Thursday, October 30, 2014

Welcome to Purgatory …

… When Freud Met God — Philosophy and Life. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



It has long been my settled view that the world and life offer glimpses of Paradise, may slip into Hell from time to time, but are mostly a setting for Purgatory.  Our lot is prayer and penitence.

Haiku …



Strolling down the street,
A side street, sunlight, red leaves:
Great being alive.

An outstanding article …

… I Did Not Lose My Mind (May 2014) — Lion's Roar.



This is very well observed, beautifully written, and soundly reasoned. I think it will be of help to many.

A dark time was had by all …

… Detectives Beyond Borders: Noir at the Bar @Noircon.




The done-to...

Finding the truth...

FYI …

MAKING POEMS THAT LAST – Winter 2014


A POETRY WORKSHOP WITH LEONARD GONTAREK



While there’s no guarantee you’ll become the next Robert Frost, with the guidance of award-winning, prolific poet Leonard Gontarek, it’s at least a possibility. Encouraging students to explore as many avenues as possible and remove themselves from their work, he’ll help you find—then strengthen—your style and voice.

                                Philadelphia Weekly, Nicole Finkbiner




Reserve a place in the class via: gontarek9@earthlink.net


The workshop will include discussions of contemporary and international
poetry, translation, the students’ poetry, and the realities of publishing poetry.

Narrative, persona, political, homage, and confessional poetry will be
covered with a focus on what makes a poet’s voice original and their own.

Specific direction and assignments will be given, with attention
to the basic elements and forms of poetry.

Through invention students will build more accurate and textured work.


The workshop will be presented in seven 2-hour sessions,
Saturdays, 11 – 1:00 PM: November 1, 8, 15, 22, (no class Thanksgiving weekend),
December 6, 13, 20.

Location: 4221 Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia.
The cost is 161 dollars for 7 sessions.
Please contact Leonard Gontarek with interest: gontarek9@earthlink.net,
215.808.9507 – Independent workshops and manuscript editing available.

Attention, collectors …

… Fine Books & Manuscripts | Sale 2764B | Skinner Auctioneers.

Original intent …

… The Ending Sylvia Plath Wanted - The Atlantic. (Rus Bowden.)

Moments in and moments out …

… In Praise of Spacing Out -- Science of Us. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



I am very adept at blocking out distractions and focusing on what I'm doing. Ask my wife. But I am equally good at letting my mind wander where it will. I think of this as a kind of alternating current of consciousness.

The baby and the bath water …

… Serendipity in the Stacks: A Case against Bookless Libraries. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Brotherly love …

… A tale of two New York Cities: I was rich, my brother was down and out | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

A thought for today …

Serious-minded people have few ideas. People with ideas are never serious.
— Paul Valery, born on this date in 1871

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Music and life …

… Anecdotal Evidence: `Memory Cedes Its Place to Analogy'. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



I remember with disturbing clarity the soundtrack of my first weeks as a college freshman in the fall of 1970. My roommate and I listened to Blonde on Blonde, Miles Davis’ Greatest Hits and Bitch’s Brew, Joe Cocker’s cover of “Cry Me a River,” George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, The Band’s Music from Big Pink and The Band, Jefferson Starship’s Blows Against the Empire, Smetana’s Má Vlast, Leoš Janáček’s “Kreutzer Sonata,” Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, and the inevitable Beatles, Stones, Cream, Hendrix, among other things. By being eclectic, we were being conventional for the time.
I think that sort of eclecticism is not encountered much these days.

Good God …

… TRENDING: More college students support post-birth abortion.



We're talking infanticide here. Talk about a culture of death.

R.I.P. …

… Galway Kinnell, Poet Who Followed His Own Path, Dies at 87 — NYTimes.com. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Laudator Temporis Acti: Degrees of Comparison …

… Laudator Temporis Acti: Degrees of Comparison. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



I don't know if there are any scholars like Kittredge anymore. His chapter on "The Pardoner's Tale" in Chaucer and His Poetry is interpretive magic.

Birth-week brothers …

… John Berryman Joins Dylan Thomas in Life and Death: A Double Centenary | Town Topics. (Hat tip, Virginia Kerr.)

My thoughts on these two October poets might have taken me somewhere more cheerful than St. Vincent’s had I not been preoccupied with the large building on Witherspoon Street currently being relieved of its outer layer prior to death by demolition. 
Beautiful sentence, that.

