Wednesday, October 21, 2020

RIP …

… James Randi, Magician and Paranormal Debunker, Dies at 92. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Rudyard Kipling


I've just finished Kim -- Rudyard Kipling's celebrated novel of British India -- and I must admit, I'm of two minds. 

On one hand, this is a book guided by tremendous erudition. Kipling seems to have mastered it all: local dialects, fashion, geography; the list goes on. There were moments when reading Kim that I felt I'd entered something approaching a 'total novel.' It was as if I'd been immersed -- without warning, without welcome -- in the Raj. Put differently: this is a book made of four sturdy walls. There's one way in and one way out. In the middle, there's only character and description, society and culture. 

Having said all this, I found myself surprisingly unmoved by the whole thing. And more: I found the novel a chore to read. Kim's journey -- his awakening and maturation -- are often obscured by the intensity of Kipling's prose, by the density and claustrophobia of his writing. I concede that I struggled at times to follow the story, and to understand how the European characters, especially, fit into Kim's evolution. 

No doubt, there's an authenticity to Kim which would be -- and which has been -- difficult to match. Conversely, there's an opacity which I found difficult to surmount. Kim's adventures are one thing: how they fit into the 'total' vision of British India presented by Kipling is another. For my part, I suppose I'd still take Orwell's Burmese Days

Good to hear …

… SECNAV Names Attack Boat After WWII USS Barb, DDG for Former SECNAV Lehman - USNI News.

John and I were classmates in college and still get together from time to time.

Other voices …

… Delightfully Perplexed and Transfixed by The Sacramento of Desire - Write Now Philly.

Keep it up, ladies

… Ocasio-Cortez Teams Up With Activist Who Said 'America Deserved 9/11'.

Remember, I’m so old I remember when it was thought appropriate to love your country. 

Succulent …

… Reviews and Viewpoints: History on the half shell.

Spys’ neighborhood …

… Even James Bond's working from home these days. But where does he live? William Boyd investigates | Daily Mail Online. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
I suppose the most famous fictional abode for a character is Sherlock Holmes’s 221b, Baker Street. James Bond’s address and George Smiley’s have yet to achieve the same legendary status, but give them time. 

Contemporary manners …

… This is social suicide, but OK, here goes | Judith Margolis Friedman | The Blogs.

… what do the more liberal among us call their secret Facebook group? Then it came to me — they just call it Facebook. And on Facebook, many of my liberal friends blast away without cause or concern that they are maligning unfairly people who they claim to love and respect. I have lost count as to how many real friends have posted “If you don’t agree with my political views, unfriend me.” Really? How tolerant of you. We’ve been friends for years, really? Your child played at my house countless times, really?

Careful what you wish for …

 … Salvaging Secession. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Disagreements between independent political entities often leads to something called war. It was the southern secessionists who started the Civil War. Remember Fort Sumter? 

I posted a link to this yesterday, but thanks to Blogger’s klutzy revisions it linked to my email. That is now fixed.

Something to think on …

I have seen great intolerance shown in support of tolerance.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge, born on this date in 1772

Anniversary and appreciation …

… Samuel Taylor Coleridge; a birthday sonnet, and a book | Malcolm Guite. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Word of the Day …

… Limitrophe | Word Genius.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Word of the Day …

Merino | Word Genius.

Hmm …

 … E. B. WHITE’S “PLAIN STYLE” @75. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

It might seem self-evident that White the author practiced what Strunk and White the style gurus preached, but the truth is more complicated. Like Ernest Hemingway, who mocked his fans’ enthusiasm for the writing tips he dispensed, White had mixed feelings about being anointed a master of plain prose. 

I read the 1959 edition not long after it came out, during the year I spent between high school and college. I never got the impression from it that the plain style was the only way of writing, but rather that it was the foundation for good writing. Once you had it down, you could safely go your way however and wherever you wished.

