but lovely still. That's "The General", stalwart in the drift.


Bryan on Stewart Brand ...

... GROW UP, GREENS!

Climate change really means Mother Nature is preparing to rid herself of humans. If we are to survive, we can no longer worship her, we must fight back with smart weapons.
By Mother Nature I presume is meant the "single, finite system" that is the planet. I think that many greens would say, "No, we must not fight back. We must return to a simpler, non-technological life." Some others might say we have proved to be a mistake and the planet should be allowed to eliminate us.

My latest column ...

... How to walk when winter has arrived.

Philly scene

Odds and ends ...

... Links: Tidying Up Before The Holidays.

Reader favorites ...

... Most Popular Posts of 2009.

Uniquely annoying ...

... A long journey. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A different sort of list ...

... Books I couldn’t finish.

Thought for the day ...

The basic line in any good verse is cadenced... building it around the natural breath structures of speech.
- Kenneth Rexroth, born on this date in 1905

Monday, December 21, 2009

Inside information ...

... Inside the Secret World of Literary Scouts, Part II. (Via Sarah Weinman.)

Graphic poetry ...

... Poem Strip by Dino Buzzati.

In praise of java ...

... Dave sent me another clip of this earlier today. Here's some info about the Coffee Cantata.

Short changed ...

... The Trouble with Blogging, or: A Writer’s Dilemma.

Check out ...

... these by Matthew Rohrer.

Recommended reading ...

... Something Special for Mystery Readers.

Optimism ...

... Freelancer David Howell launches new magazine for publishing industry. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

Remembering ...

... A great novelist. (Hat tip, Dave Lul..)

A thought ...

... A Big Ego.

Psst ...

... A Conspiracy-Theory Theory.

This isn't new, of course. The Jewish Big Plan for world dominion was, in many ways, the first of the modern conspiracy theories. The "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" were widely believed and widely disseminated, particularly among the educated and professional classes in continental Europe after World War I
Score another one for the best and the brightest.

Literary endorsements ...

... Most retardedly cynical movie merchandise tie-in ever.

This could be fun. I'm trying to think of a Captain Ahab tie-in.

Interesting stuff ...

... Some links for your Christmas stocking.

Exploring ...

... Divine Wilderness. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A poem ...

... for the moment.



Winter Solstice

Darkness, shadowing
From the start summer's sunlight,
Is coldly poised now
To make the most of night,
If only for a day.

A week late ...

... but so what? Links for a Fine Tuesday.

Good company ...

... `Action Informed by Knowledge'.

Not much, apparently ...

... What do philosophers believe?

I have to say that academic philosophers impress me less and less the older I get.

Well, maybe ...

... Pico Iyer on the tyranny of the moment. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Do I not see this because I have been a lifelong reader and, while plugging into the blogosphere, retain the practice of reading? On the other hand, old duffer that I am, those who bemoan what is happening strike me as old fogies.

Thought for the day ...

America is just the country that shows how all the written guarantees in the world for freedom are no protection against tyranny and oppression of the worst kind. There the politician has come to be looked upon as the very scum of society.
- Peter Kropotkin, born on this date in 1842

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Oh, really ...

... OF GOD AND GARDENS.

I suppose Wisdom's parable of the garden is a reference to the Garden of Eden. But the point of that story is that man was created to be the gardener. Gottlieb goes on to say: "What is even more baffling is the idea that one can talk about a wholly indescribable God who cannot be said to 'exist' but who nevertheless in some sense 'is'." And he concludes thus: "One trenchant critic of the New Atheists is Terry Eagleton, a leading literary critic (and Catholic), who defines God as 'what sustains all things in being by his love, and...is the reason why there is something instead of nothing, the condition of possibility of any entity whatsoever.' Some find it comforting or inspiring to utter such statements. But unless they can explain what those ideas mean and how one might tell whether they are right (which Eagleton never does), this is a self-deluding comfort. A wiser response to the apparent inexpressibility of statements about God may be simply not to express them, and just get on with the gardening.

