Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Blogging note …

I am shortly to take off to visit Debbie.
Will blog again when I can.

Hmm …

… Bruce Charlton's Notions: Review of Existential Criticism - selected book reviews by Colin Wilson. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In sum, we now know that existentialism leads nowhere …
Really? I still find Gabriel Marcel well worth reading.  And there's Kierkegaard and Berdyaev and Shestov. William Luipen's Existential Phenomenology, which was the text book for one of my philosophy courses in college, is an important work.

Paradoxical fusion of fantasies …

… Miscellaneous Musings:: Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician.

Appreciation …

… Palin on Terry Jones: 'We enjoyed life together'. (Hat tip, Tim Davis.)

RIP …

… Terry Jones: Monty Python star dies aged 77 - BBC News. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

And more …

… Miscellaneous Musings:: Yiddish in America.

Hmm …

 Miscellaneous Musings:: Isaac Bashevis Singer on the Particular Wonders of Writing in Yiddish.

Hmm …

… Back to the Land | George Scialabba. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

No amount of recycling, farming right, eating right, being neighborly, or being personally responsible in other ways will matter much if we don’t subsidize solar and wind power, raise mileage requirements, steeply tax carbon, drastically reduce plastic production, kill coal, and provide jobs for all those whom these measures would disemploy.


Love Is Its Own Justification: Wendell Berry and the Lure of Political Efficacy. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

When Scialabba writes that “cultivating our own gardens and learning the virtues we have forgotten will not suffice to save the world,” he is right. But the irony is that if his goal is to save the world, his own approach is also doomed to failure. No amount of political organizing will bring about salvation.

Something to think on …

A single grateful thought toward heaven is the most perfect prayer.
— Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, born on this date in 1729

Debut …

… Write Now Philly.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Blogging note…

I am taking off to visit Debbie. Blogging will resume when I have the time

So are we all …

… I Am In Need Of Music by Elizabeth Bishop - Famous poems, famous poets. - All Poetry. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Listen in …

… Episode 358 – Daniel Mendelsohn – The Virtual Memories Show.

“Achilles is a hero who is mesmerizing without being penetrable, whereas Odysseus I think I understand (perhaps hubristic to say that).”

In the workshop …

… Wordsworth: Caught in the Act of Making Poetry! | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

“In all forms of things/There is a mind,” he writes, as if sitting at Coleridge’s knee, a moment of recognition that what his friend had been telling him all year was true. 
This insight is also the ground of theism.

Time for a chuckle …

 Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Humor: Medical School Exam.

Some good, some not …

 Miscellaneous Musings:: 21 January has had its moments.

In case you wondered …

… What would Orwell have made of Trump? | Spectator USA. (Hat ti, Dave Lull.)

‘The average man is not directly interested in politics, and when he reads, he wants the current struggles of the world to be translated into a simple story about individuals…people worship power in the form in which they are able to understand it.’

Something to think on …

The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.
— George Orwell, who died on this date in 1950

Monday, January 20, 2020

Good intentions …

Miscellaneous Musings:: Reading (some of) the Western Canon.

In case you didn’t know …

… The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Was A Zionist - The Lid.

A man with a sense of humor …

… Virginia 2A: Black Guy Waving Trump Flag, 'I Am Governor Ralph Northam and I Am in Blackface Today' | VodkaPundit.

Where to look …

… Miscellaneous Musings:: Find clues in the Bible, Cervantes and Shakespeare.

Self-knowledge …

 Rembrandt's Late Self-Portraits - Poetry Archive. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Worrisome …

… AI and forgetting being human – Mark Vernon.

Stuart Russell does not pull his punches. The emergence of machines that are more intelligent than us should worry us, even if that is not likely to happen this century, such are the hurdles that the scientists face. The author also avoids unnecessary hype. Instead of evoking a future in which humans are born to flee fighting robots, he makes remarks such as this: “In the area of consciousness, we really do know nothing, so I’m going to say nothing. No one in AI is working on making machines conscious, nor would anyone know where to start.”

Appreciation …

… Remembering Roger Scruton: “how malleable human nature is, and how unlikely it is that truth will prevail.” | The Book Haven.

For today …

… Just because: Merv Griffin interviews Martin Luther King Jr. | About Last Night.

I knew a boy like that once, too …

… Miscellaneous Musings:: Remembering that boy at the branch library.

The penance of snow …

… After Epiphany: Side Street, by Maryann Corbett | Poeticous: poems, essays, and short stories. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



Dave knows all about this. Superior WI has had more of its share of snow already this season.

For your listening pleasure

Walter Piston was born on this date in 1896. The fourth movement, "Tango of the Merchant's Daughters," is especially lovely.

Something to think on …

One can't be angry when one looks at a penguin.
— John Ruskin, who died on this date in 1900

Hmm …

… This Scientist Says ‘Serious Atheist Thinkers’ Are Re-Thinking Strict Naturalism That Excludes God – HillFaith.

