Thursday, October 17, 2019

Blogging note …

I have to go out and do some things that will probably take up much of the day. And tonight we're going to the orchestra. So I will fit in blogging when and if I can.

And the winners are

… Gramophone Classical Music Awards 2019: the full report | gramophone.co.uk. (Hat tip, David Tothero.)

I'm familiar with Bertrand Chamayou, who is very good, but I don't keep up much with the latest in classical music anymore. I listen to my old favorites. (I do think highly of Paavo Järvi, though.)

A prophet for these times …

… Houellebecq and the Death of Europe | John Waters | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Houellebecq writes about the disappointment, sadness, loneliness, anguish, terror, boredom, and despair imposed by a culture unfit for human habitation. He exposes the freedom con pedalled since the sixties and defended in the name of progress. He summons up a diseased world, leaving the reader repelled and unsettled, but also relieved that at last the truth is told. He does not raise false hopes, but presents his characters in extremis within the collapsing culture, their humanity no longer capable of extending into the available space. But all the while there is an implicit comparison of an unexpected kind: that something better is possible—something that may once have existed, perhaps a memory deep in the recesses of the reader’s mind.


Here is my review of Houellebecq's The Map and the Territory.

This may be where Europe is heading.

Awful …

 Jimmy Sham, leader of Hong Kong democracy group Civil Human Rights Front, attacked on Mong Kok street | South China Morning Post.

Someone tell the NBA.

Another remembrance …

 RT’s Reviews & Marginalia : Harold Bloom said, “For me, Shakespeare is God.”

Remembering …

… Episode 151 – Harold Bloom – The Virtual Memories Show.

“I’m a reader and a teacher. Writing comes out of reading and teaching. Those are all three words for the same thing. I don’t think I’m going to be remembered at all; I don’t think any of us get remembered.”

Listen in …

… Episode 344 – Liz Hand – The Virtual Memories Show.

“Henry Darger was a devout Catholic who was engaged in a huge argument with God.”

Great news …

 Nigeness: At Last! (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



I just ordered a copy.

Something to think on …

God is not the object of my reason, nor of my sensibility, but of my being. God exists for me in the same act in which I exist.
— Don Colacho 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Good for her …

… Hongkongers nominated for Nobel Peace Prize | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP.



LeBron James was unavailable for comment.

And the winners are …

 Winning Poems for September 2019 : IBPC.



The Judge's Page.



(Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Contemporary journalism …

… Entire RAGBRAI staff resigns over Register's handling of Carson King story - KTIV.

Methinks it’s the Register that’s in need of resignations.

Pretty classy

… Oppressed Chinese Citizens Apologize To NBA Players For Disrupting Their Difficult Week | The Babylon Bee.

Anniversary …

… Reading, writing and readability—appreciating Rudolph Flesch | OUPblog. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

 I don’t remember how I was taught to read. I presume my mother taught me. I know that I could read before I entered first grade, because the teacher brought the principal into class one day just to hear me read.

Important FYI …

… National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Grant Opportunity Announced for Community Reading Programs | NEA.

Hmm …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Take No Prisoners: My Washington Times Piece On Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez Wanting To Abolish Prisons.



The FBI recently confirmed that Samuel Little, 79, is the most prolific serial killer in American history. Little has confessed thus far to strangling 93 women between 1970 and 2005.
The FBI recently confirmed that Samuel Little, 79, is the most prolific serial killer in American history. Little has confessed thus far to strangling 93 women between 1970 and 2005 …

Watch and listen …

… Owen A Barfield on Owen Barfield – Mark Vernon.

Appreciation …

… R.I.P. Harold Bloom (1930-2019): “He saw reading as a great human enterprise, an engagement of the passions, a heroic endeavor.” | The Book Haven.

A poet in full …

… The Poet in the Pulpit: On the Brilliant, Homely Homilies of Gerard Manley Hopkins - Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Hopkins did not treat poetry and sermons as two separate (or separable) domains. He remains every bit a poet as he mounts the pulpit. In fact, his poetry and his sermons cross-pollinate: ideas, images, and turns of phrase appear first in sermons and later in poems, or vice versa.

Anniversary and more …

… RT’s Reviews & Marginalia : John Brown on 16 October 1859.

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

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Good …

… Hong Kong Protesters Burn LeBron James Jerseys After China Comments.

Well, the professor is well named …

… RT’s Reviews & Marginalia : Rapping Homer.



You have to be pretty bourgeois to think this sort of thing is anything other than just fashion.

October Poetry at North of Oxford …

… Five Poems by Catfish McDaris.

… Sub – Zero Visibility by Vandana Kumar.

… The Patient fractures after by Arlyn Labelle.

… Welcome to LA by Gary Duehr.

… Working on the night shift by Casey Killingsworth.

The best defense …

… BOOK REVIEW: 'Facing the Bear' - Washington Times.

Although there were events that nearly led to World War III during the Cold War, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the U.S.-USSR standoff during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, the strategy of Mutually Assured Destruction, or MAD, kept the Cold War from turning hot. With MAD, even if the Soviets totally destroyed the U.S., the UK and other NATO partners in a surprise missile attack, the nuclear-armed aircraft in the air and the nuclear-armed submarines under the sea would launch a counterattack that would totally destroy the Soviet Union. The USSR was also equipped with this deterrent.

