Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Lovely …

… Farewell, Mrs. T | The American Conservative.

Here’s the thing: I have never met Terry, but have only known him through correspondence and text messaging over the years. And I never exchanged even that much communication with Mrs. T., as Terry called her. But to have been Terry’s reader on his blog and his Twitter feed was to have known this couple as if they were old friends. As Mrs. T.’s conditioned worsened over the past week, Terry let me and his readers know. I would fall asleep at night praying for her, and wake up praying for her. This says exactly nothing about my sanctity, and everything about how much I love these two people, whom I’ve never met.

Imagine that …

… China Concealed Extent of Virus Outbreak, U.S. Intelligence Says.

Some science …

… Estimates of the severity of coronavirus disease 2019: a model-based analysis - The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

 If I am reading this correctly, the overall fatality ratio seems to be 0·657%.

For these times …

… Beyond Eastrod : This is the Hour of Lead.

We have been warned …

… Teachers Urge Government To Reopen Schools Before Students Learn To Think For Themselves | The Babylon Bee.

April Poetry and Videos and The Lou McKee's at North of Oxford …

…  Getting to Philadelphia: New and Selected Poems by Thomas Devaney.

… Tricks of Light – New and Selected Poems by Thaddeus Rutkowski.

… The In(ter)vention of the Hay(na)ku – Selected Tercets 1996-2019 by Eileen R. Tabios.

… In Salem by Catherine Corman.

… I Have The Answer by Kelly Fordon.

… In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado.

… Poetry Videos to Get You Through April.

… The Lou McKee’s.

… Submissions are Open.

Appreciation …

… How G. E. M. Anscombe revolutionised 20th-century western philosophy | OUPblog. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Throughout her life, Anscombe was inspired by many philosophers, ancient and modern. Aristotle, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Thomas Aquinas were three key sources of inspiration. However, she created new and original work which revolutionised action theory and moral, religious and ethical philosophy.


This piece could have used some proofing. It's Literae Humaniores, not Literae Humanities. And I hardly think we need to be reminded that the late Aristotle was an ancient philosopher.

Something to think on …

I do not know any way to explain why God's grace touches a man who seems unworthy of it.
— Whittaker Chambers, born on this date in 1901

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Oh, my …

… how terribly, terribly sad: Hilary Teachout, R.I.P. | About Last Night. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



Let us keep Terry in our prayers. 

Hmm …

… LaurenceJarvikOnline: China, the World Health Organization, and Communism.



I have long been suspicious of WHO. The current situation has done nothing to change that.

Confinement need not be solitary …

… books are companions: Beyond Eastrod : A guide to distraction for those of us who need to think about something other than the apocalypse.



By the time I was in grade school, my mother, my grandmother, and my older brother, were already leaving the house early in the morning, the first two to their factories, my brother to high school. So I learned early how to get along by myself. I made my own breakfast and lunch, read lots (no kids books, though), wandered the woods that surrounded our house, watching birds, learning the names of trees and flowers. I had a grand time. And, as Oscar Wilde said, "to fall in love with oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance."

Writing poetry …

 The Joy Of Play: Every Writer Has A Thousand Faces (10th Anniversary Ed.) By David Biespiel - The Rumpus.net. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



I write mine in my head. I only write it down when it sounds right. In the case of longer poems, of course, that means in bits and pieces. Sort of like Wallace Stevens composing in his head as he walked home from the office. Poetry is better found outside than indoors.

Opportunists …

… Mountain goats take over Welsh town in coronavirus lockdown | Metro News.



They do look like solid citizens, though.

The power of light …

Beyond Eastrod : I’ll tell you how the sun rose —.

Something to think on…

Another reason I think the novel will survive is that the reader has to work in a novel. In a film, you are presented with someone else's imagination exactly bodied out. The marvelous thing about a novel is that every reader will imagine even the very simplest sentence slightly differently.
— John Fowles, born on this date in 1926

Monday, March 30, 2020

Keep on praying …

… Reason to believe | About Last Night. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Read and listen …

… The Writer's Almanac for Monday, March 30, 2020 | Garrison Keillor.

Just so you know …

 Hong Kong Police Arrest Opposition Politician Under Colonial-Era Law - WSJ.



But don't you dare criticize the Chinese government.

Hmm …

… Beyond Eastrod : Faith and microscopes.

I agree with Tim. The Freedom From Religion Foundation is certainly entitled to its lack of faith, but it shouldn’t appropriate Emily Dickinson, about whom it apparently know nothing, on behalf of its cause.

De gustibis non est disputandum …

… The Tin Cannoisseur: The Road back to normal life will be a long one... (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

If you haven't read The Road,  now probably isn't the best time. It's astonishing writing, certainly, but goodness me, it's bleak. "Emotionally shattering", "terrifying and beautiful", "a work of such terrible beauty that you will struggle to look away", said the critics.
Not this reviewer, however. I actually didn't review it. I wrote about it because my boss asked me to. It had just won the Pulitzer and the paperback of it had just come into my office. I was paging through it and making unflattering comments.  As it happens the review I ran — by whom I forget — was not favorable. Anyway here is the piece I wrote.