His latest case …

…. BOOK REVIEW: 'Many Rivers to Cross' - Washington Times.

Quite a character …

… It Had to Be Her | by Cathleen Schine | The New York Review of Books.



Some contemporaries, like Elias Canetti, simply loathed her. Others, like Bruno Walter, were baffled by her vindictive nature. Alma Mahler certainly had her fans. Thomas Mann found her amusing even after she orchestrated an ugly feud between him and Arnold Schoenberg. Nevertheless, when Haste proposes a reassessment of Alma’s “legacy, to view her free from the screen of skepticism and the harshly judgmental tone of previous commentators on her life,” she has her work cut out for her.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

In case you wondered …

… Miscellaneous Musings:: Finding answers to life’s perplexing mysteries.

Imagine that …

… Miscellaneous Musings:: Winter in the south: Let it snow!

And another …

… Miscellaneous Musings:: Robert E. Lee’s Birthday.

Anniversary …

 Miscellaneous Musings:: Poe’s Birthday.

Listen in …

… AMERICAN THEATRE | Three on the Aisle: Not Throwing Away Their Aughts.

Patria …

… Roger Scruton: Conservative lodestar - UnHerd. (Hat tip, Rich Lloret.)

An old-new narrative is taking form in Conservatism, combining culture, place and community, with the particularly British spirit of enterprise and invention. Both halves of this combination resist a stifling central state, and the totalitarian impulse of the woke agenda; whether you want to live in a village or to start a tech business — or both, for doing both these things is now possible — you want economic and intellectual freedom, and you want to feel part of a tradition or a community that is bigger than you. This combination of freedom and belonging is the English inheritance Scruton explains to us; it is the inheritance we need for the future.

Hmm …

… Sex Abuse Crisis in Amish Country. (Hat tip, David Tothero.)

Over the past year, I’ve interviewed nearly three dozen Amish people, in addition to law enforcement, judges, attorneys, outreach workers, and scholars. I’ve learned that sexual abuse in their communities is an open secret spanning generations. Victims told me stories of inappropriate touching, groping, fondling, exposure to genitals, digital penetration, coerced oral sex, anal sex, and rape, all at the hands of their own family members, neighbors, and church leaders.

Anniversary …

… Miscellaneous Musings:: President John Tyler’s Death.

Something to think on

No government knows any limits to its power except the endurance of the people.
— Lysander Spooner, born on this date in 1808

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Something to think on …

The Christian religion asks us to put our trust not in ideas, and certainly not in ideologies, but in a God Who was vulnerable enough to become human and die, and Who desires to be present to us in our ordinary circumstances.
— Kathleen Norris, who died on this date in 1966

Roundup …

… Ten poetry books that illuminate a decade’s struggles – People's World. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Appreciation …

… An Illuminated Mind | Chapter 16. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)



Oblivion Banjo surveys the long career of poet Charles Wright.

Another bad idea …

… Proposed Book Banning Bill in Missouri Could Imprison Librarians - PEN America. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Domestic chaos …

… Letters Are Not Life by Declan Ryan | Poetry Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

On The Dolphin Letters, 1970–1979: Elizabeth Hardwick, Robert Lowell, and Their Circle, edited by Saskia Hamilton.

In English at last …

… The American Scholar: Revolutionary Chaos. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



The first-ever English translation of a 20th-century Russian masterpiece



Heavily indebted to Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Solzhenitsyn (1918–2008) borrows a central insight of his great predecessor: war is far more chaotic, random, and contingent than its representation in historical narratives. Tolstoy described battle as no one had ever done before, showing soldiers moving blindly in fog with no idea what is going on and generals, unable to keep up with ever-changing situations, issuing orders that are impossible to execute. After the fact, however, historians construct a smooth story bearing little or no relation to reality. Solzhenitsyn makes the same point about revolution. “What happened … no one was sure, except for what was right in front of him.”

Fanciful indeed …

… Zealotry of Guerin: Fanciful Ink Drawing II (Franz Sedlacek), Sonnet #494.

In case you wondered …

… The Fine-Tuning Of The Universe Is Best Explained By God Or Chance? – HillFaith.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Blogging note …

I must be out and about most of today. Blogging will resume sometime later.

Something to think on …

What law, what reason can deny that gift so sweet, so natural that God has given a stream, a fish, a beast, a bird?
— Pedro Calderón de la Barca, born on this date in 1600

The problem of pain …

… [Memoir] The Cancer Chair, by Christian Wiman | Harper's Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I have right here on my cancer chair an essay that praises Job as a work of profound theology adorned with poetry, which is so spectacularly wrong I have not yet been able to finish it. As if the poetry were beside the point. The poetry is the point. When Job needs to scream his being to God, it’s poetry he turns to. When God finally answers, his voice is verse so overwhelming that Job is said to “see” it. The speech is a reprimand, yes, but God also allows that Job has spoken “the thing that is right.” It’s not obvious what God is referring to here. Job has said a lot of things. But the one thing that he’s truly hammered home is that cry of dereliction, destruction, and profane (yet not faithless) rage. Whether Job has torn a rift in the relation of man and God, or simply pointed out one that was always there, it now can never be altogether repaired or ignored. The destruction, though, is also a resurrection. God’s being, which extends from the center of the atom to the burning edge of the universe and beyond beyond, is what Job must accept. But Job’s being, and the rage that now ramifies through the centuries (“I will wreak that hate upon him”), is part of that creation and thus a part of what God must accept. Jack Miles points out that in the Hebrew Bible this speech of God’s is the last word God utters. God hasn’t silenced Job. Job has silenced God.