Something to think on …

Well, why do you want a political career? Have you ever been in the House of Commons and taken a good square look at the inmates? As weird a gaggle of freaks and sub-humans as was ever collected in one spot.
— P. G. Wodehouse, born on this date in 1881

A strange fellow …

… Nigeness: Wincing Again: Back to Ackerley.

Be happy …

 5 Books Published by P.G. Wodehouse on his Birthday – Plumtopia. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Monday, October 14, 2019

Time passing …

… Riverside Drive, November Fifth by Katha Pollitt | Poetry Magazine. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Katha Pollitt turned 70 today.

Anniversary …

 [Buffalo Bill 's] by E. E. Cummings | Poetry Foundation. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)



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

RIP …

… John Giorno, Storied Artist Who Expanded Poetry's Possibilities, Is Dead at 82 -ARTnews. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Help if you can …

… CNEWA - Syria. (hat tip, Cynthia Haven.)

RIP …

… Renowned American Jewish literary critic Harold Bloom dies at 89 | The Times of Israel. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Richard Wright


Some novels are engaging; others are gripping. Richard Wright's Native Son -- which must have landed like a bombshell when it was published in 1940 -- is firmly in that second category: the novel is a literary thriller; it's absolutely riveting. 

Part of what I found so exhilarating -- and so impressive -- about Native Son is its scope. This is a novel which reaches for it all: race relations, identity, reconciliation. All of these themes, and more, are at the heart of Wright's novel.

But instead of overwhelming, Native Son captivates. And this, I think, is an important distinction. Wright focuses on a single story, in a single city, in order to uncover grave injustice. Native May may take Bigger Thomas as its central character, but Thomas functions as a conduit through which American history -- in all its tragedy -- emerges. He is more than one man. 

Native Son is a novel, as Wright notes, about the "crime of being black." And it is. This is not a book primarily about murder or violence; it is one, instead, about ingrained racism, about systemic prejudice. When Bigger Thomas acts, his agency is limited by these conditions. 

There is so much to say about Native Son -- about its approach to metaphor, to whiteness, and gender -- and much, I'm sure, has been said about all of these things. 

At the end, though, I found this a masterful novel because, like others of comparable quality, it transmits a complex message using deceptively simple syntax. Native Son is equal parts triumph and tragedy. I can't remember the last novel I read which so firmly held my attention, and which engendered such consistent reflection on the American condition.  

Watch and listen …

… Just because: Janet Baker sings Berlioz | About Last Night.

Begging to differ …

… An Italian-American Explains His Defense of Columbus Day - The Lid.

Good question …

… Why Are We Silent When Black Africans Are Sold Into Slavery Every Day? – HillFaith.

It’s happening in Northern Africa in Muslim nations like Libya, the Sudan and Mauritania. In Libya alone, CNN has reported slave auctions in nearly a dozen locations across that war-torn nation.

Hmm …

… More Than a Feeling by Tyler Malone | Poetry Foundation. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

“Eureka! Eureka!—I found it! I found it!”—cried Archimedes, the ancient Greek mathematician, as he stepped into the bath and noticed the water level rise. In this moment of intuition, he suddenly understood that the volume of water displaced must equal the volume of the body part that’s submerged. Or so the story goes.
Only he didn’t intuit it. He made an observation and drew an inference. It is a nice coincidence that Poe intuited that the universe began with the Big Bang that Friedmann and Lemaitre inferred from observation. I’ll stick with the Poe of  “The Philosophy of Composition.”

As Niels Bohr said …

… predicting is difficult — especially the future: RT’s Reviews & Marginalia : Idiotic Environmental Predictions.

Time for a smile …

… Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Humor: Ole Pa Goes To The Doctor.

Anniversary …

On This Day in Space! Oct. 14, 1947: Chuck Yeager Breaks the Sound Barrier.

I turned 6 on that day.

Something to think on …

Political questions are far too serious to be left to the politicians.
— Hannah Arendt, born on this date in 1906

Tomorrow …

POETRY IN COMMON
 &
THE GREEN LINE CAFÉ POETRY SERIES
 &
100 THOUSAND POETS FOR
PEACE AND CHANGE

PRESENT

AN OPEN POETRY READING
THE ANNUAL RONALD JOHNSON POETRY AWARD
FOR BEST POEM
THE PRIZE: $50


Judge: CHARLES CARR

Hosted by LEONARD GONTAREK

Tuesday, October 15, 2019, 6 PM

Sign Up: gontarek9@earthlink.net
Poets will get 4 minutes to read

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




About Our Judge:


Charles Carr is a native Philadelphian. He was educated at LaSalle and Bryn Mawr College, where he earned a Masters in American History. Charles has worked in social and community development services for 45 years, and has also been active in raising funds for various missions and organizations serving the poorest of the poor In Haiti. In 2007, he was The Mad Poets Review First Prize Winner for his poem “Waiting To Come North”. In 2009 Cradle Press of St. Louis published Charles's first book of poetry: paradise, pennsylvania. In January of this year, Haitian Mud Pies And Other Poems published by The Moonstone Arts Center was released. Charles’ poems have been published in various print and on-line local and national poetry journals. Charles is host of Philly Loves Poetry a collaborative live broadcast on the first Tuesday of the month. For five years, Charles hosted a Moonstone Poetry series at Fergie’s Pub on the second Wednesday of each month. In September 26th, 2013 Charles read poems in honor of the international 100,000 Poets For Peace at The Garden of Remembrance in Dublin, Ireland.