Well, let's consider the Big Bang, which, last time I checked, was still considered a scientific thesis in good standing. In 1989, John Maddox wrote a piece in the journal Nature called "Down With the Big Bang," in which he not only called the Big Bang "philosophically unacceptable," but also suggested "it is unlikely to survive the decade ahead." This was 23 years after the discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation provided powerful confirmation for the Big Bang, which, however philosophically unacceptable, is still with us. The basis for Maddox's distress is interesting: "For one thing, the implication is that there was an instant at which time literally began and, so, by extension, an instant before which there was no time. That in turn implies that even if the origin of the Universe may be successfully supposed to lie in the Big Bang, the origin of the Big Bang itself is not susceptible to discussion. It is an effect whose cause cannot be identified or even discussed."
Well, as I say, the Big Bang is still with us and is still, I believe, scientifically acceptable. So it would seem that science has it's own example of something "wholly indescribable." As Maddox put it, "
an important issue, that of the ultimate origin of our world, cannot be discussed.”

By the way, in his article, Maddox comes off exactly as Maxine has described him: straightforward and forthright. No weasel-words from him. Would have been wonderful to discuss this with him.

Stay with ...

... The Beat.

I wonder ...

... if it's flagrant: The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver: review.

A look at ...

... Cry of the Sloth by Sam Savage. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

If Andrew Whittaker's "closest literary analog is Ignatius J. Reilly," I'll take a pass.

In case you wondered ...

... Why Does Santa Wear Red? Gary Brown's 20 Fun Facts About Christmas.

Rich and imaginary ...

... The Forbes Fictional 15. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Today's Inquirer reviews ...

... Clever Cromwell and King Henry.

... Two football heroes go to war.

... How Bert Bell kept the NFL alive.

... Immigrant tales are little jewels.

For Christmas ...

... a short short story by William Trevor: The Dancing-Master's Music.

They read OK to me ...

... It ain't etiquette.

Take a look ...

... at these Shards (revised Dec. 17).

I had the pleasure of chatting briefly with Blossom Dearie a number of years ago after a performance. Tough and classy.

Roman bulldog ...

... Cicero Philippics, 1-6 and 7-14 edited and translated by DR Shackleton Bailey.


A weather post ...

... Mark Strand: "Lines for Winter".

The painting is Alfred Sisley's Snow at Louveciennes.

Thought for the day ...

The principal rule of art is to please and to move. All the other rules were created to achieve this first one.
- Jean Racine, born on this date in 1639

Saturday, December 19, 2009

For the weather ...

... Baby, It's Cold Outside. Forever Cool Dean Martin Sings For Us During a Snow Storm.

Hybrid ...

... Adventures in Russian Lit. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Check out ...

... Missed and underappreciated ... and what follows.

Romanesque ...

... everywhere you turn: “And the motorway’s stretching right out to us all…”

Sharing memories ...

... News of Hughes. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Don't be so sure ...

... Being an Absolute Skeptic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

... science is more than the sum of its hypotheses, its observations, and its experiments. From the point of view of rationality, science is above all its method--essentially the critical method of searching for errors.

Touched by a blazing coal ...

... Mystic Terror Revisited. (Hat tip, Dave Lull,)

Today we aren't used to novelists openly espousing such ardent religious belief. But faith in Christ formed the core of Dostoevsky's being and from it, as Mr. Frank shows, he confronted what he viewed as the ills and horrors—the demons—of his time. He took ideas personally, a friend once said, and actually "felt thought."

Come one, come all ...

... Whose Christmas Is It?

Problematic ...

... McGahern's Church. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The faithful may assent to the doctrine that the Church is divinely instituted, but one would to a fool of world-class proportions would fail to notice that it is staffed - and must be - by all-too-human beings, often with grievous consequences. Most people do not reject government because politicians are often corrupt. We accept it in spite of that, as the faithful accept the Church and its doctrines in spite of the flaws of its ministers and adherents. McGahern's affection for the beauties of the Church is fine as far as it goes. But one would think that someone as smart as he would have realized that the beauty derives in no small part from the content it aims to express.