Listen in …

… The COVID-19 Sessions – The Virtual Memories Show.

They strike again …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Babylon Bee: Chick-Fil-A Temporarily Changes Slogan To 'Eat Fewer Bats'.

Roundup …

Make of these what you will. They come a wide variety of sources and seem to me worth considering.

… from The Atlantic: China Is Avoiding Blame by Trolling the World.
Beijing is successfully dodging culpability for its role in spreading the coronavirus.
… from The Guardian: Life after lockdown: has China really beaten coronavirus?
Residents and analysts doubt the near-zero transmission rate as restrictions are eased.
… from The Diplomat: Can China’s COVID-19 Statistics Be Trusted?
From GDP figures to coronavirus counts, China’s government has a long history of manipulating data for political gain.


Boris Johnson's government is furious with China and believes it could have 40 times the number of coronavirus cases it says.

The Comprehensive Timeline of China’s COVID-19 Lies.

Very interesting indeed …

… Dr. Vladimir Zelenko has now treated 699 coronavirus patients with 100% success using Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate, Zinc and Z-Pak [UPDATES] | Tech News | Startups News. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

FYI …

… New Liturgical Movement: Collecting Information about Live-Streamed Masses. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Staying alive …

… Coronavirus Diary: New York, March 28–29 | R. R. Reno | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I can see, now, the tragic point of a joke going around in Israel. It runs something like this: Your grandfathers faced down the Nazis. Your fathers stood against the Arabs in war after war, paved roads, and drained swamps. You’re being asked to sit on your butts and watch Netflix. Do you think you can do this without screwing up?

Something to think on …

While it is true that commercial art is always in danger of ending up as a prostitute, it is equally true that noncommercial art is always in danger of ending up as an old maid.
— Erwin Panofsky, born on this date in 1892

Sunday, March 29, 2020

For Sunday …

 Holy Eucharist March 29th 2020 - St Albans Episcopal Church.

Many happy returns …

… Ted Gioia on Twitter — Happy 80th birthday to Astrud Gilberto. (Hat tip, Dave Lull)

Anniversary and appreciation …

… Get Shorty at 30: Dennis Lehane on Elmore Leonard's Hollywood satire | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… I hung out with him twice, once in a bar in the midwest (a recovering alcoholic, he drank O’Doul’s with gusto), and the other time at a literary festival in a small town in Italy. Both times I was struck by what a dude he was. Cooler than almost anyone I’ve ever met. As cool as Chili Palmer, Raylan Givens, Ernest Stickley Jr or Vincent Mora – to name just a few of the laconic badasses who took centre stage at one time or another in his novels. The books were like the man – wry and observant, contemptuous of navel-gazing.
I met him twice, both times when introducing him at the Free Library. He was indeed as cool as anybody I have ever met.

Here is my review of Mr. Paradise. And here's a piece I wrote about him: Crime paid this writer, in dollars and honors.

Just so you know …

… Beyond Eastrod : Here and now will not matter in a hundred years.

Roundup …

… LITERATURE Letters from Latin America | Morning Star. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Lest we forget …

 Paul Davis On Crime: Vietnam War Veterans Day 2020.

Amen, brother …

… Obiter Scripta, no. 81 – A Sunday of Liberty. (Hat tip, Dave :Lull.)



We have certainly seen this demonstrated in recent days.

Words and music …

William Walton was born on this date in 1902.

One can only hope …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Bent Not Broken: Tested By Wars, Storms And Terrorists, America Always Survives.


Helpful hints …

… Making the most of isolation: Works of Mercy in an age of social distancing - Catholic Herald. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Our pastor has opened our church for private prayer. A friend and I went there this morning. Regarding this piece, as my Jesuit mentor used to say, it’s all about being good and kind, which sounds like something you would put into needlepoint, but in reality isn’t always that easy to do.

Growing wise …

 Nigeness: 'Where meaning has been found before'. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… being truly conservative, it is only 'a doctrine of a kind', not fully fledged dogma or ideology (true conservatism is the least political of political philosophies).

Singularity …

… First Known When Lost: Light.



Everything changes.  Every thing changes.  Nothing changes.

RIP …

… Influential composer Krzysztof Penderecki dies aged 86 | Music | The Guardian.

Good for them …

… Savannah’s Flannery O’Connor fans celebrate author’s birthday with online parade in spite of coronavirus - News - Savannah Morning News - Savannah, GA. (Hat tip, Tim Davis.)

What else is new?

… Corporate Socialism: The Government is Bailing Out Investors & Managers Not You. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

I look upon life as a gift from God. I did nothing to earn it. Now that the time is coming to give it back, I have no right to complain.
— Joyce Cary, who died on this date in 1957

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Be careful …

… Paul Davis On Crime: U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain Warns About Fraud Related To The Coronavirus Crisis And Provides Tips To The Public.

Bravo …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Real Superheroes During The COVID-19 Crisis.

Laughing in the dark …

… Laugh in the time of Corona: Favourite funny books.

See also: The 12 Funniest Exploration Books.

(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A golden age …

… Beyond Eastrod : American Bloomsbury Revisited.