Sounds like a good idea …

… Taking a Social Media-Free Day | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

I don't do social media.

A good list …

… Books that made me | About Last Night. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Another school to skip …

 I Was Protested At Bard College For Being A Jew – The Forward.
I’m surprised they didn’t desecrate Hannah Arendt’s grave. She’s buried there.

What courage looks like …

… Eye of the Beholder — Alice Mattison reckons with the impacts of macular degeneration …  (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
I still visit museums, but carefully. At the Met a few months ago, my husband and I chose exhibits of three-dimensional art (Korean ceramics, African sculpture) and abstract art. But I knew he wanted to see the seventeenth-century Dutch masters—his old favorites, too. When we were almost out of time, I suggested we look at them briefly. We climbed the big staircase. Once more I stood before Rembrandt’s self-portrait from 1660. Now his round sober face, staring out of a dark background, had a blur where his left eye should have been, as if the painting were damaged.

I cried on the coat check line. This was different from not seeing a small pitcher on a shelf at home. The museum had taken care that the Rembrandt self-portrait wasn’t mottled by uneven lighting or partly hidden by a piece of furniture; it wasn’t at just the wrong spot near a window. The gap I saw, the vaguely gray splotch where his left eye should have been, was obscene, a violation, an enormity.

Hmm …

… Dark Age Americans Use What Their Ancestors Built and Cant' Replace It.

Our ancestors were builders and pioneers and mostly fearless. We are regulators, auditors, bureaucrats, adjudicators, censors, critics, plaintiffs, defendants, social media junkies and thin-skinned scolds. A distant generation created; we mostly delay, idle and gripe.

In case you wondered …

… How Rednecks Saved Hollywood.
Well, it seems that back in the 16th century, in the lowlands of Scotland, John Knox founded the Presbyterian Church of Scotland and...

The gift of life …

… RT’s Reviews & Marginalia : Before the beginning.

Appreciation …

… A Nobel for Olga Tokarczuk – Poland’s leading novelist! | The Book Haven.

Hmm …

… How the internet is changing language as we know it (ikr lol) | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… it shouldn’t be so surprising that young women are among the most adept users of internet English. It’s a truism in sociolinguistics that young women are usually on the bleeding edge of changes to language – native speakers of the avant garde. McCulloch cites one study of letters written between 1417 and 1681 that shows it was female correspondents who were the first to adopt new words such as “does”, “has” and “makes” and phase out “doth” “hath” and “maketh”. Likewise, uptalking – where every sentence sounds like a question – originated in suburban California in the 1970s, and can now be heard among middle-aged English males. Still, fears that formal language is about to undergo some radical shift are misplaced. As McCulloch demonstrates, most of the innovations in internet English mimic features that come naturally in informal speech – emoji represent gestures; upper and lower cases represent tones; punctuation represents emphasis. Full internet people are perfectly capable of writing in full sentences when the situation demands. 
I, of course, have to look up a lot of the abbreviations commonly used on the internet. Oh, well. I’m old.

Indeed …

… The passive-aggressive pontificate continues—and the Synod approaches – Catholic World Report.

… while Francis makes distinctions between good and bad critics, he and his closest collaborators (not to mention his defenders on Twitter, who are equal parts passive and aggressive) rarely, if ever, really address or consider good criticism in a mature, pastoral manner. In many cases they misrepresent it or attack those who put it forward in good faith. Put another way, Francis and company make it quite clear, in the end, that any and all criticism is motivated by some irrational, ideological, political, and unCatholic hatred of Francis. They would rather stonewall, deflect, and even insult rather than actually dialogue. If I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it several dozen times.

Sanctity and literature …

… Newman as Novelist | Commonweal Magazine. (Hat tip Dave Lull.)

To be clear, Newman is not the first person, canonized or beatified, to have published a work of long narrative fiction. St. Thomas More, for example, wrote the social and political satire Utopia (1516). But that book, while fictional, is not exactly a novel. What distinguishes the modern novel from its many premodern precursors is its realistic representation of social life. Some argue that the Blessed Ramon Llull may have actually written the very first novel sometime around the year 1283. Llull’s story of a fictional pope, Blanquerna, would make the Catalan mystic the first blessed novelist, but Llull has yet to be canonized. And while St. Francis de Sales serves as the patron saint of writers and journalists, all his published work falls within the category of the Catholic devotional.

Something to think on …

There's only one way to improve society. Present it with a single improved unit: yourself.
— Albert Jay Nock, born on this date in 1870

Saturday, October 12, 2019

RIP …

… Robert Forster Dead: Resurgent Oscar Nominee From 'Jackie Brown' Was 78 | Hollywood Reporter.

Consummate craftsman …

… Celebrating Elmore Leonard's "Rules for Writing" | CrimeReads. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Leonard’s 10 rules have become so iconic, it’s sometimes easy to forget that he carried on for many good years discussing other nuances of literature and craft. Together, his critical analyses made up a kind of treasure map for writers of the future.