Murder and technology …

… Perfect Murders: Studies in Detection: Thunderstruck (2006).

Concentration and dispersal …

 Robert Hass’s new poems: “part haiku, part road trip” – and a chance to meet him in Berkeley next Wednesday, Jan. 22! | The Book Haven.

Substantial being …

… First Known When Lost: Rocks And Stones.

I am aware that there are those who have no time for these sorts of passages in Wordsworth.  I am not out to convince anyone to change their opinion.  As for me, passages such as this are what keep me coming back to Wordsworth's long narrative poems.  I confess that I avoided the poems for years.  And I will not deny that they can at times be prolix and tedious.  But then I arrive at lines like these, and the effort is rewarded.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

RIP …

 Christopher Tolkien dead: Son of Lord of the Rings author JRR dies aged 95 - Mirror Online. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

RIP …

… Betty Pat Gatliff, 89, Whose Forensic Art Solved Crimes, Dies - The New York Times. (Hat tip, Tim Davis.)

Quite a life …

… The Chinese artist who drew Disney’s Bambi: a look at the life of the immigrant behind the illustrations | South China Morning Post. (Hat tip, Tim Davis.)

In case you wondered …

… How Many Words Are There in the English Language? (Hat tip, Tim Davis.)

Watch and listen …

(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Distinctions …

… In a Word: Martial and Marshal | The Saturday Evening Post. (Hat tip, Tim Davis.)

Something to think on …

It is my settled opinion, after some years as a political correspondent, that no one is attracted to a political career in the first place unless he is socially or emotionally crippled.
— Auberon Waugh, who died on this date in 2001

Oeuvres complètes …

… Vive Maigret! | January 11, 2020 - Air Mail. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

It’s bittersweet news for addicts, then, that Penguin’s complete Maigret reissues came to an end this week, with the appearance of the 75th and final book, 1972’s Maigret and Monsieur Charles. This series of new translations in stylish trade paperbacks has been publishing about a book a month since 2013, in roughly the same order as the novels’ original publication. The new Penguin editions have sold more than one million copies worldwide, proving that almost half a century after his final adventure, the detective’s allure hasn’t faded.

Little masterpieces

… Nigeness: Landor Miniatures. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Murder and faith …

… Perfect Murders: Studies in Detection: Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger (2013).

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Tracking the decline …

… Instapundit — Blog Archive— HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: University refuses to let Antifa critic speak because Antifa has us…

Maybe …

… Only English Majors Will Know These Words from the Thesaurus | Reader's Digest. (Hat tip, Tim Davis.)

What have the days amounted to?

… Writers of Faith: Flannery O'Connor and others: The Short Day Dying by Peter Hobbs (2006).

Q&A …

… The American Scholar: Why Book Reviewing Isn’t Going Anywhere — Scott Nover. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I think that reviewing mean to write an accurate and precise account of one's reading experience.

Mark thy calendar …

In these first days of 2020, POETRY IN COMMON thinks it is a good idea
to read poems on Peace:

You Are Invited

To Read for 5 Minutes,

Poems on Peace as you see it,

Original Work and/or Work by another poet




Tuesday, January 21, 2020, 6-7:30 PM

Sign up in Advance: gontarek9@earthlink.net


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

PRESENT:


PEACE


Hosted by LEONARD GONTAREK



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




We Lived Happily During the War         Ilya Kaminsky



And when they bombed other people’s houses, we

protested
but not enough, we opposed them but not

enough. I was
in my bed, around my bed America

was falling: invisible house by invisible house by invisible house.

I took a chair outside and watched the sun.

In the sixth month
of a disastrous reign in the house of money

in the street of money in the city of money in the
country of money,
our great country of money, we (forgive us)

lived happily during the war.

Time for a smile …

… Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Humor: Class Clown And The School's Group Photo.

Well, certainly one of the best …

… The Best Short Poem Ever: “Jenny kiss’d Me” by Leigh Hunt | Form in Formless Times. (Hat tip Dave Lull.)

I first became acquainted with this poem when I saw Eddie Albert recite it on TV.

January Poetry at North of Oxford …

… Two Poems by Mike Cohen.

… War of Elements by Akshaya Pawaskar.

… This Land is Full of Noises by Robert Nisbet.