Connections …

 [If every life is four-dimensional] —Justin Rigamonti | Zócalo Public Square. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Have a look …

… Top Shots: October 25, 2020 | National Review. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

On the bright side …

… Book sales surge as self-isolating readers buy ‘bucket list’ novels | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

The old-fashioned way …

… Say “No” to Death’s Dominion | R. R. Reno | First Things.

 … the mass shutdown of society to fight the spread of COVID-19 creates a perverse, even demonic atmosphere. Governor Cuomo and other officials insist that death’s power must rule our actions. Religious leaders have accepted this decree, suspending the proclamation of the gospel and the distribution of the Bread of Life. They signal by their actions that they, too, accept death’s dominion.
“A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once. It seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.”
 — W. Shakespeare 
 

Q&A …

… Tucker Carlson: ‘We aren’t very good at talking about death’ | Spectator USA. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
… what bothered me, what enraged me, back in January was we had all these reports out of eastern China, out of Wuhan, that there was this kind of transformative thing happening. They shut down a city of 11 million people — bigger than New York. And they still couldn’t control it. And the obvious conclusion that anyone paying attention would draw is, if the most sophisticated authoritarian government in history can’t control the spread of this disease. And simultaneously, we have hourly capital-to-capital jet travel. Maybe this is something we should be paying attention to. I mean, with just that fact set alone, you could conclude we need to tell our viewers about this. And almost nobody did because they thought, you know, Trump was the most important thing. It’s really dereliction. When this is over. I really hope that we can learn something useful and corrective. I really do.

Strike up the band …

… Zealotry of Guerin: The Dance of Life (Edvard Munch), Sonnet #504.

Very interesting …

… Frightened by Coronavirus, Many of U.K.’s Poles Are Heading Home - The New York Times.

Nor does Britain’s overstretched National Health Service inspire confidence, even if Britons sometimes seem to fret that foreigners exploit it. “Let’s be honest, it’s not fantastic,” said Mr. Bacdorf. “I used the National Health Service once and it was a terrible experience.” … “Paracetamol for everything — that’s my impression of what you get from the British health service,” he added, referring to the pain reliever Americans generally know as acetaminophen or Tylenol.

What we seem to know so far …

… Covid-19 — Navigating the Uncharted | NEJM. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.2

Something to think on …

I learned to read at the age of five, in Brother Justiniano's class at the De la Salle Academy in Cochabamba, Bolivia. It is the most important thing that has ever happened to me. Almost seventy years later I remember clearly how the magic of translating the words in books into images enriched my life, breaking the barriers of time and space.
— Mario Vargas Llosa, born on this date in 1936

Friday, March 27, 2020

The king of the birds …

… Marly Youmans / The Palace at 2:00 a.m. / poems, stories, novels: Peacock-thoughts for a Pandemic Sunday. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Paintings or mosaic work with peacocks appears as early as the third century A. D. in Roman catacombs. Part of this seems to be bound to the earlier idea that the flesh of the bird does not decay and holds some sort of immortality; that thought becomes a symbol wandering into regions of eternal life and resurrection. Part must be bound to the idea of leaving the earthly body and receiving a glorified body and soul, for the peacock in his fully revealed green and bronze and cobalt pomp and magnificence is an image of radiance and splendor. This sumptuousness finds its culmination in the peacock as symbol of Christ, who did not decay in the tomb and is transfigured and glorified.
Is the hemlock tree ordinarily confused with the poison hemlock that killed Socrates?


Another blogging note …

I must go shopping for a bit. Will resume blogging sometime later.
I went to the Reading Terminal Market yesterday. Usually packed with people, it was virtually deserted. God willing, I didn't get infected with anything.

In case you wondered …

… Question for the coronavirus era: What’s the opposite of loneliness? It’s not company. | The Book Haven.



In an essay on “Personal Responsibility Under Dictatorship,” [Hannah Arendt] argued such “being-with-oneself” is connected with the sustained practice of examining issues, weighing contradictory thoughts, making up one’s own mind. She observed that those who resisted the Nazi call had the habit and experience of daring to judge for themselves:
“The precondition for this kind of judging is not a highly developed intelligence or sophistication in moral matters, but rather the disposition to live together explicitly with oneself, to have intercourse with oneself, that is, to be engaged in that silent dialogue between me and myself which, since Socrates and Plato, we usually call thinking.”

One of the truly great singers …

… a ver good actor, too, one of only six actors to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his first screen appearance:

A tale for these days …

… Isolation – a short story by Teresa Waugh - The Oldie. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Novelist Teresa Waugh tells the tale of an elderly lady, tormented by coronavirus-induced isolation.

Still working after all these years …

 Bob Dylan Releases 17-Minute Song About JFK Assassination – Variety. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

One strategy …

… Beyond Eastrod : Moving on to somewhere beyond the stupidity.

Blogging note …

Got up later than usual today because of caregiving obligations. Will do a little blogging once i get my coffee.

Something to think on …

True religion should be able to respond to the dark melodies, the faulty and hideous sounds that echo from the heart of men.
— Shūsaku Endō, born on this date in 1923

Thursday, March 26, 2020

What we can learn from nature …

Beyond Eastrod : A Bird, came down the Walk.