Secrets behind the scenes …

 … Trio by William Boyd review – lights, camera, chaos. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

…  brilliantly drawn, often grotesque characters make Trio Boyd’s funniest book since 1998’s Armadillo. I especially relished the horrible, Charles Hawtrey-esque actor Ferdie Meares, whose cameo in one of the film’s pivotal scenes is complicated by his insisted-upon right to deliver his dire comic catchphrase: “I’m excited! Are you?” Boyd, a screenwriter and occasional director himself, beautifully captures the chaos and exhilaration of a shambolic film set, in which unforeseen disasters andskulduggery create their own opportunities and problems.

Something to think on …

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

Monday, October 19, 2020

Attention Blogger …

 The new version of Blogger is awful. I would like to return to the original version, which I was able to do until recently. One can't seem to get this message through to you in any way that I can discern. So I guess I'll have to find another platform for this blog. Talk about screwing something up.

If anyone knows how to get this through to Blogger, please let me know.

Appreciation …

 … Opposites Refract — A Review of Wonder and Wrath by A. M. Juster.

Wonder and Wrath is an apt title for a collection that both marvels at and rails against human frailty, against the backdrop of a fallen universe. The book’s seriousness lies in its sustained resistance to the easy way out: either to reject or embrace, without caveat, a cosmos that consists, in equal measures, of miracle and outrage.

 


As we might expect, Wonder and Wrath includes an ample selection of translations. These range from versions from the Chinese, to Welsh, to fragments of Rilke’s French, which Juster has, provocatively, “completed.” Juster seems to have a special affinity for Latin poems composed by English poets and has included two of them in this collection, both valuable additions to the canon for those of us who do not read Latin. “To my dear friend, M. J. Jackson, disparager of this treatise,” by A. E. Housman, is thought to be the last Latin poem by a major English poet and is significant for that reason. Typically, Housmanian, it adds little to his extant body of work—it is one more poem about death and unrequited homosexual love.


And a sample: “Rounding up the Mimes” by A. M. Juster

(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)




 

Careful what you wish for …

 … Salvaging Secession. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Disagreements between independent political entities often leads to something called war. It was the southern secessionists who started the Civil War. Remember Fort Sumter? 

Sometimes bleak, sometimes tender …

 … with always a visionary glow: The Grandmothers, by Glenway Wescott (1927). (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

“The east was covered with tiny clouds like the torn bits of paper which a newcomer finds in a dismantled house; the sun entered the sky like such a newcomer.”

 I’ve spent a good bit of time in Wisconsin. I love the place.

Hmm …

… Musings and Reviews: What the gospels have meant then and now.

I confess to feeling dubious about Garry Wills.

James Joyce, poet …

 … Review: James Joyce, ‘Pomes Penyeach’. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

Mechanical instruments, potentially a vehicle of rational human purposes, are scarcely a blessing when they enable the gossip of the village idiot and the deeds of the thug to be broadcast to a million people each day.
— Lewis Mumford, born on this date in 1895

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Much in what he says …

Bruce Charlton's Notions: How to fight modern evil: Huxley versus Orwell, Ahrimanic versus Luciferic evil.

Editor's choices …

… Autumn Reading Recommendations | North of Oxford.

More than just a mystery …

… 221B - Musings and Reviews: The Bank of England needs help from Sherlock Holmes.

Pretty classy people

… Whittaker Chambers Monument – no thanks | Whittaker Chambers. (Hat tip, Dave Lull)



The best way to remember our grandfather is to read his books. They are his memoir Witness (1952) and his later writings in Cold Friday (1964). Rather than a monument, he left testimony to read.

Hmm …

… How the media is misreporting COVID-19's death toll in America. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The CDC itself caused a stir at the end of August by estimating that the virus directly caused only 6 percent, or now just over 11,000 of the 187,000 attributed deaths. Most of these deaths were in the elderly.

The remaining 94 percent died with and not exclusively of the coronavirus. These people also were on average elderly and had 2.6 other health problems. This implies a good fraction who succumbed had three or more comorbidities. In other words, most deaths attributed to the coronavirus were in very sick people.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Marriage, religion, and murder … …

… 221B - Musings and Reviews: Words that threaten to upset the Christian world.

RIP …

… Thomas Howard, RIP | Kenneth Craycraft | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

And the winnes are …

… 2020 Contest Winners: Able Muse Write Prize (for Poetry & Fiction).