… Perspective by Robbi Nester.

Something to think on …

For us the mountains had been a natural field of activity where, playing on the frontiers of life and death, we had found the freedom for which we were blindly groping and which was as necessary to us as bread.
— Maurice Herzog, born on this date in 1919

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Listen in …

 Episode 357 – Walter Bernard – The Virtual Memories Show.

“Magazines are not done by one person. They get better with all these ideas and collaborations.”

In case you wondered?

 Paul Davis On Crime: Was Hemingway A Soviet Spy?: My Washington Times 'On Crime' Column On Ernest Hemingway.

Something to think on …

An ignorant person is, by the very fact of his or her ignorance, a very dangerous person.
— Hendrik Willem van Loon, born on this date in 1882

Really?

… All modern art is quite useless | Spectator USA. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The phrase “modern art” covers a lot of ground, and does not mean the same as “contemporary art.” The only composer mentioned herein is John Cage, who died nearly three decades ago. Has the author ever listened to Ned Rorem’s music? Ned is still with us at 96, and his music is both modern and beautiful. Case in point:

Blogging note …

Debbie took a bad fall yesterday and spent the night in the hospital for observation. Blogging will take a back seat in the meantime.

Monday, January 13, 2020

In case you wondered …

… Care About Australia’s Wildlife: Please Don’t Give Money To PETA.

Well, if we begin to take a look at PETA’s Australia chapter, we can imagine why they are not first in line to help those poor koalas and kangaroos we keep hearing about on the news. For example, PETA’s Australia chapter received over $49 million in contributions in 2019, but only less than 1 percent went into actually helping troubled animals. The rest of the money, in true PETA fashion, was used on advertising, public disturbances, paying off celebrity spokespersons, and lobbying politicians and businesses into getting what they want and they want one thing, and one thing only-total animal “liberations”. This would mean no zoos, no aquariums, no responsible meat, or dairy consumption, no pets, no wildlife conservation efforts that require rehabilitation or breeding programs, and no use of animals for therapeutic purposes. 

Hmm again …

… Cameras Show Animals Thriving in Fukushima's 'Uninhabitable' Radioactive Zone.

Hmm …

… Hide The Decline: How Climate Change Data Was Faked | MissLiberty.com.

Anniversary …

… James Joyce dies - HISTORY. (Hat tip, Tim Davis.)

The struggle of faith …

… Kerouac’s Beatific Visions | Joshua Hren | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The Beats always impressed me — maybe because they came on the scene when I was in high school. The Hippies never. There never seemed to be any there there. 

Just as bad as the old kind …

… Walter Williams: The new racism | TribLIVE.com. (Hat tip, Tim Davis.)

 This is the new racism, much of it learned and taught at our nation’s colleges. George Orwell said, “Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.” The stupid ideas about inclusion and diversity originate with academics on college campuses. If their ideas didn’t infect the rest of society, they might be a source of entertainment. But these cancerous ideas have infected society. Statements such as “I’m over white men running the country,” or “If we have two old white guys at the top of this ticket, we will lose” are examples of that cancer.

Blogging note …

In a few minutes, I have to take Debbie to a doctor's appointment. Blogging will resume when I have the opportunity.

For your listening pleasure …

Vasily Kalinnikov was born on this date in 1866. This piece is lovely.

Appreciation …

… Edward Feser: Scruton’s virtues. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Modern intellectuals tend to be spoiled and ungracious creatures, whose inclination to bitch and moan seems only to increase the better things get, and who seem to occupy themselves concocting ever more recherché reasons for badmouthing their society and their forebears.  Scruton, by contrast, was a man who manifestly deeply loved and appreciated our Western cultural inheritance, for all its faults, and stood up for it the way a loyal son would stand up for his mother and father. 

Something to think on …

The Christian is like the ripening corn; the riper he grows the more lowly he bends his head.
— A. B. Guthrie, Jr., born on this date in 1901

Let us pray …

… The waiting game | About Last Night. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… Mrs. T is at the very top of the transplant priority list, but she needs a pair of lungs from a donor of short stature with A-positive or O-type blood, and such folk don’t come along every day, or even every month. The truth is that we haven’t gotten a single donor offer since last August, when we received two Big Calls in a row, each of which fell through a few hours later. Since then, our cellphones have yet to ring.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Time for a chuckle …

 Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Humor: U.S. Senator Gets Mugged.

RIP …

… Tory adviser and writer Sir Roger Scruton dies after cancer battle | Metro News. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Rather a mean-spirited obit. The Chinese government may well be trying to create robots out of their own people and I seriously doubt that his criticism, of the loathsome George Soros had anything to do with Soros being Jewish.