Be very scared …

… FBI created fake Seattle Times Web page to nab bomb-threat suspect | Local News | The Seattle Times.

Diamond jubilee …

… 75 Years Of 'Colossal Poets' And Live Literature At NYC's 92nd Street Y : NPR. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Start reading …

… The Adorations — Home. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Listen in …

… Virtual Memories Show: Sam Gross – Look Day.

Birthday



The universe weighs me down 

Opens before me

O Father what hath you wrought

A thought for today …

There is no better way of exercising the imagination than the study of law. No poet ever interpreted nature as freely as a lawyer interprets the truth.
— Jean Giraudoux, born on this date in1882

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hear, hear …

… Richard Dawkins is wrong: Religion is not inherently violent - Salon.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



A very nice review.

Mark thy calendar …

… this Friday: Live Webcast of NEA National Council on the Arts Meeting | NEA.

Listen in …

… crusading against ageism:  Podcast – Much Abides | Virtual Memories.

A shameless plug …

… for a friend's book: Unbreakable Bonds: The Mighty Moms and Wounded Warriors of Walter Reed: Dava Guerin, Kevin Ferris, George H. W. Bush, Connie Morella: 9781629146980: Amazon.com: Books.

Haiku …


Forget about war.
Do consider the meanness
Daily in your heart.

Note: I changed the opening line because it did not convey what I wanted it to. I had been thinking of news reports of murders in the city. As I read it later, it seemed to suggest that I was thinking about murder, something that is never on my mind except when I read about it.

Risking it all...

Yes, indeed …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Happy Birthday To British Novelist Evelyn Waugh.

In case you wondered …

… The University Bookman: Why the Exorcist Endures. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



 Exorcist author William Peter Blatty based his 1971 book on a real case of demonic possession that occurred in Maryland in the 1940s. Yet the most important part of the novel was left out of the film. This section was so important to the story that it caused a rift between Blatty and director William Friedkin. Near the end of the book version, Father Lankester Merrin, an older priest, is explaining evil to Father Damien Karras, a young Georgetown Jesuit. The demon’s target, Fr. Merrin says, is not the innocent girl he takes over. The target “is us.” He continues: “I think the point is to make us despair, to reject our own humanity, Damien, to see ourselves as ultimately bestial; as ultimately vile and putrescent; without dignity; unworthy.” Fr. Merrin then explains that the devil is not so much in wars or on great geopolitical dramas, but in the small, quotidian cruelties: “in the senseless, petty snipes; the misunderstandings; the cruel and cutting word that leaps unbidden to the tongue between friends, between lovers.” Enough of these, he says, and “we don’t need Satan to manage our wars.”

Cause for concern …

… USA Today’s Susan Page: Obama administration most ‘dangerous’ to media in history - The Washington Post.



… Sharyl Attkisson’s computer intrusions: ‘Worse than anything Nixon ever did’.

Comparison and contrast …

… About Last Night | Answer came there none. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… My own feeling, for what it’s worth, is that Crimes and Misdemeanors is too reductively explicit to support the weight of its parable-like moralizing, whereas Foote is content to let the viewer come to his own conclusions about the ambiguous last scene of Tender Mercies, which makes no assertions of any kind. Not so Allen’s film, whose last scene leaves us in no possible doubt (save in the minds of interpretation-happy academics) of what he takes to be its precise meaning, which he has since spelled out to interviewers on numerous occasions.

Q&A …

… The Man Who Read Too Much | The Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A thought for today …

There are no poetic ideas; only poetic utterances.
— Evelyn Waugh, born on this date in 1903

Now presenting...

If you haven’t been paying attention—if Beck has slipped off your radar—he’s said and done a few things over the last year that might surprise you. He said liberals were right about the Iraq war, that we never should have gone in. He said he thinks Hillary Clinton will be the next president. He said he supports gay marriage—or, more specifically, that he doesn’t believe the government should have a say in anyone’s marriage, one way or the other. And this summer, he took truckloads of food and toys to immigrant children who had crossed the border into South Texas.

Monday, October 27, 2014

I don't think so …

… Are You An Illusion? - Mary Midgley book review - Philosophy and Life. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

It's all about us …

… The truth about evil | John Gray | News | The Guardian. (hat tip, Dave Lull.)