Dave also sends along What the Late Middle Ages Wrought.

RIP ...

... Woman Who Provided Inspiration For Miss Moneypenny Dies at 88.

OK, Dave ...

... get me in trouble: How to Manufacture a Climate Consensus. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)Thanks, too, to Bill Peschel for help with the link.

Please, before anyone denounces this, cite what specific assertions in it are false, with references to demonstrate same. It is the least a former editor should demand.

See from Dave: Global Warming and an Odd Bull Moose.

Given Botkin's credentials I presume he is qualified to comment on the matter.

What an ass ...

... PROGRESSIVE!

Well, Mary's classy ...

... Are Classics Classy? The Roman View. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A great way ...

... to start the day: `Old Masters'.

When I was first getting to know my wife, I told her that the author I most admired was Anonymous - he wrote a lot of good stuff and biographers can't do him any harm.

Thought for the day ...

God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.
- Italo Svevo, born on this date in 1861

God, what a lovely thought.

Friday, December 18, 2009

RIP ...

... C. D.B. Bryan, 73, ‘Friendly Fire’ Writer, Dies. Hat tip, Roger Miller.)

Check this out ...

... 20 Poems by Georg Trakl, translated by James Wright and Robert Bly.

Many years ago I spent a very pleasant afternoon with Robert Bly. A lot of the time was spent talking about his translation of Rilke.

Ho, ho, ho ...

... Christmas crime: Blood Safari (translated by K L Seegers).

Good mix ...

... Aught for Naught.

For your calendar ...

... Fox Chase Reading Series 2010 Schedule.


See also Another Goodis Gathering.

You decide ...

... Hobby-ism and questions/questions/questions.

Problems of communication ...

... Climate scientists could learn something from U.S. poet. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Implied throughout this piece is that the science is settled and the only problem is that things haven't been explained properly. But I would think that the notion of "settled science" is itself not very scientific Exactly how much science has been settled, and about what? Because once the science about something is settled there is obviously no need for continued research into it, right? Would Cokinos approve of this piece: Climate Change Is Nature's Way, which strikes me, as far as it goes, as clear and well-informed (I'm no scientist, but I'm not exactly scientifically illiterate, either)? Maybe there's another poet all scientists should pay attention to - Robinson Jeffers, whose poem "Science" concludes thus:
A little knowledge, a pebble from the shingle,
A drop from the oceans: who would have dreamed this infinitely little too much?

A chat ...

... with the former Poet Laureate: Whose Words These Are (19): Andrew Motion. (Hat tip, Daniel Pritchard.)

The art of reading ...

... Information,Please. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Incurable editor that I am (my stepdaughter Jennifer once pointed out when we were out driving that I was editing the billboards we passed), several phrases leaped out at me (I am not doubting what the article says, simply noting the nature of the locutions):

Most cognitive neuroscientists believe ... Well, as we all know, believing is not the same as knowing.

For certain long-standing problems of existence, evolution has had plenty of time to design a solution or two. Indeed, the original concept of brain modularity held that modules were innate—written into the genetic code. But reading is different: It was invented only 5,000 years ago, leaving evolution short of time to sculpt a modular set of circuits for the purpose.

This certainly suggests that evolution is not a term for a process of adaptation and selection that just happens to be going on, but rather an agent directing such a process. That cannot be what the author means, of course

Mr. Dehaene also describes research on the similarities among the world's alphabets and shows how writing systems themselves evolved ... And, of course, now we have the writing systems themselves "evolving." But the word in this context obviously cannot mean what it does in the other contexts.

Writing about these things is not easy.

Shopping tips ...

... Holiday Gift Suggestion for ArtsFusers.

See also World Books: International Reads for the Holidays.

Worth pondering ...

... thoughts about American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld.