May he shut up …

… Papal Pap - Taki's Magazine - Taki's Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

 Here I offer an interpretation of the Pope’s attack on adjectives and adverbs, though like all such interpretations, it is quite possibly wrong, and I apologize in advance if it is. The Pope must speak; he cannot remain silent. We have already had enough from him about the iniquities of poverty, famine, war, inequality, injustice, and so forth; he was in danger of turning into an ecclesiastical Greta Thunberg. Like a newspaper columnist—here I admit that I might be in danger of being hoist with my own petard—he had to find something new to say to avoid becoming a bore. Moreover, he needed a target that would have no defenders; as far as one knows, there is no fanatical Adjectives’ Defense League waiting to leap to violent attack on those who disrespect adjectives.

FYI …

… RT’s Reviews & Marginalia : Cozy Mystery News — October.

What a lousy thing to do to someone …

… ‘I believed it’: John Banville was told he won 2019 Nobel Prize in hoax call. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Sean before James …

… Paul Davis On Crime: My Crime Beat Column: A Look Back At Pre-Bond Sean Connery In 'The Frightened City'.

Insects' farewell …

… Zealotry of Guerin: Procession of the Autumn Insects (Matsumura Keibun), Sonnet #479.

Come one, come all …

 ‘Heaven in Ordinary’ and a book launch invitation! | Malcolm Guite. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



I just preordered the book.

Lost and found …

… The Clerk’s Forgotten Tale: Tolkien’s Lost Chaucer - Interesting Literature. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

If all of these details make Tolkien’s Lost Chaucer sound as much like a biography as a work of literary criticism, it’s because Bowers deftly manages to balance both aspects of this fascinating story. He’s very good on Tolkien’s annotations, but avoids these becoming too dry – too much in the spirit of some of Tolkien’s own scholarly notes – by linking the significance of these back to Tolkien’s broader life and work.

Aimez-vous Brahms?

… Blackburn | Hyped on Melancholy. (Hat tip, Virginia Kerr.)

As memory condenses timeline, I elide the months between lectures on medieval and romantic periods. I remember my music history professor telling us his own music history professor habitually mispronounced organum as orgasm. I also remember him saying that most people can’t appreciate Brahms until their thirties. Then time slows down again. I can close my eyes and return to the moment my professor stoops to punch play on the classroom stereo. The opening chords of Opus 10, No. 4 unfurl. The melody climbs then sighs and descends. I sit back at my desk and silently cry. I am seventeen and convinced by the time Arthur Rubinstein plays through measure four that I have an old soul.
Guess I must be also. I've loved Brahms all my life.

Something to think on …

And when night comes, and you look back over the day and see how fragmentary everything has been, and how much you planned that has gone undone, and all the reasons you have to be embarrassed and ashamed: just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God's hands and leave it with Him.
— Edith Stein, born on this date in 1891

Friday, October 11, 2019

in case you wondered …

… RT’s Reviews & Marginalia : Dorothy Sayers — how and why she should be read.

Blogging note …

I must be out and about, and very soon. Blogging will resume when I get back.

In case you wondered …

 Maverick Philosopher: Would Naturalism Make Life Easier?

The truth may be this. People who hold a naturalistic view and deny any purpose beyond the purposes that we individually and collectively project, and yet experience their lives as meaningful and purposeful, may simply not appreciate the practical consequences of their own theory. It may be that they have not existentially appropriated or properly internalized their theory. They don't appreciate that their doctrine implies that their lives are objectively meaningless, that their moral seriousness is misguided, that their values are without backing.  They are running on the fumes of a moral tradition whose theoretical underpinning they have rejected.

Watch and listen …

… Replay: Stéphane Grappelli and George Shearing play “Sweet Georgia Brown” | About Last Night.

Mark thy calendar …

… Events - Kennett Flash : Kennett Flash.



… more here: The Minnesota Chronicles, The Gustafer Yellowgold Story: Volume 2.

Free speech …

… Overcoming Bias : Let Foreigners Speak. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Let the listener beware. Don’t believe everything you hear, and if you don’t like what others say, then by all means criticize it. But don’t outlaw it. Or require people to say the opposite. We just shouldn’t consider it treason or espionage to encourage foreigners to influence domestic elections by talking. 

Something to think on …

The grandeur of man lies in song, not in thought.
— François Mauriac, born on this date in 1885

Good to know …

… Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: Alive and Well � | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

Each breath, a critical form of life maintenance; each decision, a link to all the other pieces we must try to understand. Perseverance, patience, and the ability to confront obstacles within by not succumbing to the wild, ever-changing cultural winds are how we unravel the secrets of the universe.

A truly great man …

… John Henry Newman the Poet. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

“Newman was more serious about it than many young men because he shared the sentiments of the Romantic poets who connected poetry to spiritual depth greater than what he was seeing, in his youth, in the state-sponsored church,” Ward said. “He wanted religion to be something more than a government job, and Romantic poetry’s attention to deep personal experience was important to him.”

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Oops …

… Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Humor: Email From A Hotel Computer.

Should you need them …

… 6 Tips for Artists Dealing with Creative Burnout - Artsy. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)



Can’t say I’ve ever experienced burnout. But then, I’m not an artist.