Western intervention in the Middle East has been guided by a view of the world that itself has some of the functions of religion. There is no factual basis for thinking that something like the democratic nation-state provides a model on which the region could be remade. States of this kind emerged in modern Europe, after much bloodshed, but their future is far from assured and they are not the goal or end-point of modern political development. From an empirical viewpoint, any endpoint can only be an act of faith. All that can be observed is a succession of political experiments whose outcomes are highly contingent. Launched in circumstances in which states constructed under the aegis of western colonialism have broken down under the impact of more recent western intervention, the gruesome tyranny established by Isis will go down in history as one of these experiments.

Wise …

… Laudator Temporis Acti: Multiple Translations. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Who knew?

… well, I did, actually: The Faith of Andy Warhol | RealClearReligion.

Haiku …


Sheer imperfection:
All that is left when you look
Fairly at yourself.

FYI …

… Social Media Isn’t Free | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

From savagery to compliment …

… Anecdotal Evidence: `Hammer Hammer Adamantine Words'.

The beat goes on …

… Rhymed Blank Verse: Thomas Hood | The Era of Casual Fridays. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Wednesday night and free …

… Noir at the Bar Arrives on October 29th | Geekadelphia.

Not about literature …

… but well worth reading: 21 Days - The Atlantic.

It did so, presumably, without irony …

… British university backs down on suspension for sighing and irony @insidehighered. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In case you wondered …

… Chard DeNiord: How are you supposed to know who the poets are? | Vox Populi.

A thought for today …

As for death one gets used to it, even if it's only other people's death you get used to.
— Enid Bagnold, born on this date in 1889

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Middle east dispatch...

Orwell vs. Self

...The argument heats up.

Who Doesn't Love a Good Garden?

From the NYRB.

A mind on vacation …

… La Bocca della Verità: The Grey Lady Grows Senile. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

…the theories of Copernicus and Darwin relied entirely on things that their brains were mistakenly concluding that they were observing. And all of the neuroscience that Graziano claims to be drawing on to reach his conclusions? All of that was developed by neuroscientists based upon things their brains were tricking them into thinking they were looking at. In fact, the very idea that we have a brain is based upon the mistaken idea that when we cut open a human head, we actually see a brain in there, since, according to Graziano, we are mistaken about having been conscious of seeing anything at all.

A thought for today …

Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself than of other people, nor does it mean having a low opinion of your own gifts. It means freedom from thinking about yourself one way or the other at all.
— William Temple, who died on this date in 1944

A different sort of spin …

… Revertigo: An Off-Kilter Memoir | Center for Literary Publishing. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Skloot knows whirling: in 2009 he had a bout of extreme vertigo that lasted for 138 days. Imagine such disorienting dizziness that to stand upright is almost impossible; then add nonstop severe nausea, and last, try them simultaneously for four months. This ordeal alone earns our attention to Skloot’s life story, but using his poet’s instincts and his experience as memoirist and novelist, he weaves a more complex tale—or to put it properly, tales. Vertigo is omnipresent throughout the book in both its physical and psychological forms, not strictly as a condition, but as a thematic link between fourteen masterfully written essays.

Good at a dirty game …

… How Lincoln Played the Press by Garry Wills | The New York Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Every bit of that information was blatantly biased in ways that would make today’s Fox News blush. Editors ran their own candidates—in fact they ran for office themselves, and often continued in their post at the paper while holding office. Politicians, knowing this, cultivated their own party’s papers, both the owners and the editors, shared staff with them, released news to them early or exclusively to keep them loyal, rewarded them with state or federal appointments when they won.
Ever turn on MSNBC, Garry? Fox actually does have news shows, as opposed to opinion shows. I think Bret Baier's show is as good for news as any on the tube.

Inquirer reviews …

… Mezrich returns to fiction for 'Seven Wonders' (by yours truly.)

Revered figure George Marshall nuanced in bio.

… Taking revolution to the high seas.

Who would've thought?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Contemplative writing …

… Mindful Writing Practice.

Words and the Word …

… Trend of Cash Prizes Gives Big Boost for Modern Catholic Literature | Daily News | NCRegister.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Ideology as fiction …

… Irving Howe, storyteller of ideas | TLS. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

So, he remained "as committed a socialist in the 1980s as he was in the 30s," but "does not explain the economics of socialism." So what the hell was he committed to?

Tracking the essay …

… Tiny Montaigne | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

Angels without borders...