Imitation in high places ...

... Waugh and his Precursor. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Well, yes ...

... "Literature that has a particular resonance with someone has a vibrant, living quality": An interview with Stefanie Posavec.

Keep your eyes peeled ...

... Crowdsourced list of what's to come.

And what's it mean to "keep your eyes peeled"? Here you are.

Don't know ...

... what to make of this: The Web2.0 Suicide Machine.

Very interesting ...

... Cultural Name Dropping in Stephen King’s Under the Dome.

Something to think about ...

... This is just a draft.

Check out ...

... Another great Brazilian noir song.

Thought for the day ...

The cat of the slums and alleys, starved, outcast, harried,... still displays the self- reliant watchfulness which man has never taught it to lay aside.
- Saki (H. H. Munro), born on this date in 1870

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In honor of ...

... my Mexican friends and neighbors: The Virgin of Guadalupe.

RIP ...

... Jennifer Jones.

Portrait of Jenny may have flopped at the box office, but it was pretty good film.

Counterfactual: WWII

I'm interested in this book - very interested...

Happy birthday ...

... Ludwig van. Watch carefully and you can see why Monteux's baton technique was so highly thought of (this was the guy who premiered Le aacre du printemps). His Beethoven is balanced, classical, humane.

I should say so ...

... Satanism and politics: a call to investigate.

Back at last ...

... Samuel Johnson restored to his proper size and place.

A clear view ...

... Before Cowboys Became Cliché. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

This week's batch ...

... of TLS Letters: The 'prebiotic soup', Johnson biographies, Maxine Albro, and more.

Venerable ...

... Beckett's Church. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Predicting is difficult ...

... especially the future, as Niels Bohr said. But it can be fun, too: The 2110 Club.

If HUman Smoke continues to be read it will be as a curiosity.

Spreading the word ...

... Adventures in Viral Marketing, Pt. I.

LIke Prospero ...

... A loving remembrance of J.G. Ballard. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Right ...

... or maybe not: The wrongness of right.

A sad list ...

... Unread Books of the Decade.

I haven't read Julia Blackburn's The Three of Us, but I reviewed her novel The Leper's Companions, which was wonderful.

Remembering ...

... An Acerbic Christmas Classic: Jean Shepherd’s A Christmas Story. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Put me down as another unduly influenced by Jean Shepherd ("There goes Captain Kidd - he never made Major.")

Not-so-good news ...

... Announcement: Leave of Absence.

Get well fast, R.T.

Oh, and here's something I missed: Reviews Revisited - Jane Eyre and Dracula.

Check out ...

Encounter ...

... Meeting Roddy Doyle.

Another postmortem ...

... Kirkus Reviews: The End. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Naughtiness ...

... Ancient Poem Focus Of Modern-Day Harassment Case (featuring Mary Beard). (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

En plein air ...

... Art Holiday in a French Renaissance Castle in the Loire valley.

Property and teleology ...

... Secular Philosophy and the Religious Temperament: Essays 2002–2008 by Thomas Nagel. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Who knew ...

... How St. Thomas Aquinas Invented the Web 2.0.

Thought for the day ...

I think you must remember that a writer is a simple-minded person to begin with and go on that basis. He's not a great mind, he's not a great thinker, he's not a great philosopher, he's a story-teller.
- Erskine Caldwell, born on this date in 1903

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Indeed ...

... Happy Birthday, VSP! (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)


Chatting ...

... At Length with . . : Arthur C. Danto. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Angle of repose ...

... Al Columbia’s high-octane nightmare fuel.

Favorites yet again ...

... LJ Best Books 2009: 31 Titles, Plus Best Genres & How-To. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Worrisome ...

... intermission.

Death of a star ...

... a real one.

A diary of the unsaid ...

... England Have My Bones. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

T.H. White also wrote a fine book called The Goshawk, which I discussed here: Two books go far beyond just looking at birds.

A twofer ...

... Recently Read.

Two scientists agree ...