One more night …

… Zealotry of Guerin: The Sleeping Gypsy (Henri Rousseau), Sonnet #534.

These times …

… First Known When Lost: Two Worlds.


"Each mind keeping as a solitary prisoner its own dream of a world." The temptation is great to conclude that one is wise and virtuous.  A comforting delusion.

A preview of days to come …

… Cold by Robert Francis | Poetry Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

The intellectual who no longer feels attached to anything is not satisfied with opinion merely; he wants certainty, he wants a system. The revolution provides him with his opium.
— Raymond Aron, who died on this date in 1983

Word of the day …

… Fugleman | Word Genius.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Credentialed fools …

… Writing teachers: Standard English is racist — Joanne Jacobs.

From the comments: “ If what students “bring to the classroom” is already sufficient, why teach them anything?”

Word of the Day …

… Inculcate | Word Genius.a

Listen in …

… Episode 402 – Darryl Pinckney – The Virtual Memories Show.

“The vote has to be rethought in our American hearts as a radical act, because so many people don’t want you to vote. We have to think about the vote as the center of American culture and American purpose, that cuts across lines of identity that people have drawn so vividly.”

A man of letters indeed …

… 221B - Musings and Reviews: An author’s life in his own words.

And the winners are …

… 2020 Underwater Photo Contest | Scuba Diving. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Listen in …

 The Musical Innertube: The Musical Innertube - Volume 2, Number 7 - Katherine Hill.

Something to think on …

As we grow older and realize more clearly the limitations of human happiness, we come to see that the only real and abiding pleasure in life is to give pleasure to other people.
— P. G. Wodehouse, born on this date in 1881

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The latest from a master …

 The Best Way to Take a Break From the Current Chaos | The American Spectator | USA News and Politics. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Epstein is a generalist in the finest sense. In his many collections, still available and worth the reading time, readers are likely to find a thoughtful essay on Joseph Conrad or Marcel Proust followed by a take on Michael Jordan, a putdown of Philip Roth followed by an affectionate Memory Lane treatment of his hometown, Chicago. 

Spoken art …

… Joy Harjo on how a new Native poetry anthology fills a gap in American literature | PBS NewsHour. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Critic’s choices …

… The best recent poetry collections – review roundup | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Sieg heil, professor …

… CSUN professor runs 'Boycott Israel Resource Page' on university website.
The page calls Israel “The most racist state in the world” accusing them of “Crimes against humanity” including “ethnic cleansing.”

Tracking the decline …

… Update: St. John’s limits academic freedom of history department in ongoing effort to punish professor for asking question.



St. John's appears to be advocating the wrong religion. 

The writer as star …

… Musings and Reviews: “You shall know the truth ... “





You know how John Wayne movies give you the feeling that you’re watching John Wayne play himself? In a similar (but good) way, Flannery O’Connor’s literary voice is always front and center in her stories and novels. And what a unique voice it is—a brilliant mind, a fierce tendency to call bull**** on hypocrisy, and a skillful rendering of regional characters and places, all delivered in low country dialect. Underestimate her—or her characters—at your peril. 
That's because Wayne — Like Cary Grant — created a persona for himself that proved adapatble to a wide variety of roles.

The genuine article …

… Alternative Journalism, Indeed | City Journal. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

“We have always been the alternative voice in Philadelphia,” says McDonough now, regarding his decision to rebrand the paper. “That audience has changed over the years, and, in 2020, conservatives and people who are angry and fed up with an inept city government don’t really have a voice here. To continue our mission, we had to change.” PW’s chief revenue officer, Ed Lynes, told Philadelphia Magazine that, in the city, it is “conservatives who no longer have a voice. If you oppose a socialist and intrusive government, your views are rejected by the city’s mainstream media.”
Anything that provides relief from The Inquirer’s Will Bunch and his Johnny-one-note rants can be thought a blessing.