...What Does Médecins Sans Frontières Teach Its Doctors?
That the outbreak is still out of control wasn’t going to keep Portnoy away. It was what finally convinced him—and his wife—that he had to go. “West Africa is where the most help is needed,” he said, “and it’s also the place it must be stopped.”

Plenty of nothing …

… H.P. Lovecraft's Philosophy of Horror | New Republic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



I could never get into Lovecraft. His tales struck me as simply revolting.


Riches...

Air, sculpted and rustled …

… Zealotry of Guerin: Out of Doors, Sonnets #208 and #209.

A thought for today …

He who is infatuated with 'Man' leaves persons out of account so far as that infatuation extends, and floats in an ideal, sacred interest. Man, you see, is not a person, but an ideal, a spook.
— Max Stirner, born on this date in 1806

Employer of the year...

Friday, October 24, 2014

Haiku …


Squirrels and sparrows,
Autumn leaves, an aging man's
Friday afternoon.

Makes sense to me …

… Compliments Are Nice, but Enough With the Cormac McCarthy Comparisons - The Daily Beast. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I guess it depends …

… Art of Darkness - NYTimes.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

 … the more we read about Jobs publicly humiliating colleagues and refusing to acknowledge responsibility for the birth of his first child, the more we see that his genius could seem inextricable from his indifference to social norms.
There is no reason to assume any necessary connection between genius and personality. If more geniuses than not are shits rather than saints, well, the same is probably true of the human race as a whole.

Constant struggle...

And the winners are …

… First Kirkus Prizes go to Roz Chast, Lily King and Kate Samworth - LA Times. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Who knew?

… Love Is the Answer to Empire | The American Conservative. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



If I can paraphrase a D.C.-area punk rock band of 30-plus years ago, I used to work for my Senatron and I lived in Washingtron. (The senator was Pat Moynihan, who late in life called for the withdrawal of the U.S. from NATO, the reining in of the CIA, and the transfer of many federal government programs to the states. In today’s Senate he’d be considered a wild-eyed radical—though I think he might find an ally across the aisle in Rand Paul.)
Guess he didn't call for withdrawal from the UN because he used to be our ambassador to it. But I agree about transferring stuff back the states and reining in the CIA. That said, you need something more than grouchy nostalgia as a basis for political action.

Pushback …

… Barely Believable Bias |� ACTA.


The idea that bullying of this sort is in any way educational is a pernicious one. It discourages students with minority viewpoints from voicing their opinions and encourages professors to use class time for political grandstanding at the expense of time spent actually teaching.

Q&A …

… Playwright Tom Stoppard’s Surprisingly Relaxed Method - WSJ. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

If you work everything out in advance, you’re forcing the play to follow what you’ve worked out, and you will inevitably get to a point where you’re cheating on the psychology of the character. If you let the plot be determined by what you feel is in the character’s mind at that point, it may not turn out to be a very good play, but at least it will be a play where people are behaving in a kind of truthful way.

Hmm …,

… Closing Our Browsers - WSJ. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



Some of my happiest memories are of browsing in bookstores. But I haven't done much of that in years. The only big one in Center City Philadelphia is Barnes & Noble on Rittenhouse Square, and I don't find it pleasant to browse there. There is, of course, Joseph Fox Books, but I don't get up that way too often these days. On the other hand, browsing online a few weeks ago, I discovered a book called What Can You Say About God (Except "God"), by William A. Luijpen, who wrote Existential Phenomenology, which was one of my metaphysics texts in college. It is the best book on God that I have ever read. It is out of print and I doubt I would have found it in any bookstore. 

RIP …

… Mystery writer Harold Adams dies at age 91 in Eden Prairie - TwinCities.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A thought for today …

The imagination, which synergizes intellect, emotion and instinct, is the perceptive organ through which it is possible, though not inevitable, to experience God.
— Denise Levertov, born on this date in 1923

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Mind your language...

Shakespeare & Co...

Another busy day …

… for yours truly, including an orchestra concert tonight.

Happy birthday …

… to Ned Rorem, another of the symphonists I keep going on about. Note in particular the ravishing melody toward the end of the final movement.

An American hero …

War and remembrance …

… A Science-Fiction Classic Still Smolders - The New Yorker. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



Beyond being a repository for his fears about the bomb, “A Canticle for Leibowitz” was a means for Miller to work through the trauma and guilt that haunted him from his wartime experiences, especially the bombing of the abbey at Monte Cassino. By his own admission, the Miller did not become fully aware of the driving force behind his novel until he was working on its third part. “I was writing the first version of the scene where Zerchi lies half buried in the rubble,” Miller recalled. “Then a light bulb came on over my head: ‘Good God, is this the abbey at Monte Cassino? . . . What have I been writing?’”