It was bound to happen …

… Government Accidentally Shuts Itself Down With Ban On Non-Essential Businesses | The Babylon Bee.

Well, good …

… Professors Worry Their Bias Will Be Exposed by Online Classes.



It ought to be exposed. Teaching requires keeping them under wraps.

How gracious of them …

… A Letter from Our CEO | Kirkus Reviews. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

These are great …

… Three Epigrams from Richard Crashaw, Epigrammata Sacra by John Talbot | Articles | First Things.  (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Crashaw was a favorite poet of min when I was in college. I must read him again.

When the focus really is on survival …

 Beyond Eastrod : An unfathomable nightmare of medieval proportions.

Who was also a great writer …

… The Seminal Novel About the 1918 Flu Pandemic Was Written by a Texan – Texas Monthly (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Pale Horse, Pale Rider’s enduring reputation perhaps stems from Porter’s willingness to look death in the face through a masterfully psychedelic fever sequence set in an overcrowded hospital. Writing for the New Yorker in 1944, the critic Edmund Wilson lauded Porter as “a first-rate artist,” with a literary project both sophisticated and subtle that “may be able, as in Pale Horse, Pale Rider, to assert itself only in the delirium that lights up at the edge of death.”

Kindred spirits in a time of heartbreak …

… Behind Their Lines: A quiet place apart. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I have heard Edward doubt if he was as brave as the bravest. But who was ever so completely himself right up to the verge of destruction, so sure of his thought, so sure of his word? He was the bravest and best and dearest man you and I have ever known….

Here' s a thought …

…  Episode 871 Scott Adams: It's Time to Stop Using an Obama Afghanistan Strategy Against a Virus.
(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Indeed …

… This is why everyone loathes Congress. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

You could be forgiven … for imagining that this would be a perfect opportunity for the legislative branch to do all the things members of both parties are always saying they want to do: to "put politics aside" and "reach across the aisle" — feel free to insert more of your favorite clichés — in order to "get something done" on behalf of the American people.

Something to think on …

Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.
— Robert Frost, born on this date in 1874

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

How wonderful …

… Guess who I talked to today? | About Last Night. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A call to reason …

… Blind fear of death should not guide policy | Catholic Culture. (Hat tip, Rich Lloret.)

… certainly there are some things worth taking a risk for. As much as we admire bravery in the face of danger, we despise timidity. No doubt you would be safer if you spent your life cowering at home, but what could you accomplish? “A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once,” Shakespeare tells us. To risk nothing is to accomplish nothing.

A very good idea …

… Learning Latin the Medieval Way ~ The Imaginative Conservative. (hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I would argue that Latin is the first victim of modernism, its decline analogous to the worst fears surrounding such educational reform as Common Core. The early modern period saw a break in tradition; the pedagogy of antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance gave way to modern techniques and innovations, and for the past two centuries we have let our students wallow in the mire they created.


I have been brushing up on my Latin and German by means of Duolingo. It has certainly helped, since I can now understand both languages when I hear them. But i also just ordered a Latin-English Vulgate to further my study.

Why am I not surprised?

… Government Red Tape Delays the COVID-19 Response – Reason.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A few weeks ago, the government finally gave up its monopoly and said it was relaxing the rules. There would be quick "emergency use authorizations" replacing the months- or years-long wait for approval. But even that took so long that few independent tests were approved.
So President Donald Trump waived those rules, too.
Now tests are finally being made. But that delay killed people. It's still killing people.
Other needlessly repressive rules prevented doctors and hospitals from trying more efficient ways to treat patients.

Hmm …

… Hydroxychloroquine Showing Early Promise As Potential Treatment For Covid-19. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

It’s no exaggeration to say that this drug changed my life—and in a dramatically positive way—after I was diagnosed with arthritis in my thirties. Today, I’m completely pain-free and symptom-free, and I no longer require medication of any sort. Yet here’s the strangest part of the story: none of my doctors wanted me to use hydroxychloroquine, the amazing drug that brought about these results. They viewed it as an old and outdated medicine. One rheumatologist tried to convince me to use a newer, more “high-tech” treatment. “You are using a wimpy drug, and arthritis isn’t a wimpy disease,” he said.

Burdened …

… A Poet a Day: Rita Dove – BillMoyers.com. (hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

And the winners are …

… Winning Poems for 2020 February : IBPC. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)



The Judge's Page.

Watch and pray …

… Morning Prayer 3/25/20 - St Albans Episcopal Church. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Exquisite portrait …

… Beyond Eastrod : Review — Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor.

Flannery O’Connor was born on this date in 1925.

Something to think on …

Even in the life of a Christian, faith rises and falls like the tides of an invisible sea. It's there, even when he can't see it or feel it, if he wants it to be there. You realize, I think, that it is more valuable, more mysterious, altogether more immense than anything you can learn or decide upon. It will keep you free  — not free to do anything you please, but free to be formed by something larger than your own intellect or the intellects around you.
— Flannery O’Connor, born on this date in 1925

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

RIP …

… Playwright Terrence McNally, who wrote the musical Ragtime, has died from coronavirus. | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Well worth watching …

Eileen is a friend of mine. I asked her if I could post this, and she gave permission.