Something to think on …

In proportion as you give the state power to do things for you, you give it power to do things to you.
— Albert Jay Nock, born on this date in 1870

Confident cosmopolitan …

… Complex, Simple: On Robert Conquest’s “Collected Poems” - Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Among his recurrent themes are love and sex, science and poetry. The verse — Conquest’s preferred usage — in Collected Poems, edited by his widow Elizabeth Conquest, some 60 years of it, is vast and various in every sense. Conquest is that rare sort of poet who might take anything as his subject matter. Without being shrill or resorting to bumper sticker message-mongering, Conquest is a poet of the people, or at least of that portion who read poems for pleasure. In The Dragons of Expectation: Reality and Delusion in the Course of History (2004), he writes:

FYI …

… Presented Without Comment - LewRockwell. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Ignoramuses …

… Why are woke idiots attacking Gal Gadot? - spiked.

The main problem with this criticism is that Cleopatra herself was actually from Europe. The briefest Google search would have revealed to these furious tweeters that she was, in fact, a Macedonian Greek.

Word of the Day …

… Famulus | Word Genius.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Haiku …

 He sits by himself

 Thinks of her alone hurting

And knows he’s a shit.


Haiku …

 Gray October sky. 

His birthday is in two days. 

He is an old man.

 

 

Poet and p[hotographer …

… Philip Larkin: a way of seeing - spiked. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Motion has skilfully juxtaposed his 13 photographic selections alongside related poems.

A lifelong pilgrim …

 Remembering Malcolm Muggeridge: Marked by Mobility and a Search for Morality | National Review. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Among Muggeridge’s contemporaries it was the idealistic, impecunious writer Hugh Kingsmill (1889–1949) who meant most to him. The Poisoned Crown (1944), in which Kingsmill criticized the corruption and cruelty of power-worshipers, was central to his vision of things, and he wrote an introduction to Michael Holroyd’s 1964 biography of Kingsmill. Kingsmill argued a mystical Shakespearean-Blakean view that there were perennial human conflicts between lovingkindness and power and between imagination and will, and that the modern era particularly had seen the satanic hunger for Blake’s “poisoned crown,” the lust for amoral power, in humankind’s technological rape of nature and in totalitarian power maniacs such as Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, and Mao Tse-tung, and that against this post-moral Nietzschean will-to-power—Saint Augustine’s libido dominandi—only lovingkindness and imagination could ultimately triumph, though not necessarily visibly or in this life. Kingsmill was a fellow traveler with Christians, as was Muggeridge for the first part of his life; and Muggeridge took Simone Weil to be making the same argument in her reflections on gravity and grace.

On second thought …

… WHO warns against COVID-19 lockdowns due to economic damage.



Something to think on …

Man is a rational animal. He can think up a reason for anything he wants to believe.
— Anatole France, who died on this date in 1924 

Happy Columbus Day …

… The left created a fictional version of Christopher Columbus to erase his holiday | The College Fix.

Slavery was not introduced to the New World by Columbus. Rather, slavery was common even among native people in the Caribbean.

Columbus sought to be kind to the natives because he knew that they would be an essential component in not only his survival, but the survival of the men that accompanied him as well. When Columbus left Spain in 1492, in search of a faster and safer route to Asia, slavery was permissible. Spain did not formally ban the slave trade to its colonies until 1817 – more than 300 years after Columbus’ death.

See also this, about Samuel Eliot Morison’s Admiral of the Ocean Sea. Always good to be informed.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

And the winners are …

… Winning Poems for 2020 September : IBPC.



The Judge's Page.



(Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Word of the Day …

… Desideratum | Word Genius.

Appreciation …

 Le Mot Juste | Harper's Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Hazzard’s fiction takes much from her life, but the temptation to read her work autobiographically never clouds the experience. “I think there is a tendency now to write jottings about one’s own psyche and call it a novel,” Hazzard told Kakutani after The Transit of Venus was published. “My book, though, is really a story—and that might have contributed to its success.”

In case you wondered …

…. How Elmore Leonard Really Wrote His Novels—According to His Characters | CrimeReads.(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

This gives you a chance to see and hear him. Very worthwhile

I was once chatting with Leonard at Philadelphia’s Central Library, prior to introducing him onstage, and he kept asking me about Philadelphia. I asked him why he was so curious about Philly. He said you never know. What I was telling him might come in handy sometime while writing.