Q&A …

… Sarah Cortez: Cop, Poet, Catholic - Benedict XVI Institute. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

 I have seen things, or read them in reports, or seen crime-scene photographs that are some of the worst things that a human can do. Yet I am constantly called upon by the requirements of my job and my calling to believe the best I can believe in everybody. If I’m here to save your life as a police officer, I have to believe that your life is worth saving. But I also know that someone who looks exactly like you maybe she tortured her dog.
This is a must read. See also this

Tracking the decline …

… Opinion | The Academic Apocalypse - The New York Times. (Hat tip, Tim Davis.)

A thousand different forces are killing student interest in the humanities and cultural interest in high culture, and both preservation and recovery depend on more than just a belief in truth and beauty, a belief that “the best that has been thought and said” is not an empty phrase. But they depend at least on that belief, at least on the ideas that certain books and arts and forms are superior, transcendent, at least on the belief that students should learn to value these texts and forms before attempting their critical dissection.
I was fortunate to have had teachers who persuaded me an intimate acquaintance that art, music, and literature would enrich  my life. It certainly seems to have.

The comedy of decline …

… The Children Are in Charge | The Russell Kirk Center. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Johnston may have graduated when they still showed music on MTV, and he has never worked in higher education, but this sure-handed and entertaining satire not only has its fingers on the pulse of contemporary academe, it has taken its X-rays and done the lab work to see just what ails it. At the top, a burgeoning administration takes its cues from the corporate world, speaking its vocabulary and pursuing its aims. A super-wealthy (and non-taxpaying) institution focuses on expansion and “upgrading” its brand. The student body is comprised of a mix of grade-hungry achievers, boorish fraternity boys, academic status seekers, and others (“the silent majority”?), but a vocal and determined set of social justice warriors sets the tone. Indeed, the children seem to be in charge while the professoriate and administration is either on board with Social Justice culture or running scared of its warriors.

Then they came for your dog …

… Reality Check: Your Dog Is Terrible For The Environment | HuffPost.




Actress and photographer …

… Jessica Lange: Behind the Lens (in Duluth) - Perfect Duluth Day. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



Nice that still feels fondly about where she grew up.

Anniversary …

… Original “Amos ‘n’ Andy” debuts on Chicago radio - HISTORY. (Hat tip, Tim Davis.)

I remember loving the TV version. All the episodes of that seem to be available on YouTube

Master of brevity …

… Wild Geese – Brief Poems by Takaha Shugyo | Brief Poems. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

You look back and see how hard you worked and how poor you were, and how desperately anxious you were to succeed, and all you can remember is how happy you were.
— Jack London, born on this date in 1876

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Good for him …

 Professor sues U. New Mexico for suspending him after student blackmails him | The College Fix.

For your listening pleasure …

(Hat tip, David Tothero.)

A tiger like no other …

… Zealotry of Guerin: Knot Eye Tiger (Alice Bea Guerin), Sonnet #493.

An essential factor …

… Writers of Faith: Flannery O'Connor and others: Bridges and Faith.

A wonderful story …

… The Nation's Oldest Student | Chapter 16. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Have a look …

… Top Shots. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Some of the most compelling photographs from RFE/RL's coverage area and beyond for the second week of 2020.

Hmm …

… Record-challenging warmth to thaw wintry Northeast this weekend | AccuWeather.

Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., could come close to breaking 130-year-old temperature records this weekend. Saturday's record high in the Steel City stands at 68 from 1890 while Sunday's record in D.C. is 76 from the same year.
So, 130 years ago, a record was set that still stands. Wonder why people weren’t worried about that back then.

RIP …

… RIP Sylvia Jukes Morris: ‘Lady of Letters’ | The American Spectator. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
So soon after Edmund Morris’ death, the perfect couple is together again.

Remembering …

… Happy Birthday, Alexander Hamilton | The Sheila Variations.

On this day, in 1755, Alexander Hamilton was born in the British West Indies. He was illegitimate (as John Adams sneered: “the bastard brat of a Scotch pedlar”). His illegitimacy was a stain on his birth he strove to wipe away for the rest of his short life.

Something to think on …

There can be no doubt that a society rooted in the soil is more stable than one rooted in pavements.
— Aldo Leopold, born on this date in 1887

Heroes …

 Race of Aces’ Review: When Lightning Strikes - WSJ. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

At the time, America had never heard of Richard Bong, Gerald Johnson, Neel Kearby, Thomas Lynch, Charles MacDonald or Tommy McGuire. But within a year of Rickenbacker’s challenge, and with the race to become America’s new Ace of Aces updated almost daily in the newspapers and on the radio back home, theirs quickly became household names across the country.

See also Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center.

Friday, January 10, 2020

For your listening pleasure …

Frank Bridge was born on this date in 1879.

Time for a chuckle …

Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Humor: The Deer Hunter.

Blogging note …

I have much to do today that will take me away from my desk for the greater part of the day. So blogging will resume sometime later.

Two very smart dudes …


Bohm leads the first part of the conversation. He outlines the idea that “knowledge tends to get caught in grooves and compartments which become rather rigid” and so hinders further perceptions. “Insight is what dissolves these grooves and compartments and opens the way for reason and imagination to engage in fresh perception.”
 [Barfield] begins by remarking that there’s much that Bohm has said that he’s in agreement with and that the “redemption of education from its present state” is very much part of that.