A blog every Philadelphian should read …

 Big Trial | Philadelphia Trial Blog.



Because you're sure in hell not going to see any of this in The Inquirer. I certainly couldn't find anything about Starson Audate and Kimberly Paynter when I did a search.

Sounds timely …

… Beyond Eastrod : Review — Judas Unchained.

Throughout the complex novel, readers will find themselves wondering, 'Who can be trusted? Who can be believed?

Wonderful …

 Portrait of Girl with Comic Book - Independent.ie. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden, who notes that Phyllis McGinley would have turned 115 on March 21.)

Showcasing art during...

...This trying time

The Role of Art History...

...In the modern world

Another clip for these times …

Related: Don't Cancel Easter.
Of course, we must think about the elderly or those with preexisting conditions, who are at a much higher risk of succumbing to COVID-19. But the aged and infirm are automatically dispensed from their Sunday obligation if attending public worship would be hazardous to their health. The bishops could have simply reminded us of that provision.
I am 78. I would have attended Mass this past Sunday if our timorous archbishop had allowed it. If, as a result, I shuffled off my mortal coil in the days that followed, that would be God's will. Life does, after all, have a termination date.

Something to think on …

Future historians will surely see us as having created in the media a Frankenstein monster whom no one knows how to control or direct, and marvel that we should have so meekly subjected ourselves to its destructive and often malign influence.
— Malcolm Muggeridge, born on this date in 1903

Monday, March 23, 2020

A great enlightenment …

… The Virus is Not Invincible, But It’s Exposing Who’s Irreplaceable - American Greatness.

But who now is more important than the trucker who drives 12-hours straight to deliver toilet paper to Costco? Or the mid-level manager of Target who calibrates supply and demand and is on the phone all day juggling deliveries before his store opens? Or the checker at the local supermarket who knows that the hundreds of customers inches away from her pose risks of infection, and yet she ensures that people walk out with food in their carts? The farmworker who is on the tractor all night to ensure that millions of carrots and lettuce don’t rot? The muddy frackers in West Texas who make it possible that natural gas reaches the home of the quarantined broker in Houston? The ER nurse on her fifth coronavirus of the day who matter-of-factly saves lives?
Do we really need to ask such questions of whether the presence of the czar for diversity and inclusion at Yale is missed as much as the often-caricatured cop on patrol at 2 a.m. in New Haven?

Listen in …

… Biblio File hosted by Nigel Beale: HUP Director George Andeou on how to Read, Write, Edit & Publish.

FYI …

… Martin Amis to publish novel inspired by death of Christopher Hitchens | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull)

Sherlock Kant …

… Beyond Eastrod : Review — Critique of Criminal Reason 

Rather a sad tale …

… though not without a trace of hope: The Art of Dying | The New Yorker. (Hat tip, Dave Lull,)

Death is like painting rather than like sculpture, because it’s seen from only one side. Monochrome—like the mausoleum-gray former Berlin Wall, which kids in West Berlin glamorized with graffiti. What I’m trying to do here.

Much in what he says …

… PETER HITCHENS: Is shutting down Britain – with unprecedented curbs on ancient liberties – REALLY the best answer? - Mail Online - Peter Hitchens blog. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



The former editor of The Times, Sir Simon Jenkins, recently listed these unfulfilled scares: bird flu did not kill the predicted millions in 1997. In 1999 it was Mad Cow Disease and its human variant, vCJD, which was predicted to kill half a million. Fewer than 200 in fact died from it in the UK. 
The first Sars outbreak of 2003 was reported as having ‘a 25 per cent chance of killing tens of millions’ and being ‘worse than Aids’. In 2006, another bout of bird flu was declared ‘the first pandemic of the 21st Century’. 
There were similar warnings in 2009, that swine flu could kill 65,000. It did not. The Council of Europe described the hyping of the 2009 pandemic as ‘one of the great medical scandals of the century’. Well, we shall no doubt see. 

Not all if them have people with masks …

… Photos Of The Week #12. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

My heart goes out to the hippopotamus.

No kidding …

… China’s Smear of Mario Vargas Llosa an Attempt to Silence Criticism - PEN America. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Various observers—including PEN America’s CEO Suzanne Nossel—have concluded that the Chinese government’s efforts to tightly control the narrative around the virus has exacerbated the spread of the virus. In a column for Foreign Policy written earlier this month, Nossel wrote, “China and Iran stand out for muzzling doctors who tried to warn about the coronavirus, downplaying the number of cases and deaths as the epidemic progressed, and inflating the success of their containment efforts. The predictable result was that the virus spread more quickly and widely than if these governments had been forthright from the start.”

Increasing cause for optimism …

… “Inspire us to be brave” | About Last Night. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Fact checking …

… 'Hitler's Pope'? Not So Fast - Crisis Magazine.
We are talking about 16 million pages of uncatalogued documents in a few scores of crates. Reportedly, there are copious lists of records attesting to the papal aid to Jewish people all over Europe. From producing fake baptismal certificates and false passports to undertaking numerous clandestine interventions and setting up hiding places as well as running a robust underground railroad for the fugitives, Rome and the Holy Father did what they thought was the maximum for the suffering multitudes.

