Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Who knew

… Harvard classicist Richard Thomas on Bob Dylan | Harvard Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In truth, though, the Lane professor of the classics—whose freshman seminar “Bob Dylan” always fills up fall-semester classrooms—has been working on this book for a very long time. In 2001, he listened to Love and Theft a few days after the album was released and heard Virgil’s words singing back to him in Dylan’s voice. “I’m gonna spare the defeated—I’m gonna speak to the crowd,” Dylan rasps in “Lonesome Day Blues,” the fifth track. “I’m gonna teach peace to the conquered, I’m gonna tame the proud.” This was the Aeneid. The language was unmistakable. Virgil’s lines, translated from book six of his epic, read like this: “Remember Roman, these will be your arts: / to teach the ways of peace to those you conquer, / to spare the defeated peoples, tame the proud.” It turned out that Thomas’s two lifelong obsessions—Bob Dylan and the classics—were intertwined.

In case you wondered …

… A Day in the Life of a Freelancer | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



I was a freelancer for some years, but a lot of what I did was editing, which paid better. The articles I got published were the cherries on the sundaes. That said, it is an iffy business.

i·ro·ny

From a recent exchange on Facebook...
PART 1
PART II
PART III
Note:  "TF" means "the fuck"  
PART IV


Party animals …

 Neolithic Feasts at Stonehenge Were Not Vegan-Friendly - History in the Headlines.

And the nominees are …

… 2017 Finalists – Parsec Awards.

Among the finalists:
Best Speculative Fiction Story: Small Cast (Novella Form) — The Gray Area by Edward Champion.

A reading marathon …

 Finnegans Wake (Modern Library #77) – Reluctant Habits.

Finnegans Wake is a young man’s game. I would recommend attempting it before the age of forty, when there is still the time and the hunger to unravel the arcane wisecracking. Perhaps my mistake was reading this book on both sides of forty, with one foot steeped in bountiful possibility and the other more aware of mortality and the grave.
I have missed the opportunity by some 36 years.

The best swordsman in the world fears the amateur, not the one who is second best...

To get unstuck, I must let go of my “career” as an established writer and begin again as a novice. In truth, I am a novice in every new moment of the day, each of which presents possibilities unknown and untried. Why not embrace that fact and see what happens? As Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki said:
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.”In practical terms, what does it mean to begin again? I was afraid you’d ask. The truth is, I’m clueless, which may prove, mirable dictu, that I’m actually practicing beginner’s mind. If I’d waited for an answer, I wouldn’t have written this little piece — and writing it may help me get unstuck as a person, as a writer, as a citizen of the world. Simply pecking away at it over the past few days has already taken me to a place that feels less stagnant and more alive. At very least, I’ve been reminded that such a place exists.

Something to think on …

Names are changed more readily than doctrines, and doctrines more readily than ceremonies.
— Thomas Love Peacock, born on this date in 1785

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

And the winner is …

… George Saunders wins Man Booker Prize for 'unique' and 'extraordinary' work.

Victory and a forthcoming announcement …

… Informal Inquiries : U.S. v. Britain at Saratoga NY on this day in 1777.

Concerning reviews …

… About Last Night | TT: Out there on your own.

Q&A …

… We Found Our Joy in Latin | Matthew Schmitz | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Well-deserved …

… Imprisoned Palestinian Poet Ashraf Fayadh wins PEN Canada One Humanity Award. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Fayadh was released, but re-arrested on January 1, 2014 on charges of illicit relations with women, and several blasphemy-related charges including insulting the Prophet Muhammad, spreading atheism, refuting the Quran, and insulting the King and the Kingdom. Evidence against Fayadh included poems from Instructions Within, which was later banned from circulation in Saudi Arabia, and photographs of Fayadh and female colleagues taken at an art exhibition.

A favorite …

 Informal Inquiries : Harold Bloom: reading about reading.

Cultivating amnesia …

… Forgetfulness: the dangers of a modern culture that wages war on its own past. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

O’Gorman does not make the point, but the current fad for destroying statues (of Confederate generals in the US or imperial figures in the UK) is also a rite of penitence and purification. Yet history never does stop or begin anew. The French Revolution gave the world the Terror, the Napoleonic Wars and the restoration of monarchy. Similarly, destroying statues will not correct past or present wrongs, only polarise society and exacerbate social conflict. The iconoclasts perform the ritual to impress on themselves and the world their superior righteousness.
 The business about early Christianity could use a bit of nuance. Christianity took over a lot pagan feast days, and churches were often built on the site of pagan temples.