Hmm …

… The Idol Worshiper – Idlings. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Sacrificing Wordsworth on the altar of De Quincey seems odd to me. Whatever his personal shortcomings, Wordsworth is undoubtedly the greater literary figure. And even in this account, De Quincey seems to have been a person best kept at a safe distance.

Q&A …

… Louise Gluck Nobel Interview transcript - Google Docs. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

That is the mystery of grace: it never comes too late.
— François Mauriac, born on this date in 1885

Saturday, October 10, 2020

The original …

 ‘Twelve Angry Men’: First Deliberations - WSJ. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… it is now possible to watch the live-TV version of “Twelve Angry Men” on YouTube, meticulously restored from a surviving kinescope film of the original 1954 telecast—and you know what? It’s better than the movie. A lot better.

Dangerous conformists …

… The Tyranny of the ‘Tolerant’ - WSJ. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

One of the plummiest targets for attack by intellectuals in the 1950s was conformity. Conformists in those days were thought to reside in American suburbs; they were judged unimaginative, thinking dull thoughts, living out lives of quiet desperation. How it would pain the officially tolerant of our day to think themselves conformists. Yet to be tolerant today entails a strict conformity of opinion. They might wear rococo beards, ponytails and tennis shoes with tuxedos, have had 20 affairs and three abortions, and attended what the world thinks are the best schools. But they all know that, should they depart the deep grooves of locked-in opinion that is the source of their virtue, they risk social excommunication. Few are willing to risk that.

The spotlight …

… Zealotry of Guerin: Gilles, or Pierrot (Jean-Antoine Watteau), Sonnet #533.

Something to think on …

Innovators and creative geniuses cannot be reared in schools. They are precisely the men who defy what the school has taught them.
— Ludwig von Mises, who died on this date in 1973

Word of the Day …

 … Herbary | Word Genius.

Friday, October 09, 2020

Listen in …

… The Art of Criticism | Mark Bauerlein | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Getting cancelled …

 The Artist Formerly Known as Guston - Tablet Magazine. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)



The decision to postpone Guston’s exhibit is a regrettable mistake: At the heart of Guston’s work are the very personal questions of responsibility and complicity, of fear and even self-hatred. Trying to avoid any controversy, the directors prevented the public from engaging in difficult conversations, precisely when they’re most needed, in this fraught moment when both racism and anti-Semitism are on the rise, and many of the large cultural institutions are reckoning with their own history.
Revising, editing, and even deleting the past seems to make some people — often those with letters attached to their names — feel quite happy about themselves. Merely proving once again that being schooled doesn't necessarily make one educated.

Watch away …

… Videos For Your Enjoyment | North of Oxford.

Debating a decision …

… Weigel's Terrible Arguments - Catholic Herald.  (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



Here is Weigel's article: Truman's Terrible ChoiceAnd here is Paul Fussell's classic — and thoroughly informed — discussion of the matter, which Dave just sent:  “Thank God for the Atom Bomb.”

Understanding the past requires pretending that you don’t know the present.
It requires feeling its own pressure on your pulses without any ex post facto
illumination. 
Feser notes that "Catholic just war teaching holds that directly and intentionally killing non-combatants is intrinsically evil." Well, in that case, World War II was an unjust war straight across the board, since both sides targeted civilian populations — remember the Blitz and Dresden and Hamburg, etc. So I guess bad guys were bound to win. I presume Feser is happy that the bad guys who did win were the Allies and not the Axis.

I would suggest that philosophy that does not thoroughly engage reality — which is often messy and irrational —  is not worth pondering.

Word of the Day …

… Tertiary | Word Genius.

Something to think on …

A certain combination of incompetence and indifference can cause almost as much suffering as the most acute malevolence.
— Bruce Catton, born on this date in 1899

Thursday, October 08, 2020

Magical lving …

… Book of Spells – Indicative Mood. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The old ways may still be best …

… Book of Spells – Indicative Mood. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

And the winner is …

… American Poet Louise Glück Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature - WSJ. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Pushing back …

… Brooklyn bishop condemns 'outrageous, unfair' new limits on congregation size - Catholic Herald.