Until now …

… Unapologetic • Can't Stop. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Actually, I think one can know God as a presence. That, of course, is not the same as proving that He exists.



The way things used to be …

… Mining newspapers for poetry —  Book Patrol: A Haven for Book Culture. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A thought for today …

Art means to dare — and to have been right.
— Ned Rorem, born on this date in 1923

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hmm …

… How can we make the subject matter of philosophy of religion more diverse? (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
Theism, in a generic, omni-property sort of way, is one position that philosophers of religion commonly defend. The other is scientific naturalism. These seem to be the only games in town ….
Well, what other games would there be? Polytheism? That always has a supreme God. The world and life are understood as either mechanical or personal, random or purposeful.

Fiction, mystery, and magic …

… When Falls the Coliseum � Lisa reads The Wicked by Douglas Nicholas.

Telling ourselves stories...

Forgotten no more …

… Joseph Lee Scotland's Forgotten Poet remembered in new book | STV Dundee | Dundee. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Look and listen …

… BBC News - Clive James: 'I'd be lost without poetry'. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Thinking of Poe …

… PHILADELPHIA POETRY: BY LEONARD GONTAREK (October).

RIP …

Paul Craft, Witty Country Music Songwriter, Dies at 76 - NYTimes.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A thought for today …

There was a time when young people respected learning and literature and now they don't.
— Doris Lessing, born on this date in 1919

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

FYI …

… The Accidental Cootchie Mama.

Anniversary …

Malcolm Arnold, one of the great 20th -century symphonists I mentioned recently, was born on this date in 1921. This is the first movement of his second symphony. The other movements can be linked to easily.

One man's quest to beat the blues...

"...maker of all things visible and invisible..."


I fell over, as I walked the dogs this morning, while saying the Nicene Creed, fell over right over off the path in the picture, because I realized I was in the middle of this creation, of the all things visible and invisible, the trees and sun and clouds and grasses, the birds that were now beginning to wake and chirp, and the noise of the wind too, that blew through the trees and branches and leaves, making them move and dance, and the dogs and the dirt, the things in the dirt and holding the dirt together, and every other thing too, and me, and I just fell over, my legs wouldn’t hold me up, because they had gotten too weak to hold me up in the face of this overwhelming Power.

“Yes I did,” I heard the affirmation, and I sat a bit, took this picture and gathered myself and got up, for I had been knocked flat by the Glory of the Lord.

I then walked more, down the path and realized the bigger part of this, the hard part, is that I was created too for this moment and now to spread the Good News to you.


Lightness is all …

on Collection of Sand, essays by Italo Calvino, tr. by Martin McLaughlin (Mariner Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) | On the Seawall: A Literary Website by Ron Slate (GD). (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The difficulties of life-writing …

… The TLS blog: The once and future biographer. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Q&A …

… My Very End of the Universe: The Absent Father | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

No mere invisible hand …

… Book Review: ‘How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life’ by Russ Roberts - WSJ - WSJ. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Q&A…

… 10 Questions for Robert Milby | Fox Chase Review.

A thought for today …

Works of imagination should be written in very plain language; the more purely imaginative they are the more necessary it is to be plain.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge, born on this date in 1772

Devotional wondering …

… Marilynne Robinson's Lila Review | New Republic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Upgrade …

… The Elegant Variation: TEV 2.0 - Launch of the newsletter edition. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



I just subscribed.

Chandler Town …

… A Map of Raymond Chandler’s Fictional LA in Real-Life LA | Electric Literature. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

And the winners are …

… 2014 September : IBPC.



… The Judge's Page.



(Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Anniversay …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Happy 83rd Birthday To John le Carre.

Sounds good …

… Skeptical About Skeptics. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Fight to the finish …

… The Tomatoes Could Be Terrible. Write Anyway. | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

There's writing, and then there's writing …

… Are Writers Born or Made? Jack Kerouac on the Crucial Difference Between Talent and Genius | Brain Pickings. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Back to basics …

Conference speakers say the liberal arts must return to a purer form to survive @insidehighered.



Once you grasp the distinction between training, which is instrumental — how to do something — and education, which is formative — how to become someone — the problem becomes much clearer.