After being attacked by a mob no less …

… Kirkus withdraws starred review after criticism. (Hat tip, Lee Lowe.)

…  American Heartwon’t be published until January, but it has already attracted the ire of the fierce group of online YA readers that journalist Kat Rosenfield has referred to as “culture cops.” To them, it was an irredeemable problem that Moriarty’s novel, which was inspired in part by Huckleberry Finn, centers on a white teenager who gradually—too gradually—comes to terms with the racism around her. On Goodreads, the book’s top “community review,” posted in September, begins, “fuck your white savior narratives”; other early commenters on Goodreads accused Moriarty of “profiting off people’s pain” and said “a white writer should not have tackled this story, and neither should a white character be the center of it.”
What exactly does "white" have to do with any of this. Tens of millions of Muslims are Caucasian. The character Sadaf is from Iran. Ancient Persians referred to themselves as Aryans. The ones complaining sound like the racists. 


Something to think on …

Without the story — in which everyone living, unborn and dead, participates — men are no more than bits of paper blown on the cold wind.
— George Mackay Brown, born on this date in 1921

Monday, October 16, 2017

More on Richard Wilbur

Remembrance from his alma mater

Appreciation …

 Nigeness: Richard Wilbur RIP.

Tomorrow night …

HEY COME ON, THIS WILL BE FUN


THE GREEN LINE CAFÉ POETRY SERIES
        &
POETRY IN COMMON Present


AN OPEN POETRY READING

Of Poems By Poets Other Than Yourself

On The Subject of Ghosts, Hauntings,
Creatures, Horror Films, The Devil,
The Supernatural, Sightings, Zombies, Vampires, Ouija, Urban Legends,
Telepathy, Witchcraft, Telekinesis,
Unexplained Mysteries, Or Anything
You Can Fit In This Category,
Or Even Just Plain Old Autumn

FEEL FREE TO WEAR A MASK
AND BRING SOMETHING TO SNACK ON

Hosted by LEONARD GONTAREK

Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 7 PM


Sign Up: gontarek9@earthlink.net
You May Read For 5 Minutes

THE GREEN LINE CAFE IS LOCATED
AT 45TH & LOCUST STREETS
PHILADELPHIA, PA  USA
(Please note the address, there are
  other Green Line Café locations.)
        greenlinecafe.com

     This Event Is Free

Wise words …

 9 Richard Wilbur Quotes To Inspire Your Inner Poet To Get To Work. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

From our edu channel...

Hmm …

… Philosophy Rebuts Key Barrier Between Science and Religion | RealClearScience.
If Descartes was apparently premodern in his blending of theological and scientific reasoning, he was quintessentially modern in another sense. Indeed, the method for which Descartes is perhaps most famous is not deductive, but skeptical — the two are interconnected. For Descartes, the paragon of rationality is to question everything — including the testimony of the senses and that of tradition — leaving only those principles which are so clear and distinct as to be beyond all doubt, thereby serving as the foundation of knowledge. Rational inquiry thus always starts afresh, doubting everything in order to discover self-evident truths from which all other may be deduced.

FYI …

… Nigeness: The late Jeremy and Other Snails.

Sound advice …

 Trust But Verify Agents | Bill Peschel.

E books declining

Book publishers are giving an advance review of the industry’s future, and it looks a lot like the past.
After a decade of technological upheaval and lackluster growth, executives at the top four U.S. consumer book publishers say they are done relying on newfangled formats to boost growth.
It has been nearly 10 years since Amazon.com Inc. introduced its Kindle e-book reader amid the financial crisis, destabilizing publishers and challenging their well-honed business models.  
Now, e-book sales are on the decline, making up a fraction of publishers’ revenue, and traditional book sales are rising.  [ note the link is to google, as the WSJ paywall prevents direct links]

Losing locals

There rarely is a proper obituary for old newspapers, nothing to chronicle their coverage of town events: how the school board was caught in a corruption sting; how a local politician was caught taking cash in a bag; and how the town rallied when flood waters crested the banks of the Youghiogheny or when the train derailed.
It just dies.
Along with that death comes the death of the local reporter: the person who knows his or her community inside and out, a career that typically starts with the cops beat or the local school boards, the places where reporters really gets to know the pulse of their hometown and their people. The person who knows how the town ticks. Who knows where the bad guys are, both on the street and behind a podium.

Basic principles …

… Evidence: A Creative Writing Prompt in the Composition Classroom | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

Passing strange …

 Fatima the Uncanny - The Catholic Thing.