It's about time.

Something to think on …

The ones that measure up are not always the ones you expect.
— Walter Lord, born on this date in 1918

Hmm …

… Vilified Early Over Lax Virus Strategy, Sweden Seems to Have Scourge Controlled - The New York Times.

Word of the Day …

… Forfend | Word Genius.

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Bee stings horse’s ass …

… Man Who Believes He's On The Right Side Of History Announces Crackdown On The Jews | The Babylon Bee.

Expect more stories like this …

 A Failed Experiment | City Journal.

In a comparison of 50 countries, a team led by Rabail Chaudhry of the University of Toronto found that Covid was deadlier in places with older populations and higher rates of obesity, but the mortality rate was no lower in countries that closed their borders or enforced full lockdowns. After analyzing 23 countries and 25 U.S. states with widely varying policies, Andrew Atkeson of UCLA and fellow economists found that the mortality trend was similar everywhere once the disease took hold: the number of daily deaths rose rapidly for 20 to 30 days, and then fell rapidly.

Q&A …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Joseph Wambaugh: Famous Novelist, Former Marine Reflects On Service.

Indeed …

American Sports Are Letting Down America.

Have a look …

… Reaching Immunity | A Private Summit of Epidemiologists Against Lockdowns - YouTube.

Anniversary …

… Musings and Reviews: The mysteries of Edgar Allan Poe, life, and death.

Appreciation …

 Giving Hoagy His Due - Terry Teachout, Commentary Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

To this day, though, Carmichael’s art resists easy categorization. As a friend wrote in the epilogue to The Stardust Road, his 1946 memoir: “You made your greatest success as a composer by not writing songs about love. You gained popularity in radio and records by singing; yet you have no voice….You got interested in movie acting about a year ago and now you are in that. Every time you put your mind to something you really get on the outside of it before you let go.”
I am lifelong Carmichael fan.

Good …

… Gun-Rights Group Sues Philly Over Massive Permit Backlog - Washington Free Beacon.

This city is currently a poorly managed as ever in my lifetime. The mayor is an idiot. The DA still thinks he’s a defense attorney.

Something to think on …

Reason cannot establish values, and its belief that it can is the stupidest and most pernicious illusion.
— Allan Bloom, who died on this date in 1992

Sounds familiar …

 Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

— George Orwell,  Nineteen Eighty-Four

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

My, my …

… Cardinal Becciu ‘stole funds to bribe witnesses’ in sex abuse case against rival George Pell | World | The Times.

A splendidly neurotic universe …

… Clever and Vigorous Our Age of Anxiety Leads to Many Pleasures - Write Now Philly.

RIP …

 Sir Peregrine Worsthorne obituary | Media | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Hmm …

… I Don't Remember the Last Time I Enjoyed a Book | Book Riot. (Hat tip, Jon Caroulis.)

I have reviewed books that I didn’t enjoy, but usually, if I’m not enjoying a book, I stop reading it. 

It's about time …

 Great Barrington Declaration. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Signed by:

Medical & Public
Health Scientists
1,604
Medical
Practitioners
1,803

General
Public
27,378

I just signed it.

Simenon without Maigret …

 Musings and Reviews: Georges Simenon “makes me think of Chekhov".

I reviewed this novel. It is quite disturbing.

 … Godforsaken: religion is vanishing from American politics. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The crucial point is that these millions of Christian voters can no longer find churches that reflect their attitudes and anxieties. They can’t identify with the evangelicals’ obsession with sexual purity, and the mainstream Protestant churches just strike them as spineless, especially right now. Conservative Catholics feel the same way about their own bishops. They had nothing inspiring to say during the COVID pandemic and retreated into cowardly platitudes when antifa mobs moved from defacing statues to trying to burn down whole cities.

 But, as Charles Williams observed, "The Divine Thing that made itself the foundation of the Church does not seem, to judge by his comments on the religious leadership of his day, to have hoped much from officers of a church."

Historic funding...

...For historic spaces

Appreciation …

… Discovering Whitney Balliett, the True Poet of Jazz | City Journal. (Hat tp, Dave Lull.)

