Sunday, October 31, 2010
The point for the reader is not price, it is access. Based on my long experience of scientific publishing, it is not necessary to restrict access geographically in order to run a viable business.
... A Rice memoir, reflection-free.
... 'The Remarkable Rise, Fall, and Rise Again of Steve Schwarzman and Blackstone': Shining a light on an entrepreneur and his business.
... Russian crooks at large in le Carre's latest.
... Travel Bookshelf: Author unpacks an airport's secrets.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
The email went on to explain that "Divine is the only Fairtrade chocolate company which is 45% owned by the farmers. While Fairtrade ensures farmers receive a better deal for their cocoa and additional income to invest in their community, company ownership gives farmers a share of Divine's profits and a stronger voice in the cocoa industry."
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Debbie and I saw Dana read his ghost story at the WCU Poetry Conference. It's great.
Cynthia has a couple of other interesting posts: The woman the Soviets kept secret: Film on Holocaust heroine Irena Sendler Thursday! and The archaeology of sound: “This reclaims Shakespeare for us”.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it's the answer to everything. To ''Why am I here?'' To uselessness. It's the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it's a cactus.- Enid Bagnold, born on this date in 1889
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
I'm not sure if it's today or tomorrow, but Katie's birthday is one or the other if memory serves. Happy birthday to all!
Monday, October 25, 2010
"Scientific theories are organically conditioned just as much as religious emotions are; and if we only knew the facts intimately enough, we should doubtless see 'the liver' determining the dicta of the sturdy atheist as decisively as it does those of the Methodist under conviction anxious about his soul."
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
A poet ought not to pick nature's pocket. Let him borrow, and so borrow as to repay by the very act of borrowing. Examine nature accurately, but write from recollection, and trust more to the imagination than the memory.- Samuel Taylor Coleridge, born on this date in 1772
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Nagel makes it clear that he is talking about the fear of religion as such, and not merely fear of certain of its excesses and aberrations, and confesses that he himself is subject to this fear:I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn't just that I don't believe in God and, naturally, hope there is no God! I don't want there to be a God; I don't want the universe to be like that. (130, emphasis added)
Monday, October 18, 2010
A reading by Richard Burgin
6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe
introduced by: Greg Djanikian
co-sponsored by: The Creative Writing Program
Richard Burgin is a fiction writer, editor, and critic. He is the author of twelve books, including the story collections Fear of Blue Skies, The Spirit Returns, Private Fame, Man Without Memory (each of which was listed by The Philadelphia Inquireras one of the Notable Books of the Year), the novel Ghost Quartet, Conversations with Isaac Bashevis Singer (translated thus far into four foreign languages), and Conversations with Jorge Luis Borges (published to date in seven foreign editions). He has won five Pushcart Prizes for his stories and had ten others listed in the Pushcart Prize Anthology as among the year's best stories. He is the founder and editor of the internationally distributed literary journal Boulevard (now published by Saint Louis University), which has won numerous national grants, awards and honors in its 18 years of existence. His criticism has been published in literary journals such as Partisan Review, Boston Review, and Chicago Review and his book reviews have been published frequently in the New York Times Book Review and the Washington Post, among other newspapers. His book The Identity Club: New and Selected Stories was chosen as one of the Best Books of 2006 by The Times Literary Supplement.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Dave also sends along: Benoît Mandelbrot, Novel Mathematician, Dies at 85.
Well, I prefer books, too, but often the Kindle is more convenient, especially if you're traveling.
How could I doubt a judge named Frank Wilson?
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
It often surprises people when I say that Mr. Cole is my favorite jazz pianist. The reason for their surprise is, alas, all too easy to understand: Most of the King Cole Trio's studio recordings for Capitol, cut between 1943 and 1950, have been out of print for years. But Hep Records, a Scottish label whose releases are readily available in this country, has just put out a CD called "Nat King Cole and His Trio: The Forgotten 1949 Carnegie Hall Concert" in which Mr. Cole's gleaming, darting pianism can be heard to good advantage.
I have vivid memories of the King Cole Trio dating back to the '40s, when I was very young. I remember playing in the living room while my grandmother did the ironing. The radio would be tuned in to a guy named Doug Arthur. The Cole Trio was standard fare. No little kid could fail to remember Cole's wondrously deft piano playing.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Dave also sends along this: Walls of Mush. I'm afraid I have to agree with Brandon that Coyne's "has to be one of the worst arguments I've seen on the subject, ever."
More from Dave: Investigating Atheism and atheistdelusion.
P.S. I should have been clearer - or less elliptical, or whatever. I turned 69 today -- meaning that I have entered upon my 70th year, at the end of which I will have reached 70. But thanks to everyone for the kind thoughts.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
They fly into South Philly every day fro who knows where. I would love to have one -- though I would want him to be free to go his way. When I die, if there's anything to metempsychosis, I would want to come back as a crow.
The study suggest that nine miles a week – or in the urban US terms of the data, 72 Pittsburgh city blocks – is the optimum distance for "neurological exercise".
Well, I've walked more than 10 miles in the past two days. And I've been walking like that all my life. I just love to walk. I am never more myself than when I am walking by myself. I don't care much about living long, but I do care about living well. And I say this on the eve of entering my 70th year. (I had to write that, in order to bring the reality home to myself. Oh my.)
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
I'm not the most technically adroit guy in the world, but the player is embedded below. I won't be around then, because I'm going to see Antonia Byatt tonight.