Remembering Oscar …

 Informal Inquiries : Oscar Wilde — the paradox of an earnest artist.

Something to think on …

When you realize that the laws of nature must be incredibly finely tuned to produce the universe we see, that conspires to plant the idea that the universe did not just happen, but that there must be a purpose behind it.
— John Polkinghorne, born on this date in 1930

And their friendship...

Sunday, October 15, 2017

R.I.P. …

… The most perfect poet in the English language: Richard Wilbur is dead at 96 | The Book Haven.

(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Good advice …

 AttackingtheDemi-Puppets: Answer to a Young Poet.

Pairs of opposites …

 Four poets, two versions of Orpheus | The Book Haven.

Sotted on words …

… Anecdotal Evidence: `The Most Jocular Euphemisms'.

Decisions, decisions …

… Secrets of the Stacks – Farrar, Straus & Giroux – Medium. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

CREW stands for Continuous Review Evaluation and Weeding, and the manual uses “crew” as a transitive verb, so one can talk about a library’s “crewing” its collection. It means weeding but doesn’t sound so harsh. At the heart of the CREW method is a formula consisting of three factors—the number of years since the last copyright, the number of years since the book was last checked out, and a collection of six negative factors given the acronym MUSTIE, to help decide if a book has outlived its usefulness. M. Is it Misleading or inaccurate? Is its information, as so quickly happens with medical and legal texts or travel books, for example, outdated? U. Is it Ugly? Worn beyond repair? S. Has it been Superseded by a new edition or a better account of the subject? T. Is it Trivial, of no discernible literary or scientific merit? I. Is it Irrelevant to the needs and interests of the community the library serves? E. Can it be found Elsewhere, through interlibrary loan or on the Web?

October poetry at North of Oxford …

… Under the El by Michele Belluomini.

… 2 Poems by Gareth Culshaw.

… 2 Poems by Jefferson Holdridge.

… Billie by Marko Otten.

Inquirer reviews …

Ron Chernow's 'Grant': New look at a misunderstood hero.

… Katie Haegele's 'Cats I've Known': Felines as key to the world.

… Amy Tan explores the dark side of her Joy Luck Club in new memoir 'Where the Past Begins'.

… James McBride's 'Five-Carat Soul' crackles with the master's energy.

'Star Wars Super Graphic': Charting a course across the Star Wars universe.

So many …

… Informal Inquiries : Wodehouse v. Virgil v. Jackson: birthdays.

Incorrigible loser …

… The University Bookman: Mark Twain, Huckster. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)


The Civil War, specifically the Union blockade, threw pilot Twain out of work. He went home to Hannibal, Missouri, and camped with the Marion [County] Rangers for a few weeks, which means—Thought Police take note—Mark Twain fought (sic) for the Confederacy. Ban the books! Tear down the statues! (If only we erected statuary to literary men rather than dead politicians and generals. Then again, I’m still waiting for the dunces to demolish the Ignatius Reilly bronze in New Orleans, once they realize that John Kennedy Toole’s book title contains the word Confederacy.)

I knew I felt better back then

Magic mushrooms can 'reset' depressed brain

Feel for people...just not too much

[T]hose who put themselves in the other person’s shoes had significantly higher “fight-or-flight” responses, as though they, too, were going through a stressful experience.
“Over time,” lead researcher Anneke Buffone notes, “the chronic activation of the stress hormone cortisol could lead to a variety of serious health issues like cardiovascular problems, a finding that is particularly meaningful for health professionals who are confronted with others’ pain and suffering daily.”
But the researchers also discovered that those who were asked to react to the essay with compassion — who thought about how the other person might be feeling but didn’t share the emotion — had a positive, invigorating arousal response, as if they were confronting a challenge that was achievable or offering advice that might help improve the student’s situation.
Empathy and types of empathy 

Something to think on …

Readers are what it's all about, aren't they? If not, why am I writing?
— Evan Hunter, born on this date in 1926

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Relevant

"Everything that is in agreement with our personal desires seems true. Everything that is not puts us into a rage.”
Andre Maurois

Forever odd …

… Henry Green Is As Good As His Word. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Green’s critics all stress the degree to which his books are unlike each other, and certainly the social milieux he describes do change from one to the next: a downstairs view of an Irish country house in Loving (1945), for example, and then Concluding’s (1948) state school and socialist future. Nevertheless, his fiction from Living on is all marked by two things. One is his reliance on irresolution, his refusal of narrative neatness. Two girls in Concluding disappear one morning; one of them never returns, and her absence remains forever unexplained. But her vanishing seems something more than a loose end—it’s elliptical and numinous, and close to a mystery in the theological sense of the term. The truth cannot be known, and this takes me to the other thing that links his books: his interest in the way people talk, in the texture and deceptions of human speech, its enormous variety even at its most clichéd.