What is your reason for reading …,

… beyond eastrod: Get off your ass! Either burn those books or read those books. What a choice!



A friend of mine, a psychiatrist, once told me it was a bad idea to ask a patient why he had done something or said something. Much better to ask what his reason was for doing or saying something. 
Asking why gave him an opening to explain matters in terms of factors outside his control. His reason could only be his own.
I've been reading for so long that the practice has simply become second nature. But I got into it because I enjoyed it and because I enjoyed it I became good at it. It is, after all, a co-creative act. The reader actualizes the potency of the text (to put it Thomistically). This is called fun. It can also be enlightening, because it forces you to look at and think about life in a more focused and intense manner than ordinarily. This, in turn, over time enriches one's being. The knower and the known are one, as St. Thomas noted. The more you know, the more you are. Reading is one of the principal ways of enriching the soul. If you have not read, say, The Magic Mountain, your life is to that extent impoverished. The same is true if you have never really looked at a Botticelli or listened to Bach's B-minor Mass. Living is not the same as making one.

A thought for today …

Only divine love bestows the keys of knowledge.
— Arthur Rimbaud, born on this date in 1854

FYI...

Old man and river …

… Bryan Appleyard — Hearing the Underground River. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I have heard Glass's music live only once, a performance of one of his piano concertos, presumably the first. It was entertaining, but not terribly memorable. Arvo Pärt and John Tavener I rather like. Morten Lauridsen is quite good.

Professor of law-breaking …

Paul Davis On Crime: The Napoleon Of Crime: Sherlock Holmes And Professor James Moriarty Are Perfect Foes.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Worth attending …

… Brigadoon at Tomilinson Theater – Temple Musical Theater | Fox Chase Review.

A reminder …

THE GREEN LINE CAFE
READING & INTERVIEW SERIES
PRESENTS:

CHARLOTTE BOULAY
author of Foxes on the Trampoline

&

YOLANDA WISHER
author of Monk Eats an Afro

Reading & Interview

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 21, 7 PM

HOSTED BY
LEONARD GONTAREK & LILLIAN DUNN

THE GREEN LINE CAFE IS LOCATED
AT 45TH & LOCUST STREETS

(Please note the address, there are
  other Green Line Café locations.)
        greenlinecafe.com

     This Event Is Free


Yolanda Wisher was born in the Germantown section of Philadelphia and raised in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, where she was named the first poet laureate at age 23. A Cave Canem graduate, she received an M.A. in Creative Writing/English from Temple University. Wisher co-edited the international anthology Peace is a Haiku Song with Sonia Sanchez in 2013. In 2014, she was named a Founding Cultural Agent for the US Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC). Her first book of poems, Monk Eats an Afro , was published this year by Hanging Loose Press. She lives in Germantown with her husband Mark Palacio, a doublebassist, and her son Thelonious.





Charlotte Boulay grew up in the Boston area and attended St. Lawrence University. She earned her MFA from the University of Michigan, where she taught composition and creative writing for five years. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Slate, The Boston Review, and Crazyhorse, among other journals. Foxes on the Trampoline is her first book, and was published in April 2014 by Ecco Press/HarperCollins. She lives with her husband in Philadelphia.

That question again...

Endgame …

… Bryan Appleyard — Clive James: Dying in Art. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



We cannot have been conscious of our birth as we will be — and increasingly are as time passes — of our death. But we cry at birth, just as we may at death.

Inquirer reviews …

… 'Perfidia' a blood-soaked, sprawling saga.

… The man behind the Mütter Museum.

… 'Lila' a luminous, warming tale.

… The defining influence of George Washington.

Memory on its own terms …

… Speaking of Memory: Nabokov’s Folded Fabric | The Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

This is a deeply skeptical exploration of our attempts, in a spinning world of evolving phenomena, to define a fixed, concrete Self, to define anything in stasis; that is, it is less concerned with how a character moves through time than how time flows through a singular consciousness. And the book is filled with moments like this — of Nabokov pointing and saying, “Look at that! Can you believe that?” He is not making a case for a post-Einstein universe; he’s discovering that universe with a childlike delight, and inviting the reader to discover it with him.

It works for me …

… Drinking Coffee, for Your Health - The Atlantic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A thought for today …

One of the functions of intelligence is to take account of the dangers that come from trusting solely to the intelligence.
— Lewis Mumford, born on this date in 1895 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Submissions wanted …

… CNF Wants Weather, Boundaries, Teachers, & Crazy You!! | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.   