Curious …

 'The Two Stories' - An unpublished vignette by W. Somerset Maugham. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Could it be?

… Is The Media Ignoring Good News On Coronavirus? – Issues & Insights.

To be sure, the recent trend data might just be a blip, and these two studies involve relatively small sample sizes and come with lots of caveats. We’re not saying the COVID-19 is nothing to worry about.
But these recent developments do raise a question. Will the news media report good news as aggressively as they’ve been reporting the bad?


See also: If It Bleeds, It Leads: Understanding Fear-Based Media.

 Fear-based news programming has two aims. The first is to grab the viewer's attention. In the news media, this is called the teaser. The second aim is to persuade the viewer that the solution for reducing the identified fear will be in the news story. If a teaser asks, "What's in your tap water that YOU need to know about?" a viewer will likely tune in to get the up-to-date information to ensure safety.

Or even through the week …

 Poetry Videos to Get You Through the Weekend | North of Oxford.

Have a look …

… The Lockdown Diaries 2020 | Flickr. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The main question …

… Yes It’s Poetry, But Is It Good? | The Russell Kirk Center. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

This is not to say that the author is uninterested in what a poet may have to say about politics, just that when the poet does so he does not thereby qualify for any special indulgence from what it means to be narrative, to be musical, in ways that communicate the virtue upon which the poet focuses.

Something to think on …

Man can only become what he is able to consciously imagine, or to 'image forth'.
— Dane Rudhyar, born on this date in 1895

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Can’t we get along?

… What is the “Goal” of COVID-19? Evolutionary Medicine and Pandemics. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Really good news …

… Better and better (updated) | About Last Night. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Love in the Time of Corona

You heard it here: this will become a theme, a motif, a chorus.

Hmm …

… The luxury of apocalypticism - spiked.
From AIDS to climate change, from swine flu to Covid-19, it has been one apocalyptic scenario after another. The irony is that the elites who readily envisage catastrophe think they are showing how seriously they take genuine social and medical challenges, such as Covid-19. In truth, they demonstrate the opposite. They confirm that they have absolved themselves of the reason and focus required for confronting threats to our society. It isn’t their apocalypticism that captures the human urge to solve genuine problems – it is our anti-apocalypticism, our calmness, our insistence that resources and attention be devoted to genuine challenges without disrupting people’s lives or the economic health of our societies.
What I don't understand is why they don't see this as Almghty Evolution acting to bring about what they so often seem to want — the end of humanity.

Fabulous figures …

… and great Americans: In spring, Duluth is bald eagle capital of the world | Duluth News Tribune. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

People of faith then …

… Quarantines have a long history in Italy, as Mark Twain found out.



Well, here in Philly, the newly installed archbishop has suspended the celebration of Mass. God forbid we get contaminated by a consecrated host. What a heroic affirmation of faith. I wonder if he'll close shop again during the next flu season.

Something to think on …

Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who died on this date in 1832

Saturday, March 21, 2020

So good to know …

… 48% of Voters Believe Media Overhyped Coronavirus | Newsmax.com.



Nice that nearly half of us still have common sense. Nice also that a good many people are starting to see through these fifth-rate gas bags calling themselves journalists.

Amazing …

… Miraculous: Clump Of Cells Transforms Into Fully Formed Baby Upon Womb Exit | The Babylon Bee.

Ah, yes …

… Beyond Eastrod : Darkness settles on roofs and walls ...

Good news …

… Better and better | About Last Night. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A message via Wuhan …

… Malcolm Guite: Poet’s Corner. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

My correspondent, a Christian teaching in the International School in Wuhan, had suddenly found herself, willy-nilly, walled in, and, even within the city walls, further enclosed in her own room, looking out through a window, receiving food through a hatch. What could she do but read and pray?

Sad relics …

… Zealotry of Guerin: Brushwood School House, Sonnet #503.

Something to think on …

God is an unutterable sigh, planted in the depths of the soul.
— Jean Paul, born on this date in 1763

Friday, March 20, 2020

Happy birthday!

Dame Vera Lynn turned 103 today.

Begging to differ …

… Rethinking the Coronavirus Shutdown - WSJ.

If GDP seems abstract, consider the human cost. Think about the entrepreneur who has invested his life in his Memphis ribs joint only to see his customers vanish in a week. Or the retail chain of 30 stores that employs hundreds but sees no sales and must shut its doors.
Or the recent graduate with $20,000 in student-loan debt—taken on with the encouragement of politicians—who finds herself laid off from her first job. Perhaps she can return home and live with her parents, but what if they’re laid off too? How do you measure the human cost of these crushed dreams, lives upended, or mental-health damage that result from the orders of federal and state governments?r


See also: Questioning the Shutdown | R. R. Reno. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Earlier generations understood that institutions anchor our lives. That’s why German children went to school throughout World War II, even when their cities were being reduced to rubble. That’s why Boy Scouts conducted activities during the Spanish flu pandemic and churches were open. We’ve lost this wisdom. In this time of crisis, when our need for these anchors is all the greater, our leaders have deliberately atomized millions of people. 