It certainly is …

… Writers of Faith: Flannery O'Connor and others: Faith is a fine invention.

Art all about …

… Britain's buried treasures: Exquisite works of art are tucked away in tiny village churches | Daily Mail Online. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



England's greatest works of art are her parish churches, often dating back to medieval times, and without compare in any other country.

Something to think on …

Long live freedom and damn the ideologies.
— Robinson Jeffers, born on this date in 1887

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Hmm …

… The Real John Simon – Tablet Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



Perhaps the most telling thing in this piece is what Simon says about Bach: “It appears to me that Bach and Mozart … wrote predictable, mathematical music, limited in scope, not unlike a caged canary’s pleasant but anodyne chirping.” He must have somehow never heard the sarabande from Bach’s Cello Sonata No. 6 or the Agnus Dei from the Mass in B-Minor.” What he says is, if nothing else, astoundingly ignorant.

And the winner is …

…  The Petrona Award: The Petrona Award 2019 - Winner. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

RIP …

… Haunts of the Black Masseur author Charles Sprawson dies aged 78 | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Indeed …

… The gloriously unhinged progressive pushback against the Babylon Bee | Spectator USA. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

This is a website that says it was ‘created ex nihilo on the eighth day of the creation week, exactly 6,000 years ago’, boasts about its unrivaled coverage of the Tower of Babel, and advises readers: ‘If you would like to complain about something on our site, take it up with God.’ This may be the best MSM-does-God incident since Sam Brownback quoted Matthew 7:16 (‘Ye shall know them by their fruits’) in an interview with Rolling Stone and they condemned him for using a homophobic slur.

A wonderful poem …

… The American Scholar: “The Listeners” by Walter de La Mare. Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Changing times …

… Beard Bravado: 75% Of Men Feel More Confident With Facial Hair - Study Finds.

When I first grew one in 1964, people tended to look askance at me. Fortunately, lack of self-confidence has never been one of my shortcomings. 

Annoversary …

… Thomas Paine publishes "Common Sense" - HISTORY. (Hat tip, Tim Davis.)

Correcting Emerson …

… Laudator Temporis Acti: A Walk in the Woods.

Contemporary education…

 'No Zionists' and 'No Straights': Tweets From Teacher Rattle Elite New York City School.



Well, I guess the number of Zionists is comparatively small (though yu can count me among them, even though I am not Jewish), but there are an awful lot of straight people.

Tonight …

… Poetry Hoot set for Jan. 9 at Roundabout Diner - News - seacoastonline.com - Portsmouth, NH. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

My home town …

… City of Clubs by Clare Coffey. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

This is a pretty good assessment of the place as it is now. The town has changed a lot since I dropped in 78 years ago. I think she means the American Philosophical Society. not the American Theosophical Society (though there is a Theosophists Lodge, somewhere on Walnut Street, I think). I started life in North Philly, but grew up in Torresdale, which is as far northeast in the city as you can get. I lived in Germantown for 20 years and now I not only live in South Philly, I live right off the Italian Market. Here is a shot of it (taken by some one named Massimo Catarinella).

Anyway, I know the city very well, having actually walked all around it over the years.

Something to think on …

Either we learn to find the Lord in the ordinary everyday life or else we shall never find him.
— Josemaria Escriva, born on this date in 1902

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

RIP …

… Buck Henry Dies: ‘Graduate’ Writer, ‘Get Smart’ Co-Creator, ‘SNL’ Favorite Was 89 – Deadline.

Fighting back …

… CNN Attacks Babylon Bee: 'The Internet Is Only Big Enough For One Fake News Site' | The Babylon Bee.

Just in case anyone may think otherwise, this is a joke. 

Bad guys …

… Paul Davis On Crime: The Takedown Of Robert Hanssen, America's First Cyber Spy: My Q&A With Former Undercover FBI Operative Eric O' Neill.



… Homegrown Terrorists: My Counterterrorism Magazine Piece On The Threat Of Domestic Terrorism.

A most interesting inquiry …

… Writers of Faith: Flannery O'Connor and others: Why I will be blogging about Flannery O'Connor and other writers of faith.



For me, a writer of faith is one who explores the subject, not one who preaches about it. François Mauriac is a good example.

Still burning …

 “Centralia, PA” by Aaron Poochigian | Rattle: Poetry. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)





There are quite a few other coal fires burning in Pennsylvania. More than 200. They get mention in this review of mine.

Sounds intriguing …

… Writer's Southern roots inspire 'radical faith' element to her fiction. (Hat tip, Tim Davis.)

“All the novels are Catholic, but I wouldn’t say any of them teach a lesson; rather, they explore themes of faith, doubt and action, and they ask readers to join in that exploration,” Sayers said. 