Shock of recognition …

… The Writer's Almanac for Wednesday, October 9, 2019 | Garrison Keillor. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

The Last WASP in Primetime | The American Conservative

… The Last WASP in Primetime | The American Conservative.

Herbert Stempel’s struggle with Charles Van Doren is far more complicated than it seemed to Twenty-One’s viewers in the fall of 1956. Stempel wasn’t the poor Brooklyn boy surviving on his wits and merits alone, and his federal champions weren’t pursuing truth and justice but self-vindication. But neither was Van Doren the stuffy WASP that Stempel disliked and audiences adored. And crucially, contrary to appearances, neither was Van Doren truly the person in power. As Goodwin recognized, the congressional hearings absolved (or ignored) corporate powers-that-be and focused on attacking the apparently privileged WASP.


… The Ethics of a Movie on the Quiz Show Scandal.

Perhaps it doesn’t matter that Redford creates whole scenes from whole cloth, drastically alters the sequence of events, forever transforms my father and his associates into malign caricatures, offensive and unrecognizable. The man who, as a deputy district attorney, really investigated “Twenty-One” has told the New York Times that this film is a “tawdry hoax” and that much of its portrayal of Dan Enright--bribing the court to suppress evidence, tricking a contestant into rigging--is wholly fictitious. Yet apparently, as a media-certified public moralist, Redford qualifies for an unrestricted dramatic license.

Are we starting to like apple et al less?

… Apple, Google, Basketball, and Chinese Dominance of American Culture | VodkaPundit.

Barely days after getting re-approved on Apple’s App Store, the Cupertino-based tech giant has caved to pressure from Beijing and removed the popular HKmap.live app, which protestors use to track (and avoid) police.

Anniversary …

… RT’s Reviews and Marginalia: George Armstrong Custer returns to West Point.

Listen in times 2 … …

… Episode 342 – Witold Rybczynski – The Virtual Memories Show.

“What Charleston did in the Colonial period with single houses, they basically just kept repeating it all these years.”


Episode 343 – Kate Lacour.

“Attraction/repulsion is a big response that people have expressed about my work, whether they like it or not. I like that feeling when I experience it, like when something’s gorgeous but has an air of foulness to it.”

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

And the winners are …

… the Literary Saloon at the complete review - 1 - 10 October 2019 Archive. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)


Contemporary journalism …

… Illegal Alien? What’s That? | Power Line.

 You do not advance a cause by employing falsehoods. Journalism advances causes best by clear and accurate reporting, which is hard work.

Hmm …

… Opinion: The latest flip-flop on red meat uses best science in place of best guesses - Los Angeles Times.

…  many of the nation’s official nutrition recommendations — including the idea that red meat is a killer — have been based on a type of weak science that experts have unfortunately become accustomed to relying upon. Now that iffy science is being questioned. At stake are deeply entrenched ideas about healthy eating and trustworthy nutrition guidelines, and with many scientists invested professionally, and even financially, in the status quo, the fight over the science won’t be pretty.
I happen to be a pretty good vegetarian cook, but I like meat, too.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Terrifying …

… Haunted House For Progressives Just Normal Conservative Man's Home Containing Bibles, Guns, And A Copy Of The Constitution | The Babylon Bee.

 "I can't look!" screamed one progressive as he opened one door and saw a hunting rifle. "Ahhhhh!!!" He ran from the house screaming, taking shelter in a nearby yoga studio.

Well, they are certainly interesting …

 5 Stunning Jericho Brown Poems to Read Today | Book Riot. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Watch and listen …

… Watch: Oklahoman and U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo talks about listening, the path of a poet, infant memories and more on Oprah Winfrey's 'SuperSoul Sunday'. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

No place like home …

 I am a part of Batavia, New York | Spectator USA. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Genuine diversity, that formerly useful word that has been drained of all meaning, exists at the human scale but is a grotesque parody on a larger stage. It has ever been so: there was an infinitely greater diversity of thought in a 1912 meeting of the Burdett, Kansas, chapter of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union than there is today in the entirety of the Manhattan and Brooklyn art scene.

Check this out …

… Snapshot: Frederick Ashton rehearses Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev | About Last Night.

How we got where we are …

… Steps from God. . .to the Religion of the Self - The Catholic Thing. (Hat tip, Rich Lloret.)

When American constitutional law imagined a secular America, it was only a matter of time before religion would become an individualized, non-cognitive enterprise. Then religious liberty would inevitably collapse into a freedom to manifest one’s personal identity, including (for many) an idiosyncratic spiritual brand.

The everlasting dialogue

… RT’s Reviews and Marginalia: You and I.

Mark thy calendar …

Moonstone Press just released the poetry chapbook, Violence – In My City. The chapbook captures moments in time as the numbness of daily violence seeps into every neighborhood of the city. Violence -- In My City is a call to words and action to turn back the tide of violence. The chapbook is available here: https://squareup.com/store/moonstone-arts-center/item/violence-in-my-city-g-emil-reutter

A reading from Violence – In My City will be held on October 9th @ 7 p.m. at Fergie’s Pub, 1214 Sansom Street, Philadelphia. Lend your voice or support to this noble cause. In these harsh times when there is a numbness or indifference in reaction to the daily violence in our city that poet’s voices are needed to restore normalcy, that this is not acceptable. Non poets come and share how the daily violence has affected your lives and family. Let your voice be heard. Copies of Violence – In My City will be available. Poets Gloria Nixon-John, Frederick Lowe and Erin Castaldi will be reading from their recently released chapbooks published by Moonstone Press.