Something to look forward to …

… Paul Davis On Crime: 50 Years On, Secrets Of 'The Prisoner' Are Finally Revealed.

Speaking of birthdays …

E.E. Cummings was born on this date in 1894.

Anniversary …

 Paul Davis On Crime: On This Day In History Actor Roger Moore Was Born.

Mission territory …

… On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church | Charles J. Chaput | First Things.

The greatest captivity of Babylon, whatever name it goes by in any age, has little to do with persecution or repression. It’s the lie that nothing deeper, nothing greater, nothing more beautiful and satisfying and permanent than itself, exists.

Success story …

… From Dishwasher to Millionaire, Ethiopian Refugee Achieves American Dream.

What ya sees …

… Zealotry of Guerin: The Figure-Ground Illusion, Sonnet #373.

Hmm …

… Cli-Fi.Net -- the world's largest online 'Cli-Fi' portal for Cli-Fi: A love letter to 'cli-fi' academics worldwide!
Cli-fi has become popular not because of the main newspaper and website media -- not the mainstream media like the New York Times or the Washington Post or the Boston Globe -- nor because of solitary freelance book reviewers, or literary critics or literature and science bloggers. No, the main force behind cli-fi's rise has been the global army of literary academics who have been writing papers, penning opeds and publishing books about cli-fi. It's in the air, and they are writing about it loud and clear.
For some of us — those less enamored of the contemporary academy—that could be a bug, not a feature.

A sad tale …

… Review: 'James Wright: A Life in Poetry,' by Jonathan Blunk - StarTribune.com. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Not what you thought it was …

… The Moral Imagination of "Leave It to Beaver" - The Imaginative Conservative. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Those who call Beaver “sanitized” overlook that many of the children on the show came from broken or dysfunctional homes. Larry Mondello’s father was perpetually away on business trips; his mother was a nervous wreck, struggling to raise single-handedly her wayward son. Mrs. Mondello’s advanced age carried the suggestion that Larry was a “surprise” child and unwanted. Others of Beaver’s friends talked of their fathers’ “hittin’ moods.” Eddie Haskell, too, behaved the way he did in part because of domestic discord. Divorce and alcoholism were addressed in various episodes.

Something to think on …

Nihilism is but the other side of conventionalism; its creed consists of negations of the current so-called positive values, to which it remains bound.
— Hannah Arendt, born on this date in 1906

Friday, October 13, 2017

Tracking the decline …

… Informal Inquiries : Killing the Mockingbird in Mississippi.


Losing - and keeping - languages

It is fortunate that sentimentality can be a respectable sort of attitude. Without it – that is, focusing solely on the scientific and academic value of languages – it is difficult to explain why it is better to preserve currently existing minority languages rather than revive long-dead languages that nobody living today cares about, or why it is better to support endangered natural languages such as the Lencan languages of Central America rather than artificial languages such as Volapük (constructed by a Roman Catholic priest in 19th-century Germany) and Klingon (the extra-terrestrial language in Star Trek), or why it is better to preserve endangered natural languages than to invent completely new languages.

‘Twas ever thus …

 Isaiah's Job | Mises Institute.

As the word masses is commonly used, it suggests agglomerations of poor and underprivileged people, laboring people, proletarians, and it means nothing like that; it means simply the majority. The mass man is one who has neither the force of intellect to apprehend the principles issuing in what we know as the humane life, nor the force of character to adhere to those principles steadily and strictly as laws of conduct; and because such people make up the great and overwhelming majority of mankind, they are called collectively the masses. The line of differentiation between the masses and the Remnant is set invariably by quality, not by circumstance. The Remnant are those who by force of intellect are able to apprehend these principles, and by force of character are able, at least measurably, to cleave to them. The masses are those who are unable to do either.
Albert Jay Nock was born on this date in 1870.

Hmm …

… Informal Inquiries : Homer Rediscovered.



Samuel Butler, author of Erewhon and The Way of All Flesh, also postulated  that Homer was a woman. His book on the matter is called The Authoress of the Odyssey.

The ghosts we are …

… First Known When Lost: Visitants.
As I noted in a recent post, I never use the word "commonplace" in a pejorative sense. The same is true of the word "prosaic." The visitants from our past often (perhaps nearly always) move us because they arise out of, or are intertwined with, that which is commonplace or prosaic. We have no way of knowing what moments will come to define our lives, nor what part of each moment will haunt us all our days.