I guess this is good news …

… Public Libraries Reach Record-High Ebook and Audiobook Usage in 2019 - Rakuten OverDrive. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Hmm …

… Commentary: John Simon, Clive James and the future of criticism - Los Angeles Times. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I almost stopped reading when I came to the palaver about white male privilege, but I soldiered on. "Criticism requires more humanity than connoisseurship." No, it requires both in proper measure. The role of a critic is to accurately and precisely describe his encounter  with what purports to be a work of art. And no, I will not apologize for using the pronoun "his." People from my generation and before understood that in this case it means human, not male.

Lovely …

… Talking All Night by Alfred Nicol | Articles | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

An odd pair …

 Sherlock Holmes (et al): The Beekeeper’s Apprentice.

In praise of spuds …

… Reflections on Chanukah and Latkes. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
 Benny, an Italian-American building manager, once told me that I should put a cold potato on my head for headaches. He said, “Put the potato in a refrigerator, cut the potato into pieces, and put them in a cloth around your head. It sucks the swelling right out.”
One of the folk remedies for fever when I was growing up putting a potato sliced in half lengthwise into your socks, putting them on before going to bed. I seem to recall it worked, but I was hardly a seasoned observer at the time.

Well, now: How to Use a Potato to Heal Your Entire Body (Including Detox, Fever, and Infections).
I’ve recently learned about a folk remedy for fever using potatoes. If you suffer from fever, all you need to do is put a slice of chilled raw potato at the bottom of your feet. Put it in your sock and leave for a 2-3 hours to break the fever.
While there is no scientific evidence to support it, a lot of people claim that it helps to reduce fever.

Something to think on …

There is only one world; the world pressing against you at this minute. There is only one minute in which you are alive; this minute here and now. The only way to live is by accepting each minute as an unrepeatable miracle.
— Storm Jameson, born on this date in 1891

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Listen in …

… Episode 356 – Emily Flake – The Virtual Memories Show.

My personal brand tracks so well with physical awkwardness.”

No kidding …

… CNN, Soleimani, & Babylon Bee -- Attacks on the Babylon Bee Are Attacks on Free Expression | National Review. (Hat tip, Tim Davis.)

But if you only believe in approved expression, what else can you do?

RIP …

… MC Beaton obituary | Crime fiction | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Tim Davis.)

Going to the source …

… A look back at former NYPD detective Frank Serpico - Washington Times.

“I don’t believe in the term ‘crooked cop,’ there is no such thing,” he said. “You are either a cop or you’re a crook. They are crooks in police uniforms. Some of these guys are cowards and hide behind the police shield and they call honest cops like me oddballs. Police corruption does not occur in a vacuum. It needs to be fertile ground for criminal-minded seedlings to take root. The myth that the department corrupts these innocent, civic-minded individuals is bogus. You must have larceny in your heart to begin with.”

Folkways …

… Christmas in Russia -- Christmas Around the World -- whychristmas?com. (Hat tip, Tim Davis.)

Good news …

 Putting down the reins | About Last Night.



Let us all continue to keep Mrs. T in our prayers.

Saints of the intellect …

… The Gift of the Magi. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… they had the intelligence to examine honestly the clues the world offered them. They had the wisdom to seek the truth for its own sake, whatever it might prove to be. These are believers in the mind, in other words, who undertook a great expedition because they trusted their thoughts, conjectures, and hypotheses—and refused to shake themselves back into the small thoughts of ordinary life.
And they didn't shape the evidence to fit an ideology.

For your listening pleasure …

Francis Poulenc was born on this date in 1899.

Background information …

… Sherlock Holmes on the Gulf Coast: Arthur Conan Doyle — facts on file.

Something to think on …

The faith that I love the best, says God, is hope.
— Charles Péguy, born on this date in 1873

Monday, January 06, 2020

The further decline of higher education …

… UMass Amherst Removed a Professor for Showing a Downfall Hitler Parody Video – Reason.com.



I think the students' video is pretty funny.

Quite a domicile …

… Sherlock Holmes on the Gulf Coast: Sherlock Holmes builds his dream home.

For the feast of the Epiphany …

… A Clerk of Oxford: 'So glorious a gleam, over dale and down'.

Good for him …

… Ricky Gervais: why I’ll never apologise for my jokes | The Spectator.

In the past, the fear of being misconstrued has led him to delete jokes on Twitter. These days he takes a different view. ‘What’s the point? Why should I expect everyone in the world to get my joke? That’s arrogant. I don’t want to go so low and obvious and anodyne that everyone gets it. Now I challenge people to tell me a joke that’s not offensive and I can find something offensive in it. “Why did the chicken cross the road?” Fuck you, my chicken died yesterday.’

Another ignorant professor …

… Rutgers student told not to quote Bible in essay because of 'separation of church and state'.



The student should quote instead from the Koran or the Upanishads and if no objection is raised by said professor appropriate action should be taken against her. Apparently, she managed to get an advanced degree without ever hearing that the King James Bible is a masterwork of English literature.