Hmm …

… Edward Snowden's true permanent record - Washington Times.
 The report further states that before Mr. Snowden began his mass downloads, he was reprimanded for engaging in workplace disputes with NSA managers and was repeatedly counseled about his behavior at work. This evidence points to his motivation as an ego-driven, disgruntled worker rather than a principled whistleblower. And the report flat-out states that Mr. Snowden was not a whistleblower, as by law, publicly revealing classified information does not qualify someone as a whistleblower.

Unfortunately, no …

 The American Scholar: You Must Be Joking — Thomas Chatterton Williams. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A work of art does not have to be overtly political so as not to be shallow.
Moreover, overtly political art tends to have a built-in expiration date.

On the cusp of sainthood …

… Siris: 'Tis the Old History. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In case you're wondering …

… Who Will Win the 2019 (or the 2018!) Nobel Prize in Literature? | The New Republic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

Information is not culture. In the mind of a truly educated person, facts are organized, and they make up a living world in the image of the world of reality.
— André Maurois, who died on this date in 1967

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Grim …

… He was so popular in Polish films he got an American film contract. Then… | The Book Haven.

Together at last …

… Mr. Armstrong, meet Mr. Shaw | About Last Night.

That’s right, Don Juan in Hell. Believe it or not, Louis Armstrong owned a copy of the First Drama Quartette’s 1952 LP recording for Columbia of the “Don Juan in Hell” scene from Shaw’s Man and Superman,directed by Charles Laughton, acted by Laughton, Charles Boyer, Cedric Hardwicke, and Agnes Moorehead, and performed by them all across America. (You can read more about it by going here.) I can’t tell you how often he listened to it or what he thought of it, but he definitely owned it, which might just be my all-time favorite piece of Armstrong trivia. Nor would I be entirely surprised to learn that he loved it, for Satchmo contained multitudes.

A companion for our times …

… A Bundle of Hopes and Hungers. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

 Augustine realizes that even his own self-conception and identity is contingent on the testimony of others. Augustine notes that since he has no memory of his mother’s womb or the earliest years of his infancy, he cannot know who his own parents are without some degree of faith. This realization—that faith is the bedrock of any meaningful knowledge—helps open Augustine toward belief. But more importantly, it allows Augustine to surrender himself to the loving influence of people like Ambrose the bishop without the radical skepticism that inhibited his reasoning. In his commentary on Augustine’s epistemic journey toward faith, Smith explains that “there is a relationality to plausibility. Illumination depends on trust; enlightenment is communal.” Smith thus connects Augustine’s maxim of “I believe in order to understand” to his equally important maxim that “I love in order to know.” There is a stunning degree of contingency in all of this. Smith holds up Augustine’s life as a narrative of radical dependency, first and foremost on the grace of God, standing over and against what he calls “an epistemic Pelagianism” that pictures salvation as the product of our human will and intellect.

Another endangered species …

… Streets With Nooks and Crannies Are Beloved and Endangered | The American Conservative. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Why are nooks and crannies no longer produced? One reason is that their value is not understood, and in any case no longer taught as part of place-making. But their absence is also a result of the prevailing styles—which are not so much styles as the avoidance of style, and which leave no room for the accidental, the decorative, and the fantastic. Gothic architecture, Sir John Summerson once argued, was a kind of generalization of the ‘aedicule’—the little building of pitched roof and upright walls, which was accumulated cell upon cell to form the great organism of the medieval cathedral. The nook and the cranny were the essence of the style, the units of meaning which were picked up and spread by the architect across the whole façade. 

A vintage appreciation …

… RT’s Reviews and Marginalia: The Solitude of Nathaniel Hawthorne.

… far more characteristic in its weird intensity and philosophic symbolism is the story of “The Minister's Black Veil”. No one who has read them has ever forgotten the dying man's fateful words: “Why do you tremble at me alone ? Tremble also at each other! Have men avoided me, and women shown no pity, and children screamed and fled, only for my black veil? What, but the mystery which it obscurely typifies, has made this piece of crape so awful? When the friend shows his inmost heart to his friend, the lover to his best beloved; when man does not vainly shrink from the eye of his Creator, loathsomely treasuring up the secret of his sin; then deem me a monster, for the symbol beneath which I have lived, and die I look around me, and, lo! on every visage a Black Veil!”

And th finalist are …

… The 2019 National Book Awards Finalists have been announced! (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

It's come to this …

… New Law Requires You To Listen To Greta Thunberg Lecture Before Purchasing Gasoline | The Babylon Bee.

 The law will not apply to celebrities purchasing jet fuel.

Something to think on …

A mystery is a problem that encroaches upon itself because the questioner becomes the object of the question. Getting to Mars is a problem. Falling in love is a mystery.
— Gabriel Marcel, who died on this date in 1973


We need a poet laureate to tell us this?

… The language of politics is 'shallow and threadbare', says poet laureate | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Not that I disagree, mind you.