Tracking decline …

… The Bad News About the News | Brookings Institution. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



There was word online this morning about a CBS News operative who had to delete a tweet in which, disagreeing with something Rand Paul had said regarding Ebola, wondered sarcastically when he became a doctor. It did not take long for people to inform her that Paul is an eye surgeon. Obvious the CBS person had not seen the NBC report about Paul spending part the Senate recess this past summer performing free eye surgery in Central America. What the consumer of news should take from this, I think, is that the CBS operative is an ignoramus, just the sort of person the news business does not need and in this day cannot afford.
Of course, there's this:
Only about a third of Americans under 35 look at a newspaper even once a week, and the percentage declines every year. A large portion of today's readers of the few remaining good newspapers are much closer to the grave than to high school. Today's young people skitter around the Internet like ice skaters, exercising their short attention spans by looking for fun and, occasionally, seeking out serious information. Audience taste seems to be changing, with the result that among young people particularly there is a declining appetite for the sort of information packages the great newspapers provided, which included national, foreign and local news, business news, cultural news and criticism, editorials and opinion columns, sports and obituaries, lifestyle features, and science news.
So maybe our CBS operative is representative of her generation.

The antidote for ignorance is curiosity, and curiosity means being in interested in something besides the stuff you already know about.

The lowdown on getting high …

… Zealotry of Guerin: Absinthe (Degas), Sonnet #207.

A thought for today …

Some other faculty than the intellect is necessary for the apprehension of reality.
— Henri Bergson, born on this date in 1859

Catching up with Herodotus …

… Father of History | The Weekly Standard. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)




Temperamentally, literarily, and methodoligically, Herodotus and Thucydides could scarcely have been further apart. Thucydides’ strength was in analysis, Herodotus’ in description. Concision, dazzling formulation, and intellectual penetration were where Thucydides’ power lay, while expansion and sympathy for human difference was Herodotus’ forte. Herodotus appears to have been a man of wider tolerance, with a more generous nature and distinterested outlook than Thucydides. Herodotus’ motive was pure knowledge; Thucydides, meanwhile, wrote under the cloud of having been exiled for 20 years from Athens because of his failure to arrive in time to rescue the Athenian forces at the Battle of Amphipolis early in the Peloponnesian War.
I read Herodotus when I was in high school. I still have the volumes downstairs. And I remember him as great company throughout. Maybe that's where I got my lifelong preoccupation with trying to see things just as they are.

You can look it up …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Crime Fiction Dictionary: From Cozies To Hick Lit And Everything In Between.

The Danish connection …

… Flannery O'Connor's Kiss of Death - Asymptote. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Jesus and Vedanta …

… Learning To Be God - Philosophy and Life. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



It is certainly true that an authentic religious life centers on prayer and that genuine prayer is a path to discovery, and that what one discovers may prove both surprising and disturbing.

Ha ha ha...

Friday, October 17, 2014

Something I forgot …

… Nico would have turned 76 yesterday.

Blogging note …

To celebrate my birthday of a few days ago, Debbie and I are attending an afternoon Philadelphia Orchestra performance of Janáček's Glagolitic Mss, a personal favorite of mine. Then we'll have an early dinners somewhere. So blogging will resume sometime later.

One down, three to go …

… Detectives Beyond Borders: James Ellroy, historical novelist.

And the winners are …

… Librarians Choose the Best Teachers in Children's Literature | The New York Public Library. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Marking a centenary …

… John Berryman Is Reconsidered in 4 New Books - NYTimes.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The Poe case …

… The Poet Edgar Allan Poe: Alien Angel by Jerome McGann Review | New Republic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)


We demand of our poets, Romantic or not, more than watchmaking—more sublime messiness, more anarchic personality, more moral substance, more matter, than Poe was willing to allow, which is why his verse sounds so bloodless next to Whitman's, so inconsequential next to Dickinson's, and so mechanical next to almost anyone else's. Style for Poe was the almost negligible outcome of over-rationalized composition, and not the organic outcrop of substance. (For a hammered-home contrast, look again at any one of the sonnets of Gerard Manley Hopkins to see how the singing and the song are one.)

When artists dine …

… Michael Dirda reviews ‘The Immortal Evening’ by Stanley Plumly - The Washington Post. (Hat tip, Dave Lull..)