En garde …

… BOOK REVIEW: 'The New Superpower for Women' - Washington Times.

FYI …

… A librarian called Dr. Seuss racist, but there's a progressive argument for reading his books to kids — Quartz. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Soeiro’s is a specific kind of list, for a specific kind of ultra-woke parent. … These are parents who, in Soeiro’s words, want their kids to be aware from a very young age of “the beautiful resilience of children who stand up to racism and oppression and for social justice and reform” and “children who are trying to connect with parents who are incarcerated simply because of their immigration status.”
In other words, shove politics down the kids' throats right from the get-go. Pathetic.

Human, all too human …

… The Myth of Scientific Objectivity by William A. Wilson | Articles | First Things.

[Einstein] began his career as a dedicated positivist and empiricist, only losing the faith when it failed him again and again. Rigorous attempts to inductively postulate laws from data brought him only years of stagnation and failure while he searched for the field equations of general relativity, and nearly cost him priority for the discovery. In desperation, Einstein searched for the mathematically simplest explanation, embracing prior philosophical criteria as a constraint on the space of possible theories, and then found his answer almost immediately. He ultimately concluded that, as he put it in his Autobiographical Notes, “no collection of empirical facts however comprehensive can ever lead to the formulation of such complicated equations. A theory can be tested by experience, but there is no way from experience to the construction of a theory.” In other words, the inductive approach to theory-building on which so many of science’s claims to neutrality hang is not only a poor description of science as it exists, but is, because of the limited powers of the human mind, not a way that science even could be done. The consequence of this, as Einstein said in an interview at the end of his life, is that “every true theorist is a kind of tamed metaphysicist, no matter how pure a ‘positivist’ he may fancy himself.”
E

Online now …

… Issue 8 — Schuylkill Valley Journal Online.

Could use some grammar, though …

… Rutgers students 'don’t need no facts' to heckle speaker.

Something to think on …

Like all predatory or parasitic institutions, the state's first instinct is that of self-preservation. All its enterprises are directed first towards preserving its own life, and, second, towards increasing its own power and enlarging the scope of its own activity. For the sake of this it will, and regularly does, commit any crime which circumstances make expedient.
— Albert Jay Nock, born on this date in 1870

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Classic review …

 … "Is it about a bicycle?":On Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman | Literary Hub. (hat tip, Dave Lull.)

“O’Brien had little to learn from Joyce except a few technical tricks; he was already endowed with the Irish poetic pedantry which it was Joyce’s achievement to exploit to the epic limit. O’Brien is more modest. He is content here with the creation of a whole bogus scholarship centered on the writings of an impossible savant called de Selby. This mad philosopher is the narrator’s personal obsession. He is invoked on every occasion, often in dense footnotes which rise up the page and flood out the narrative. One is reminded of Finnegans Wake, but only just. The materials of that phantasmagoria are real life; everything here is made out of the world of the dead. The narrator, we eventually discover, is dead: his accomplice planted a bomb in the house of the robbed and murdered farmer and blew him up. The horrible logic of de Selby belongs to a quiet and somehow friendly hell where bicycles and an entity called an omnium are among the obsessive furniture. It is circular, and we end as we begin (‘Is it about a bicycle?’ asks Sergeant Pluck).

Continuing …

… More Seuss Protests — Annoyed Librarian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)




Listen in …

… Episode 238 – Shannon Wheeler – The Virtual Memories Show.

“Cartooning for The New Yorker is like being in a jazz club, and you don’t go into a jazz club and play the Ramones.”
Episode 239 – Pete Bagge and Mimi Pond.

“The way I draw is how I express myself. . . . Friends asked if I should have collaborated on these biographies with someone who draws realistically. . . . But then I wouldn’t have wanted to read it!”

And the winners are …

… Bahá’í poet Mahvash Sabet shares 2017 PEN Pinter Prize with Michael Longley - English PEN. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Controversy …

72 Friends of Literature, in Defense of the Poet Jill Bialosky. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

On the other hand: Critics And Writers Are Defending An Accused Plagiarist. Here’s Why They’re Wrong.
A student can fail or be kicked out of a class, and in some cases expelled, for plagiarizing in exactly that manner. I’m a writer at the start of my career; in an unofficial survey, my editors said that if they were shown evidence I’d plagiarized to a similar extent they would likely fire me. In 2006, then-19-year-old Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan’s debut novel with Little, Brown, “How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life,” was found to contain several multi-word passages plagiarized from a variety of authors. Her book was withdrawn and her book and movie contracts cancelled.