 I have never read a jazz writer with a more assured command of the English language. It’s a testimony to his precision of expression that the Merriam-Webster dictionary changed its definition of that ineffable jazz word “swing,” based on Balliett’s feedback. But you didn’t need to be a lexicographer to appreciate his virtuosity. Oral historian Studs Terkel, another master of the journalistic profile, lauded him as “one of our most trustworthy guides.” Taking a different tack, poet extraordinaire (and fellow jazz critic) Philip Larkin declared that “Balliett is a master of language” who brought “jazz journalism to the verge of poetry.” In fact, the surest way to assess Balliett’s stature was to gauge the stature of those who praised his work. He was the artisan whom other artisans admired.

Practical politics …

… Christian Just Voting For Whichever Political Party Less Likely To Make His Faith Illegal One Day | The Babylon Bee.

Something to think on …

To philosophize is not to solve problems but to live them at a certain level.
— Don  Colacho

Word of the Day …

… Pervicacity | Word Genius.

Monday, October 05, 2020

Ave atque vale …

 First Known When Lost: Farewell, September. Welcome, October.



I am October child. In a short while I will turn 79. And the next day will begin my 80th year.

Maybe …

… Review: “The Listeners and other poems” by Walter de la Mare | Form in Formless Times. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Those poems are all at the beginning of the book, and after them the poems degenerate into unequal attempts to catch the evocative spirit.
Well, I have just started reading Imagination of the Heart, Theresa Whistler's biography of de la Mare. I have also been reading the Collected Poems,  just dipping into it at random. I just came upon this one, far into the book:

For All The Grief



For all the grief I have given with words
May now a few clear flowers blow,
In the dust, and the heat, and the silence of birds,
Where the lonely go.

For the thing unsaid that heart asked of me
Be a dark, cool water calling - calling
To the footsore, benighted, solitary,
When the shadows are falling.

O, be beauty for all my blindness,
A moon in the air where the weary wend,
And dews burdened with loving-kindness
In the dark of the end.

I see no diminution of quality in that.
My fellow de la Mare fan, Stephen Pentz, in a recent post had much to say of de la Mare (it's what prompted me to get Whistler's biography.) Here is that post: Awake. And here is something from it:
 In the year prior to his death, he said to a visitor: "My days are getting shorter.  But there is more and more magic.  More than in all poetry.  Everything is increasingly wonderful and beautiful." 


But, as they say, read the whole thing.

Hmm …

… Child Regicide And Jacobin | The American Conservative.

What an awful human being.

From sea to shining sea …

… Musings and Reviews: America subdued and forever altered by destiny.

Something to think on …

The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less.
— Václav Havel, born on this date in 1936

Word of the Day …

… Couturier | Word Genius.

Sunday, October 04, 2020

Have a listen …

 Ty Segall Releases New Harry Nilsson Covers EP: Listen | Pitchfork. (Hat tip, Gwen Hansell Hendry.)

Word of the Day …

… Toponym | Word Genius.

Remembering Jay Johnstone …

… Second Time's the Charm - BallNine.

Sad to see that Johnstone passed away recently.

Appreciation …

… The Poetry of the Prosaic - WSJ. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



Quinn believed that the caucasian men causing damage were white supremacist supporters of President Donald Trump, who were attempting to make Black Lives Matter protests appear in a negative light. In an effort to expose the alleged racist Trump supporters, Quinn went undercover and infiltrated the groups. Instead, he found that these destructive forces were "true believers in insurrectionary anarchism."
One of the luckiest days of my life was when, in grad school, I suddenly realized I did not want to spend the rest of my in the faculty lounge (and I gather it was a more interesting place then than it is now).






Journalist does journalism …

… Photojournalist discovers left-wing anarchists cause riots - TheBlaze.

Quinn believed that the caucasian men causing damage were white supremacist supporters of President Donald Trump, who were attempting to make Black Lives Matter protests appear in a negative light. In an effort to expose the alleged racist Trump supporters, Quinn went undercover and infiltrated the groups. Instead, he found that these destructive forces were "true believers in insurrectionary anarchism."