Whereas Chekhov (like Maupassant, whom by the way I knew much better) confined himself to the modest dimensions of the short story; and this did not call for heroic endurance throughout the years and decades but could be tossed off by some happy-go-lucky artist in a day or two or a week or two, at most. I felt a certain disdain for this, hardly realizing then that genius can be bounded in a nutshell and yet embrace the whole fullness of life by virtue of a brevity and terseness deserving the highest admiration. Such works attain to full epic stature and can even surpass in intensity the great towering novels which inevitably flag at times and subside into noble boredom. If I understood that better in later life than in my youth, this was largely owing to my growing intimacy with Chekhov’s art; for his short stories rank with all that is greatest and best in European literature.
Monday, October 11, 2010
... that our intellectual climate is such that so many merely scientific thinkers so consistently and so brazenly offer up their lame insights on the most momentous of topics does indeed constitute an essential aspect of our present barbarism. The attempt to understand the entirety of human existence in biological terms has less of philosophical seriousness about it, and more of professional pride. We would find ourselves in a very nearly analogous situation if a conclave of plumbers began writing books, asserting that water was the essential element in all nature, that our thoughts could best be understood as so many conduits to our actions, and that society itself is nothing other than a complex structure of pipes, aqueducts, and irrigatory canals, sending and receiving every life-giving benefit. Such a mode of philosophizing might be enjoyable for a while, but it could never be persuasive, and it could never be right.
Once again, I was struck by the disconnect between what one hears about the younger generation -- they don't read, etc. -- and the reality of the young people sitting in front of me. They seemed to me to be paying attention to what this old guy was saying and those who posed questions posed good ones.
One of the students, for instance, asked what I thought was a good thing to blog about. I said anything you're really interested in. Her blog -- not surprisingly, all the kids in the class have to blog -- is called Creative Gift Ideas for People You Love. Actually, I think that's a pretty good idea for a blog, one that could turn out to serve a very real need for a lot of people.
Another good question was how to increase traffic to your blog, which reminded of me of just how much blogging is a social activity, capable of drawing together all sorts of people from all over the world, since traffic increases the more you link and are linked to in return.
I had a great time visiting this class. I hope the students found it as much as I did.
The house, when she was gone too long,
Was like a false cadence, a song
Broken off. The song resumed
When she returned, the house assumed
Its harmony. He was but the silence
Between tones, granting them sense.
He understood, better than before,
The fissure gaping at the core
Of love, dividing take from give,
Something one must learn to live
With, while the other thrives,
Defining sharply married lives.
He still could hear the song
She’d sounded to him for so long,
And even found himself content,
Engaging love’s original intent.
© 2005 F. Wilson
Walter Berglund, the closest Freedom has to a main character, is initially willing to limit his freedom to sleep with his eager young assistant, Lalitha, in the hope of propping up his marriage to Patty. Walter weeps with frustration when Lalitha kisses him “with aggression . . . hungry abandon”, and weeps again “into Lalitha’s hair” when finally his wife departs and the couple satisfy their hunger – leaving Walter unexpectedly desolate. Patty weeps on realizing that Walter has fallen for Lalitha, then weeps “for a long while” when he discovers that she herself has had a long-term affair with his best friend. “I swear to God, Walter. I swear to God. I’ve spent my whole life trying not to hurt you. You’re so good to me, you don’t deserve this.” Not all the dialogue in Freedom sounds as though it has been extracted from one of the flimsier episodes of Desperate Housewives, but quite a lot of it does.
... kisses him “with aggression . . . hungry abandon” -- Yuck!
I've said it before, but I think it worth repeating: I think Dutch is the coolest guy I've ever met.
I'm very much aware in the writing of dialogue, or even in the narrative too, of a rhythm. There has to be a rhythm with it … Interviewers have said, you like jazz, don’t you? Because we can hear it in your writing. And I thought that was a compliment.- Elmore Leonard, born on this date in 1925
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Here some serious qualifications are in order. Although 'beat' does have the connotation of 'beaten down' and 'exhausted,' this meaning is strictly secondary when compared to the term's fundamental meaning which is in the semantic vicinity of 'beatific,' 'beatitude,' The Eight Beatitudes, and the Beatific Vision (visio beata) in the theology of Thomas Aquinas. Kerouac cannot be understood apart from his Catholic upbringing. If we take Dean Moriarty (Neal Cassady) and Sal Paradise (Jack Kerouac) of On the Road as the main exemplars of beatness, there is nothing of the cool, jaded beatnik about them (the latter term an invention of the liberal media modeled on 'sputnik.') They are not cool, but hot, 'mad,' joyously affirmative. Every Kerouac aficionado thrills to the passage near the beginning of On the Road where Sal confesses: ". . . the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved . . . ." (p. 9)
As for me, I never liked Peanuts.
For someone taking on the subject of stereotypes, I was disturbed by her reliance on cliché (especially troubling for a woman who considers herself a poet). She spoke of the “free and emancipated” woman. She spoke of how the internet “teaches you that the personal is universal” and that it’s “connecting the world together — I really believe in the power of that.” She spoke of “empowerment.” So I wasn’t terrifically surprised when she said, in answer to a question, “I never function by ‘outcomes,’ I function by fashion, needs, anger.”
... 'Obama's Wars': An outsider copes with White House infighting.
... 'The Grace of Silence': A look at the role of racism in a family's past.
... A fun, imagined alternative history.
Also: Mario Vargas Llosa, visiting professor at Princeton, wins Nobel Prize in literature .