Monday, October 07, 2019

Poor girl …

… Millennial Diagnosed With Tragic Inability To Even | The Babylon Bee.

Hmm …

… 'I've never told anyone': Stories of life in Indian boarding schools | MPR News. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

The story says that  “her parents were separated from their families and sent to federal government-run boarding schools as children.” But then it says that “they would pee their pants and then the nuns would take them out [of the closet] and beat them for peeing their pants.”
A federal government-run school employing nuns? (I was taught by nuns whose order forbade corporal punishment, but I certainly heard of nuns who sounded brutal.) But I do think this story could use some clarification.

This just in …

… Scoop on Wyeth Is That He Was A Fine Artist. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The importance of this remarkable show in Portland is that it demonstrates that Wyeth ultimately succeeded in creating fine art. The building of the studio in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, provided impetus for developing his artistic identity. In this exhibition, a large photo-mural of the interior of the studio gives a lively illusion of being in the Wyeth working space, which turns out to be a wiley way of drawing visitors into N. C.’s world, even if his first illustrations were of the West, cowboys, and horses, evocative of Remington.

Still provocative after all these years …

… Camille Paglia, Now More than Ever – American Greatness.

Paglia certainly did this in Sexual Personae, in which she brilliantly posited the theory that the Apollonian and Dionysian divide in man never really left us despite the cultural and chronological distance of ancient Greek myths. Men are still thrusting toward the need to conquer and women still nurture but also have an incredible power over men. These are tough pills to swallow in today’s society of identity politics in which the struggle to erase the differences between men and women is all consuming, but according to Paglia, we are still re-enacting the most primal archetypes of humanity.




Hear, hear …

… Street art is a crime - spiked. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Street art is an individual act that speaks of a chronic lack of consideration for anyone else. Its creators think they know best. They decide what, when and where. The people who live there, and must live with it, don’t have a say. There is no ‘demand’ for street art from ordinary people, and there is no consensual or participatory impulse on the part of the artist. It is only one person’s view of what should be and what is good for ordinary people. It is the act of an entitled, middle-class narcissist.

Time to smile …

… Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Humor: The Lawyer's Dog.

Where we are …

… First Known When Lost: Here.

Listen in …

… The Biblio File hosted by Nigel Beale: Christopher Lyons on Sir William Osler, Book Collector.

Christopher Lyons, is the head librarian of rare books and special collections at McGill University's McLennan Library. He was formerly in charge of McGill’s Osler Library which holds the collection of it’s founder, Sir William Osler (1849–1919). A major figure in modern medical history, Osler is "well known as a scientific researcher, a great medical pedagogue, a humanist, and an advocate for a patient-centered approach to medicine."

God’s mysterious ways …

The unique (and surprisingly spiritual) relationship between a dentist, a patient and one’s sense of self | America Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Together at last …

… RT’s Reviews and Marginalia: O’Connor, Scorsese, and Springsteen.

The Catholic connection between O’Connor and the other two is pretty casual. All were cradle Catholics. But O’Connor lived her faith. The other two not so much. But it is, after all, the National Catholic Register.

Maybe in place and on time …

… Elizabeth Bishop: out of place or out of time – Michael Hofmann. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

At Vassar, she was “the Bish”, had an early, nay, prophetic taste for tweed, was recorded in the 1930 yearbook as “Bishop of the barbarous hair”. There was something out of place or out of time about her, or both; attributable perhaps, partly, to spending her earliest years in Nova Scotia, and having three grandparents who were Canadian. A singer of hymns and a student of the harpsichord, her favourite poets George Herbert and Gerard Manley Hopkins and Baudelaire – was she more seventeenth-century, or nineteenth? A delayed Metaphysical or a fearless Victorian traveller in pelerine and hat and veil? 

Something to think on …

All intellectual tendencies are corrupted when they consort with power.
— Clive James, born on this date n 1939

Sunday, October 06, 2019

A must-read …

… The Dangerous Life of an Anthropologist - Quillette.



Scientific American has described the controversy as “Anthropology’s Darkest Hour,” and it raises troubling questions about the entire field. In 2013, Chagnon published his final book, Noble Savages: My Life Among Two Dangerous Tribes—The Yanomamö and the Anthropologists. Chagnon had long felt that anthropology was experiencing a schism more significant than any difference between research paradigms or schools of ethnography—a schism between those dedicated to the very science of mankind, anthropologists in the true sense of the word, and those opposed to science; either postmodernists vaguely defined, or activists disguised as scientists who seek to place indigenous advocacy above the pursuit of objective truth.

Sacred and profane …

… Fugue in October – MEASURE REVIEW.

God forbid we offend the tyrannical Chinese government …

… because, well, the money: Rockets GM Daryl Morey issues apology for controversial tweet about Hong Kong, will not be disciplined by the NBA - CBSSports.com.

What exactly is it, then?

 Merkel: Iran’s call to ‘wipe Israel off the map’ not antisemitic - World News - Jerusalem Post.

Well, maybe …

 Landmark poems of the last century | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



I suppose this is so if you think of poetry as social commentary. It can be that,  of course. But it can have higher aspirations, and it is those I prefer.