A thought for today …

There are only Epicureans, either crude or refined; Christ was the most refined.
— Georg Büchner, born on this date in 1831

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Shutting down...

FYI …

… Copyediting from A to X | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

The world and us …

… First Known When Lost: The Center Of The Universe.

Life and the library …

… Anecdotal Evidence: `It Is Quite an Education'.

Franny and Dinky …

As the Power Goes Out, Salinger’s “Franny” Puts the Dinky On the Map | Town Topic. (Hat tip, Virginia Kerr.)

Optimism despite …

… Leonard Cohen’s Triumphant “Problems” | Tommywood. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Worrisome indeed …

… Obama administration has secured 526 months of jail time for leakers - Boing Boing.



502 months more than in all of American history.

Stylized demimonde …

… A Portrait of the Artist as a Droll Slacker - The New Yorker. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



Where have all the New Yorker's vaunted fact-checkers gone? Henry Yorke spelled his pseudonym Green, not Greene.

A thought for today …

Ordinary riches can be stolen; real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.
— Oscar Wilde, born on this date in 1854

Falling short …

… When Falls the Coliseum � Lisa reads Season of Dragonflies by Sarah Creech.

Sartre vs Camus...

...No-bel

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Changing your mind...

"When the facts change I change my mind Sir.  What do you do?"  
- John Maynard Keynes


Thinking and acting in a different gender is hard.  And it isn't because one has to make stuff up ("Let's see, what would a woman do here?") although there is a little bit of that in the beginning.  No what is hard is getting rid of the stuff I came with prior to transition, that is, the layers and layers of thought that I imposed on myself to convince myself that I had a male's brain (more of that in a great article from the WSJ here.)  The one scientific fact about being a transsexual (which is a cool word in a way, far better than transgender or trans, as far as I am concerned) that seems to be certain, based on over 200 different neuroanatomy studies (see here) is that a female transsexual’s brain is more like a woman's than a man's.  So I never really had a male brain, and that makes sense in so many ways looking back on how I tried to fit in, with a male body but a female brain.

And attempts to cope with that situation led to my cognitive layers.  We all have them, layers and layers of rules, rationalizations, and other cognitive phenomena, especially as we get older.  They influence our behavior and thoughts, and I think that those layers are one of the things Christ told us to get rid of: "Unless you be as a child..."  And sometimes we can and do, and move ahead happy with our simpler ways of thinking.  But not often and it has always amazed me how many layers there are; and how we may never really get rid of them.  For example, someone who is constantly late may have any number of reasons for doing so, some of them a reaction to authority ("I'm not going to live by their clock!") and of course others.

What happened in my life was like that.  I had to get rid of layers of aggression, imposed on myself because the world constantly frustrated me, because I was reacting the “Wrong” way, as a chick trying to be a guy, but I don’t know that, just that I couldn’t get what I wanted, what others seemed to have.  So I resorted to aggression; beating people up to get what I wanted.  I became a football player, and then a lawyer, skilled in meeting the battle.  

But the problem was when I realized who I was (more on that in a previous post here), I couldn’t use any of that, any of those layers I had built up over almost 50 years.  And those layers weren’t only bad.  They sustained me and allowed me to live, because even though I covered up my true nature, I needed some coping mechanism, and that is what these layers were: helping me cope with a condition that I may have dimly known I had.  So I had to, as well, try to learn new skills to replace the old; if the old would have me yelling at people to get my way, the new had me not knowing what to do to get my way.   

And slowly, very slowly, the answer has come and it is a surprising one because, as I said at the beginning, it isn’t making stuff up but simply reacting to what has been there all along, the small voice inside of me, the one that I remember now was constantly present as a child, before the layers and layers were created, the one that let me act and be, before the wrongness of my condition became apparent to those around me, and I learned to cover it up, and build the layers.

That voice is back, because I am a different gender, but the one I knew I was.  It tells me to always be nice and act in love, and be gracious and kind.  And I act that way and think that way now, all too poorly, but I try.  And sometimes the layers do come back, and I have to look at what I am doing, using old ways, and interfering with who I am, confusing people too, becuase I almost become a strangley differnt person.  But those are slowly becoming less and less, because I know it is all coping crap coming back, and I don't need that stuff now.

So this is a happy story too.  I’ve finally coordinated mind with body, changed my mind to accommodate new facts.  And it feels so…integrated, so secure, so damn right.