One poet's life …

 On Alden Nowlan, a unique figure in Canadian literature born in poverty and raised in poetry | National Post. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

At 16, he discovered the new library in Windsor, nearby. On weekends, he would walk or hitchhike 18 miles to return books and borrow new ones. Soon, he was trying to write stories and poems. His father never approved of that ambition. “I wrote (as I read) in secret,” Nowlan remembered. “My father would as soon have seen me wear lipstick.”

Something to think on …

The motive, principle, and end of the religious life is to make an absolute gift of self to God in a self-forgetting love, to end one's own life in order to make room for God's life.
— Edith Stein, born on this date in 1891

Getting there...

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Don't be scared …

THE GREEN LINE CAFÉ POETRY SERIES
        &
POETRY IN COMMON Present


AN OPEN POETRY READING
Of Poems By Poets Other Than Yourself


On The Subject of Ghosts, Hauntings,
Creatures, Horror Films, The Devil,
The Supernatural, Sightings, Zombies,
Vampires, Ouija, Urban Legends,
Telepathy, Witchcraft, Telekinesis,
Unexplained Mysteries, Or Anything
You Can Fit In This Category,
Or Even Just Plain Old Autumn

FEEL FREE TO WEAR A MASK
AND BRING SOMETHING TO SNACK ON

Hosted by LEONARD GONTAREK

Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 7 PM

Sign Up: gontarek9@earthlink.net
You May Read For 5 Minutes

THE GREEN LINE CAFE IS LOCATED
AT 45TH & LOCUST STREETS
PHILADELPHIA, PA  USA
(Please note the address, there are
  other Green Line Café locations.)
        greenlinecafe.com

     This Event Is Free

FYI …

… Jim Remsen’s History Nuggets – Embattled Freedom.

Free at last …

… Books from 1923 to 1941 Now Liberated! | Internet Archive Blogs. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

When ideas get the better of you …

… SCIENCE! Jerry Brown’s ‘zero emission vehicle’ celebration interrupted by reality buzzkills – twitchy.com.



As Edmund Husserl advised, "back to the things themselves."

Hmm …

 Informal Inquiries : Fiction -- miscellaneous musings from over-the-hill.

Endgame …

… Going Out by John Whitworth | Articles | First Things.

Warrior poet …

… Ode to King David by Timothy Murphy | Articles | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Appreciation …

… What’s Inside Henry Thoreau’s Journal - The Atlantic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Thoreau’s real masterpiece is not Walden but the 2-million-word journal that he kept until six months before he died. Its continuing relevance lies in the vivid spectacle of a man wrestling with tensions that still confound us. The journal illustrates his almost daily balancing act between recording scrupulous observations of nature and expressing sheer joy at the beauty of it all. Romantic predecessors like Samuel Taylor Coleridge and, centuries before that, polymaths like Leonardo da Vinci thrived on the interplay between subjective and objective exploration of the world. For Leonardo, engineering and math infused painting and sculpture; Coleridge said that he attended chemistry lectures to enlarge his “stock of metaphors.”
It would be more correct to say that Walden is not his only masterpiece.

In gratitude …

This past Thursday, I was discharged by my physical therapist and my nurse, signaling that my post-operative treatment was complete. My occupational therapist had discharged me sometime earlier. I owe a great deal to these three people — Danielle Sandefur, my nurse, Jessica Sunderland, my occupational therapist, and Chris Masiello, my physical therapist. I can't imagine better care than what they provided me. 

And again …

… Informal Inquiries : Elmore Leonard - a birthday celebration and a bit more.




Anniversary …

… Paul Davis On Crime: On This Day In History The Late, Great Crime Writer Elmore Leonard Was Born.



Leonard was one of the coolest guys I ever met. Just naturally cool. And a damned good writer.

Hmm …

 Destroying the Neighborhood to Save It | City Journal.

Well, gentrification also increases property values, which means you can sell your property for a lot more than you paid for it, and move away from those people who made it worth more. My block in South Philly remains a traditional neighborhood block. But the value of the property has increased greatly because of all the gentrification going on around us. Our heirs should do quite well.