Sage observation …


“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

— H. L. Mencken

Experts …

… Beyond Eastrod : This plague is caused by a conjunction of the planets.



Of course, as Aquinas noted, “Locus ab auctoritate est infirmissimus“ — the argument from authority is the weakest.


Worth considering …

… In the coronavirus pandemic, we're making decisions without reliable data.

Projecting the Diamond Princess mortality rate onto the age structure of the U.S. population, the death rate among people infected with Covid-19 would be 0.125%. But since this estimate is based on extremely thin data — there were just seven deaths among the 700 infected passengers and crew — the real death rate could stretch from five times lower (0.025%) to five times higher (0.625%). It is also possible that some of the passengers who were infected might die later, and that tourists may have different frequencies of chronic diseases — a risk factor for worse outcomes with SARS-CoV-2 infection — than the general population. Adding these extra sources of uncertainty, reasonable estimates for the case fatality ratio in the general U.S. population vary from 0.05% to 1%.

Yes …

… Getting busy living | About Last Night. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

But keep on praying, folks.

Something to think on …

The strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone.
— Henrik Ibsen, born on this date in 1821

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Just so you know …

… God To Ignore Quarantine And Continue Being Everywhere | The Babylon Bee. (Hat tip, Felix Giordano.)

Go to the dogs …

… First Known When Lost: A Thought In Passing.

Blogging note …

I have been very much taken up with caregiving today. Blogging has had to take a back seat.

The poet as critic …

… T. S. Eliot’s animus by Adam Kirsch | The New Criterion. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The poet-critic has been an institution in English literature because usually only an artist has the stubborn animus, the conviction that art should be one way rather than another, that makes for interesting criticism. To write something new is to imply that the writing which already exists is insufficient. Of course, this can never be demonstrably true: there is always already more than enough literature to occupy any reader for a lifetime. Only an artist’s egotism, his certainty that he has something new to offer that the world should not be without, gives him the fruitfully skewed perspective on literature required to see it as deficient. Harold Bloom’s theory of “the anxiety of influence” gave formal statement to this agonistic element in all artistic ambition. “To imagine is to misinterpret,” Bloom writes, which means, among other things, to misinterpret all existing poetry to its own detriment in order to make room for something new

Haiku …


The first day of spring,
Forecast is cloudy with rain.
Plants don’t seem to mind.

FYI …

… Global Covid-19 Case Fatality Rates - CEBM.

The perfect clip for these days …

Anniversary …

… Beyond Eastrod : Philip Roth’s 100-year moratorium on literature talk.

What’s the difference between writing about it and talking about it? Writing about what people seems a logical enough progression to me. But I don’t think Roth was ever long on logic.

Hmm …

… Merkel calls coronavirus 'biggest challenge since WWII'.

Well, we all know how Germany met that challenge.

The importance of what we don't know …

… In the coronavirus pandemic, we're making decisions without reliable data. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Projecting the Diamond Princess mortality rate onto the age structure of the U.S. population, the death rate among people infected with Covid-19 would be 0.125%. But since this estimate is based on extremely thin data — there were just seven deaths among the 700 infected passengers and crew — the real death rate could stretch from five times lower (0.025%) to five times higher (0.625%). It is also possible that some of the passengers who were infected might die later, and that tourists may have different frequencies of chronic diseases — a risk factor for worse outcomes with SARS-CoV-2 infection — than the general population. Adding these extra sources of uncertainty, reasonable estimates for the case fatality ratio in the general U.S. population vary from 0.05% to 1%.


Remember those known unknowns and unknown unknowns of some years back? I don't think many people study epistemology these days.

Something to think on …

One cannot look at the sea without wishing for the wings of a swallow.
— Richard Francis Burton, born on this date in 1821

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

This has gone too far …

… Deerfield Testicle Festival on hold - News - The Daily Telegram - Adrian, MI - Adrian, MI.

When people can’t sit around and eat some nuts, something is wrong.

Beats Covid-19 …

… Beyond Eastrod : Deliberately facing that awful stranger — consciousness.

Amen, brother …

… Keep the Churches Open! | R. R. Reno | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… I am demoralized by the Catholic Church’s response to what Ephraim Radner calls “the Time of the Virus.” Those of us who live in densely populated areas are aware of the intense anxiety and fear that has become pervasive. The massive shutdown of just about everything reflects the spirit of our age, which regards the prospect of death as the supreme evil to be avoided at all costs. St. Paul observed that Christ came to free us from our bondage to sin and death. This does not mean we will not sin or die. It means that we need not live in fear. 

I'm with Vargas-Llosa on this …

… Beyond Eastrod : Don’t blame China! Really?

In case you wondered …

… Top 10 books about boarding school | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



I didn't attend boarding school, and I have read only one of these — Decline and Fall — and for some reason never thought of that as being primarily about boarding school. I just thought it was very funny. So, when Brideshead Revisited was on the list of novels I was supposed to read over the summer for a course that fall in the modern novel, that was the first one I chose to read, since I figured it would be funny as hell. I still remember pausing after reading for maybe 45 minutes or so and saying out loud to myself, "This is the saddest book I have ever read." It also turned out to be one of the greatest.