Some of the phrases in the Lorca commentary — "the tentacular influence of the Catholic church … the church’s myth of heaven" — certainly take a lot for granted. What's myth for you, honey, is faith for others, whether you like it or agree or not. And I think John Gray has pointed out that humanism hasn't turned out to be all it's been cracked up to be.

Shrewd judgments …

… Clive James: ‘The most overrated books almost all emerged from a single genre – magic realism’ | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Couldn’t agree more about magic realism.

Prophetic …

… ‘Global Days’ | The Russell Kirk Center. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

 Besides uttering these more targeted complaints about imperialism, Jones deemed it a manifestation of a technocratic ethic. He held that the industrial era was governed by “the utile,” which valorized functional efficiency at the expense of what he judged the defining human traits of “gratuitous” craftsmanship and sacrament, and devalued speculative wisdom. He cast imperial rulers as such Spenglerian fact-men, “concerned not with metaphysical conceptions but with the ordering of a protectorate,” who seek this goal through a single-minded pursuit of efficiency.

Screwing up the text …

Blunting the Straightforward Tenets of the Faith - The Catholic Thing. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Strange, that the Hebrew speakers who composed the Septuagint did not see it that way, nor did Saint Jerome.  The most we can say is that you might read it the way the editors do, but there is no call for it; the traditional reading is the literal one, rendering the plain sense of the text.  Why then would you not follow it?
Scholars, eh? The guys who put together the Septuagint were scholars, too. So was Jerome. Better scholars than these clowns, who are probably better described as credentialed — currently, the bane of all thought.
The point, moreover, is not to make it current, but to let us get at the mindset of people back then, to see and feel as they did.

RIP …

… Award-winning Belfast poet Ciarán Carson dies aged 70. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

A well-composed book is a magic carpet on which we are wafted to a world that we cannot enter in any other way.
— Caroline Gordon, born on this date in 1895

Saturday, October 05, 2019

1930s redux …

… Anti-Semitic hate crimes in NYC have risen significantly in 2019 | The Times of Israel.

Choices, choices …

… CDMF Reviews and Marginalia: Reading CDMF from my own five foot shelf.

How unfortunate …

… Pope Makes 13 Cardinals as He Molds a Future in His Likeness | Newsmax.com.

On the other hand …

 Free Speech Is Killing Us | The Babylon Bee.

The way were are …

… The death of civilised debate | The Spectator. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

If it has become impossible for men to talk about women then why try doing it? Why not just agree to whatever it is insisted that we have agreed upon since yesterday? If there are only negatives from raising an eyebrow at the latest LGBTQI claim, why not just keep those eyebrows absolutely still? If the cost of trying out ideas is this exponentially high, why risk it? And if the cost of maintaining a truth is greater than the ease of maintaining a lie, don’t be so sure that most people won’t be happy to help sustain a lie.

Thoughtfulness …

… A Man Found An Acorn On A Shopping Mall Floor. What Followed Was An Extraordinary Act Of Thoughtfulness (With An Even More Extraordinary Result) | Inc.com. (Hat tio, David Tothero.)

Something to think on …

Ideology is a specious way of relating to the world. It offers human beings the illusion of an identity, of dignity, and of morality while making it easier for them to part with them.
— Václav Havel, born on this date in 1936

Friday, October 04, 2019

A serious journalist …

… John Ramos ramps up his edgy journalism with Duluth Monitor - Perfect Duluth Day. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Ramos said he started the website to have more creative license and control over his writing, and because he noticed he was finding stories before other news outlets “without even trying.” While attending the meetings of various boards and commissions, Ramos said he often found he was the only reporter in the room.
“I was going to meetings that they weren’t going to,” Ramos said. “If there’s all these meetings that nobody goes to, that’s almost like an untapped resource for a journalist.”

In brief …

… The Latin Epigram: Brevity, Levity, and Grief - Los Angeles Review of Books.

Michael Wolfe is a poet, novelist, essayist, film producer, and classically trained independent scholar. He’s published translations of an extensive array of ancient Greek tombstone epitaphs in a well-received volume titled Cut These Words into My Stone (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013). His selection begins with very early epitaphs, found on gravestones and artifacts as far back as 600 BCE, and then proceeds through the Greek Anthology, where etched epitaph segues into poetic epigram around the late fourth century BCE.

In brief …

… The Latin Epigram: Brevity, Levity, and Grief - Los Angeles Review of Books.

Michael Wolfe is a poet, novelist, essayist, film producer, and classically trained independent scholar. He’s published translations of an extensive array of ancient Greek tombstone epitaphs in a well-received volume titled Cut These Words into My Stone (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013). His selection begins with very early epitaphs, found on gravestones and artifacts as far back as 600 BCE, and then proceeds through the Greek Anthology, where etched epitaph segues into poetic epigram around the late fourth century BCE.

RIP …

… Diahann Carroll Dead: Pioneering Actress on 'Julia' and 'Dynasty' Was 84 | Hollywood Reporter.

The Bee in Snopes’s bonnet …

… The Babylon Bee Satirizes the Absurdities of American Politics – Reason.com.

The only thing Snopes has done is prove that it’s a humorless shill.

Thank God …

… All Democrats Drop Out Of Presidential Race Since The World Is Ending From Climate Change And There's No Point | The Babylon Bee.

I sure hope Snopes fact checks this. Because, you know, Snopes.