Something to think on …

We are, all of us, molded and remolded by those who have loved us, and though that love may pass, we remain none the less their work — a work that very likely they do not recognize, and which is never exactly what they intended.
— François Mauriac, born on this date in 1885

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Tracking the decline …

… “Well-Beings Are Being Put On The Line”: Berkeley Protesters Interrupt Class To Protest The Midterm Exam As Too Stressful | JONATHAN TURLEY. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



The protesters insisted that their “well-beings are being put on the line because of the emotional, mental, and physical stress that this university is compounding with what is already going on in [their] everyday lives.”  Shaiken (who is an expert on Latin American studies) balked at the notion that Berkeley was an oppressive environment: “This is a campus that is truly related throughout Latin America to the notion of free speech.”  The effort to dialogue with the protesters only made things worse and one shouted: “Have you ever checked ‘unlisted’ or ‘undocumented immigrant’? I don’t think so!”  The students further objected that Shaiken could not teach workers rights in Mexico as a white man.


But for any of them to know what they are preaching, they would have to know thoroughly the subjects they are preaching about. Actually, some of us found the stress of midterms exciting. These people should be treated as figures of fun.

Too bummed out …

… 'Blade Runner 2049': Why some science fiction writers are tired of dystopias - CSMonitor.com.

… in 2011, the author of classics such as “Snow Crash” cofounded the Hieroglyph project with the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University. The big idea: Develop science fiction stories with optimistic thought models and imaginative blueprints. The theory is that these narratives will, in turn, inspire scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs to tackle major projects such as designing crewed spacecraft or finding viable alternatives to fossil fuels.

Insight …

 Informal Inquiries : Emily Dickinson - "Much madness is divinest sense".



The distinction between the two is often hard to draw these days.


Taking a closer look …

… About Last Night | TT: Textbook case.

Not exactly paradise …

… The Real Housewives of the U.S.S.R. – Iron Ladies – Medium.

Q&A …

… James Matthew Wilson on Truth, Beauty, & Goodness - The Imaginative Conservative. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



I follow Yeats’s practice of recognizing that many lines, actually, have to be quite plain, precisely because you want the opportunity to suddenly tighten the rope or crack the whip when you’re ready to give a line a perfect epigrammatical or lyrical expression. You need to be able to do that freely, and over the course of the poem, and write plainly in order to be able to pull that off, so your reader can tell the difference.

We shall see …

… Are Tim Cook's Days As CEO Numbered? | Zero Hedge.



Well, Cook is certainly a poor substitute for Jobs.

More on this …

… Dr. Seuss in the Crosshairs | Frontpage Mag. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

To be sure, after the Phipp Soeiro story went public, the embarrassments began to mount: a photo surfaced of Phipp Soeiro herself at some school event, dressed up as the Cat in the Hat and clinging to a copy of the Dr. Seuss book and a Cat in the Hat puppet; a whole bunch of photos surfaced showing Mrs. Trump's infallible predecessor, Michelle Obama, reading aloud to kids from one of Dr. Seuss's “racist” books; news stories surfaced in which our revered former President Barack Obama himself was quoted as telling a group of children that one of his “favorite stories” was by Dr. Seuss; the Cambridge school district distanced itself from Phipp Soeiro's action, announcing that it had “counseled” her on “donations policies and the policy against public resources being used for political purposes”; and the mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts, hometown of Dr. Seuss (real name Theodor Geisel), called Phipp Soeiro's comments about the local hero “ridiculous” and exemplary of “'political correctness' at its worst.” 



Something to think on …

What mankind needs today is liberation from the rule of nonsensical slogans and a return to sound reasoning.
— Ludwig von Mises, who died on this date in 1973

Monday, October 09, 2017

Well of course they do!

Dr. Gregory Berns, 53, a neuroscientist at Emory University in Atlanta, spends his days scanning the brains of dogs, trying to figure out what they’re thinking. The research is detailed in a new book, “What It’s Like to Be a Dog.”
Among the findings: Your dog may really love you for you — not for your food.

Religious experience …

… Dialogue With God | by Peter Brown | The New York Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

For God can change His mood. Like any other free person, He can show a different side. The Confessions is about the marvelous emergence of new sides of God as Augustine himself changes in his relation to God, over the years, from slave to repentant son to lover. Ruden may have to defend her retranslation of the name of God from “Lord” to “Master.” But her approach is a thoughtful one. It is governed by a determination to present Augustine’s relations with his God as endowed with the full emotional weight of a confrontation between two real persons. She takes no shortcuts. Small departures from conventional translations show her constant effort to capture an unexpected dimension of tenderness (very different from that of the slave owner) in God’s relation to Augustine and in Augustine’s to God.

Hmm …

… Maverick Philosopher: The Ultimate Paradox of Divine Creation.