Well, Facebook …

… Facebook Censorship: “Violating Community Standards” – Reluctant Habits.

But in all seriousness, this draconian assault on basic information sharing is a calumny against free expression and the abundant need to be honest about the place we’re now heading in. If Zuckerberg has decided to withhold information — especially information that was put together by bona-fide journalists who perform their work with objective standards — then this is, in fact, disastrous to discourse and catastrophic to understanding how the terrible flu is spreading. At the present time, it is essential for us to have the floodgates open. And since 2.5 billion people are now on Facebook trying to make sense of a terrible pandemic, then it seems condign to let them vent in any way they need to.

FYI: Facebook blames bug for coronavirus spam issue. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Hmm …

… This from last month: Flu Season That's Sickened 26 Million May Be at Its Peak | Health News | US News.



By way of comparison:



Ebola  -— 11,300 deaths



SARS — 774 deaths



H1N1 Flu — more than 284,000 deaths


Covid-19 deaths worldwide — 8,246



Flu deaths this flu season in U.S. between 22,000 and 53,000



Annual death rate worldwide from flu 646,000


Something to think on …

Utopias now appear much more realizable than one used to think. We are now faced with a different new worry: How to prevent their realization.
— Nikolai Berdyaev, born on this date in 1874

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

From someone who knows …

… Paul Davis On Crime: A Look Back At Polio: The Disease That Paralyzed America And How We Defeated It.

Well, there’s that …

… Beyond Eastrod : Time enough to read.

Keep on praying …

… We’ll be together again | About Last Night. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In case you wondered …

… Beyond Eastrod : If Emily Dickinson had a blog ...

Hmm …

… Diamond Princess Mysteries | Watts Up With That?

In addition to the low rate of disease incidence (83% didn’t get it), the curious part of Figure 2 for me is that there’s not a whole lot of difference between young and old passengers in terms of how many didn’t get coronavirus. For example, sixty to sixty-nine-year-old passengers stayed healthier than teenagers. And three-quarters of the oldest group, those over eighty, didn’t get the virus. Go figure. Buncha virus resistant old geezers, I guess …

FYI …

… Symptoms of Coronavirus vs. the Flu vs. a Cold | Elemental.

Blogging note …

I won't be blogging again until this afternoon, when I get back from shopping in town.

Something to think on …

The past is our ultimate privacy; we pile it up, year by year, decade by decade, it stows itself away, with its perverse random recall system.
—Penelope Lively, born on this date in 1933

Monday, March 16, 2020

While we are all asked to be shut-ins …

 Beyond Eastrod : Poetry and quarantine on the home front.

Me? I'll be out and about as usual. Tomorrow, bright and early, I'll be at the Reading Terminal Market. Should be plenty of chances for infection there. And I'm 78. Of course, I've also been told by the head of family medicine at a university hospital who checked my records that I'm in really good health, and not just for someone my age. But, as Jim Morrison once reminded us, nobody gets out of here alive. But given what the state of the world is likely to be after this establishment power grab, there may not be much left to live for.

Thinking of Covid-19 …

I fear he is right on both counts

… Bruce Charlton's Notions: Don't blame the crows! It's Not About the birdemic!



…  Church leaders tell Western Christians - "You're on your own!"



Though we are not quite on our own. There is God.

The uses of poetry …

… In a time of crisis, poetry can help focus our fears and transform ‘noise into music’ - The Washington Post. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Still, I would guess that most of us turn to far more sentimental verse when confronting adversity or seeking comfort. Kipling is much derided, but his oft-quoted poem “If” has inspired generations with its tribute to character and endurance, to the will to “watch the things you gave your life to broken” and then to build them up again “with wornout tools.” 
Very little poetry of a political nature has any appeal for me. Kenneth Patchen can pull it off, probably because his usually has a humorous edge). Politics is so unpoetic.

Mutability …

… First Known When Lost: Ephemeral.

Marcus Aurelius has wise words for us:  "How ridiculous, and like a stranger is he, who is surprised at any thing which happens in life!" (Marcus Aurelius (translated by Francis Hutcheson and James Moor), Meditations, Book XII, Section 13.)  Spring is here.  But not for long.  Anything is possible.

Signs and portents …

… Eh? column: Stolen sign returned, the seagull returns and some toilet paper news | Duluth News Tribune. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The way things are …

 Perilous Directions by Gregory Wolfe | Articles | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… Original Prin is concerned with the phenomenon raised by a line from G. K. Chesterton, often misquoted as follows: “When a man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he believes anything.” What ­Chesterton actually wrote is even more provocative. In one of the Father Brown stories, the priest-sleuth notes that one dire result of unbelief is not the rise of reason but the proliferation of superstition: “It’s drowning all your old rationalism and scepticism, it’s coming in like a sea; and the name of it is superstition. . . . It’s the first effect of not believing in God that you lose your common sense and can’t see things as they are.”

From the time when television was a vast wasteland …

… ArtsJournal: Daily arts news | Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City.

Beats today's media …

… Beyond Eastrod : Reading some news worth reading.