Progress …

… Deep Water: ‘Independence,’ by Robert Petrillo - Portland Press Herald. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

In case you wondered …

… How to Generate Fake News by Frank J. Fleming – According To Hoyt. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A great poet’s great editor …

… New beginnings for John Berryman and Robert Giroux | America Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… Giroux would remain a loyal friend, never backing away from his commitments to Berryman; his strength of character helped him to accept Berryman’s overwhelming personal difficulties of severe alcoholism and dependency on a variety of drugs. He encouraged Berryman to write poetry during both good periods and difficult ones—even when Berryman went through prolonged periods of hospitalization, which tended to become more and more frequent, creating for him a disturbing series of mentally uninhabitable spaces.

Something to think on …

The journey is essential to the dream.
— Francis of Assisi, who died on this date in 1226

Saturday, October 03, 2020

Friday, October 02, 2020

Hmm …

… Pandemic Memories and Mortalities - IEEE Spectrum.

Though many of us lived through the flu pandemics of 1957 and 1968, almost nobody can dredge up personal memories of those times. And that's interesting.
I sure in hell can’t.

… the worldwide death toll attributable to SARS CoV-2 was about 865,000 by the end of August 2020. Given the global population of about 7.8 billion, this translates to an interim pandemic mortality of about 11 deaths per 100,000 people. Even if the total number of deaths were to triple, the mortality rate would be comparable to that of the 1968 pandemic, and it would be about two-thirds of the 1957 rate.
But people today seem more timorous, credulous, and servile. Certainly more manipulable.

Why French is not our national language …

… Musings and Reviews: Deciding the fate of North America (and this blog).

Pretty cool …

 Meet the Krewe of Karens: A Mardi Gras marching group that wants to see the manager (right now) | Mardi Gras | nola.com.

RIP …

… Derek Mahon, one of Ireland’s leading poets, has died, aged 78. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



His poem, Everything is Going to be All Right, captured the national mood during the pandemic.

Something to think on …

Reality is a cliché from which we escape by metaphor.
— Wallace Stevens, born on this date in 1879

Long John tells all …

… Musings and Reviews: Plundering and murdering on the high seas with Silver.

Word of the Day …

… Adhocracy | Word Genius.

Thursday, October 01, 2020

In case you missed it …

… Broadcast Signal Accidentally Picks Up Two Old Men Yelling At Each Other Instead Of Presidential Debate | The Babylon Bee.

Fabulous …

… British Wildlife Photography Awards Celebrates Ten Years with a Show. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Communism up close and personal …

… The Kyiv Photographer Who Captured The 'Gloomy Dignity' Of Soviet Life. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Keeping busy ¬

… Simon Armitage on Ted Hughes, trying to write during the lockdown and drive-in poetry | Yorkshire Post. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

“Hughes was this person from the next valley and as well as finding his work inspiring I found his journey inspiring, too. This idea that if he could do it then coming from a similar background and in a similar-looking house, then I might be able to do it as well.”

As the city once was …

… A Side Street by Louis Untermeyer | Poetry Foundation. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)



Louis Untermeyer was born on this date in 1885.

October Reviews at North of Oxford …

 … Things That Go Trump in the Night by Paul Fericano.

… This is How He Learned to Love: Stories by Randall Brown.

… Riven by Catherine Owen.

… Paula Regossy by Lynn Crawford.

… Catastroika by Charles Rammelkamp.

… New From Our Book Review Editor.

Something to think on …

The history of Western science confirms the aphorism that the great menace to progress is not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge.
— Daniel J. Boorstin, born on this date in 1914

A contest of kindness …

… Jeremy Treglown - The Long Road to Leopoldstadt | Literary Review | Issue 490. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

It’s the book itself, though, that made me most happily jealous. The research couldn’t be more thorough. Stoppard’s decade in provincial journalism in Bristol is perfectly evoked, for example: jazz clubs, coffee bars, kids chain-smoking in polo-necked black jerseys. I was one of them and went to some of the productions at the Old Vic that Stoppard reviewed …

Word of the Day …

… Cetology | Word Genius.