Also: Joyce and epiphany …

… Monopoly 1955 by Barbara Crooker | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor. (Hat tip, Tim Davis.)

Around the time Irish writer James Joyce (books by this author) was defecting from the Roman Catholic Church, he was investing secular meaning into the word "epiphany." In his early 20s, he drew up little sketches, sort of like "prose poems," in which he illustrated epiphanies. He explained to his brother Stanislaus that epiphanies were sort of "inadvertent revelations," and said they were "little errors and gestures — mere straws in the wind — by which people betrayed the very things they were most careful to conceal." He also wrote that the epiphany was the sudden "revelation of the whatness of a thing," the moment when "the soul of the commonest object ... seems to us radiant."
Methinks Joyce's  connection to the Church was more problematic than this suggests. He may have abandoned the faith., but he never lost his enthusiasm for Thomas Aquinas. He read a passage from the Summa in Latin every day.

May the God he doesn't believe in bless him anyway …

… Ricky Gervais gives Hollywood the thrashing it richly deserves | Spectator USA. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

‘If you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. If you win, thank your agent, thank your god, and fuck off.’
I for on e am thoroughly sick of sanctimonious asses whose only expertise (which is to say none) derives  from  their celebrity.

Have a look …


This is a watercolor by my stepdaughter, Gwen Hendry. She used it for her Christmas cards this year. I think it is wonderful.

Poet in a testy mood …

… Poem of the week: House by Robert Browning | Books | The Guardian.(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

A baby is God's opinion that life should go on.
— Carl Sandburg, born on this date in1878

Here’s a thought …

… In a Perfect World, We Would Ruin Everything | Brandywine Books.

No lie there …

… Werner Herzog: “Our civilization is suffering profound wounds because of the wholesale abandonment of reading.” | The Book Haven.

I keep saying to the Rogue Film School students that The Peregrine is a book that is the absolute must-read piece of literature, because that’s how a filmmaker should see things: in loneliness. He or she or it should see the world with an incredible amount of human pathos and enthusiasm and rapture.
He sees with ecstasy. He has such rapture, such enthusiasm, such passion. That’s the way a filmmaker should see the real world and people and everything around us — with an enormous amount of passion. But that’s not all. Anyone can have this passion, but he writes in a language, with a caliber of prose, that we have not seen since Joseph Conrad’s short stories. That’s why I find this a very, very decisive book for anyone who wants to make films. By the way, for anyone who is becoming a writer, you will have to read it, learn it. Learn the whole book by heart.

Q&A …

… Just because: “A Conversation With Tex Avery” | About Last Night.

Sunday, January 05, 2020

In case you wondered …

… The Surprising, Secret Role of Librarians in World War II | Time. (Hat tip, Tim Davis.)

The publishing scene …

… Quid plura? | “We’ve tried potions and waxen dolls, and none of us could find any cures…”

People who write and read are also, I’m finding, more put off by strange, skewed, and unsanctioned thoughts than they used to be.

Time for a chuckle …

… Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Humor: 911 Call.

FYI …

… House on the Edge of Town: & Other Stories: G Emil Reutter, Alien Buddha: 9781651393574: Amazon.com: Books.

Some favorites …

… The Paris Review – Arts and Culture News.

With a cameo (of sorts) by Jimmy Stewart …

… Nigeness: Outside Every Fat Man...

One Fat Englishman is also probably the only novel title to have been written on the ample flesh of its author: Amis's exasperated first wife wrote on his back as he lay torpid on a beach 'One Fat Englishman: I Fuck Anything' – and photographed her handiwork.

Wishes …

… My Obituary - Plume. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

FYI …

… 218 Lots | 2-27-20 Steinbeck Auction | Curated Estates. (Hat tip, Tim Davis.)

Curated Estates is proud to present the personal memorabilia of John and Elaine Steinbeck. John Steinbeck is one of America's greatest storytellers. His work has garnered him The Pulitzer Prize, The National Book Award and The Nobel Prize. Elaine Steinbeck was a tour de force in John's life accompanying him around the globe on travels. Elaine was notable in her own right as one of Broadway's first female stage managers. This auction goes through John's life from childhood to eighteen years of John and Elaine's marriage to Elaine's life after John's passing. These important objects an

Something to think on …

Poetry is not a matter of feelings, it is a matter of language. It is language which creates feelings.
-— Umberto Eco, born on this date in 1932

Saturday, January 04, 2020

The dumbest generation …

… Selective Service Website Crashes as Panicky Snowflakes Fear a New Draft | News and Politics.



We know there are questions on this…registering with Selective Service has been a longstanding requirement to receive federal student aid/a federal job. However, the U.S. military has been all-volunteer since 1973 & Congress would need to pass a new law to institute a draft.
1973. Nearly a half-century ago. Schools do a really good job informing their students regarding what's what.