You don't understand classical theism unless you understand it to be a form of idealism. But creatures, and in particular other minds, exist on their own, in themselves, and their Being cannot be reduced to their Being-for-God.  Therein lies the difficulty.Is divine creation a mystery or an impossibility?
Well, I suppose this poses a problem if one regards God as the terminus ad quem of a reasoning process. But I think it is effectively addressed by the author of The Cloud of Unknowing in another of his works, The Book of Privy Counseling:
"And so I urge you, go after experience rather than knowledge. On account of pride, knowledge may often deceive you, but this gentle, loving affection will not deceive you. Knowledge tends to breed conceit, but love builds. Knowledge is full of labor, but love, full of rest."

In case you wondered …

 Beethoven’s Fifth As It Was First Heard | Brandywine Books.

Neat …

… Life in Hershey: AACA Fall Meet at Hersheypark | Bill Peschel.

Timely reminder …

… How art serves us, here and now: Ellen Umansky and the lost paintings of the Holocaust | The Book Haven.

FYI …

… Cli-Fi in American Studies: A Research Bibliography | American Studies Journal.

Appreciation …

… John Banville: Novels were never the same after Henry James. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Anyone who has read, or has attempted to read, late James will know that sense of being at once dazzled and dazed by the prose style he evolved in the first decades of the 20th century, a style designed to catch, with immense, with fiendish, subtlety, and in sentences of labyrinthine intricacy, the very texture of conscious life.

The seasons of grief …

… Forgotten Poems #30: "Dead," by Joseph Noël Paton.

For the defense …

… History shows that Columbus is worth celebrating.



Maybe on Indigenous Peoples' Day they should have a re-enactment of the Aztec priests sacrificing to the gods by cutting out some poor devil's still-beating heart. Columbus may not have been any better. But he sure in hell wasn't any worse.

Our town …

… Tracing The ‘Chinese Wall’ In Center City | Hidden City Philadelphia. (Ht tip, Dave Tothero.)

Something to think on …

Every ten years you should delete from your mind a few ideas that your experience has proven to be false.
— André Maurois, who died on this date in 1967

Why yes it is a Big Sky...

Walking the dogs in the early morning in Big Sky MT.


Dan Brown and worthless beliefs

"Traditionally, all the gods fall. And my question is, are we naïve to believe that the gods of today will not suffer the same fate," Brown says.
"Would that lead to a better planet?" Dokoupil asks Brown.
"I personally believe that our planet would be absolutely fine without religion, and I also feel we are evolving in that direction," Brown says.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Shakespeare


I've written in the past about my efforts -- every so often, every few months -- to take on one of the many Shakespeare plays I missed either in high school or college. This time, it was The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Based on what I've read, the play's not necessarily the most well loved or reputed among Elizabethan scholars. But no matter, I really enjoyed it: it's funny, endearing, and playful. And if it's characters don't emerge as "changed" or "evolved" as in others of Shakespeare's plays, well, so be it. That doesn't take aware from the levity of the whole thing, the sense of humor and spectacle. 

As with so many of these second- (and even third-) tier plays, there's so much, I find, in the language itself. Shakespeare was having such fun with the words: this was a time when the English language burned bright. And I really appreciate that: it's not the plot that you look to in these plays; it's dialogue, the hilarity of words and phrases positioned just right. 

Up next in this gradual journey, I'm not sure: but if it's anything like The Merry Wives, I'm sure to be satisfied. 

Inquirer reviews …

… Kate Fagan's 'What Made Maddy Run': A deep, relatable tale of a young woman's tragedy.



… Ken Burns' ‘Vietnam War’: Best single-volume history.



… Ta-Nehisi Coates' 'Eight Years in Power': The Obama era's faded hope.



… Ted Genoways' 'This Blessed Earth': A family farm, just hanging on.



… Ariel Levy's 'Rules Do Not Apply': A memoir of choice, self, consequences.



See also: Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk on the street feminism in his 10th novel, 'The Red-Haired Woman'.

Submissions wanted …

 Superstition Review Seeks Nonfiction | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

Who knew?

… Miranda Devine: The truth Baby Boomer feminists refuse to admit | Daily Telegraph.

A sad tale …

… Salena Zito: All news is local.

Tracking the decline …

Instapundit — DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Two Canadian professors.

“Our goal in this class is to move both hearts and minds, in part by ‘forcing’ an encounter with at least some knowledges that students have already decided they are not interested in,” Renshaw and Valiquette explain …
“Knowledges.” That tells you all you need to know.

Restored …

 Jazz Profiles: Stan Getz - East of the Sun: The West Coast Sessions - The Ted Gioia Notes. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)