Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Jack London


The Call of the Wild: it's one of those classic titles, one of those quintessential American novels. And yet, little did I know: it's told from the perspective of a dog. 

But what a dog that Buck is! 

In its own way, Call of the Wild is perfect little novel: compact, clear, and knowing. Jack London writes with a refreshing confidence. He is attuned to plot and character, but equally, I think, to emotion. There were several moments in Call of the Wild when I truly felt for the dogs. 

That, I suppose, is the magic of London's novel: the degree to which dogs and animals assume human qualities. We feel for them because they are described as a person might be. There is pathos and empathy and connection. And yet, there is not a childish quality to this dynamic: London's animals are rough and rugged, and their travails gradually become our own. 

The "call" to which London -- and Buck -- increasingly refer amounts to a sort of primordial impulse, a longing to return to what's natural and fundamental. London makes a convincing case that Buck is motivated by this call, but he implies that people are, too. Not many of us seek a primal existence, but we do, I think, feel some call toward truth and honesty, toward a more natural condition distanced from technology, politics, and competition. 

We don't feel this all the time, but when we do, we heed the same call Buck does, and that London captures so effectively in his novel. 

Oh, the irony

 University slaps a trigger warning on George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four | Daily Mail Online.

… staff at the University of Northampton have issued a trigger warning for George Orwell’s novel on the grounds that it contains ‘explicit material’ which some students may find ‘offensive and upsetting’.

The poor, sensitive dears. 

Aliens?

… Mysterious object 4,000 light years from Earth releases a giant burst of energy three times an hour | Daily Mail Online.

RIP …

 World's oldest gorilla Ozzie dead at 61 - Primate dies at Atlanta zoo months after testing positive for Covid.

Cosmic anniversary …

… Miscellaneous Musings : My discovery of a first light observation in 1949 prompts my questions about elsewhere.

Hmm …

… March for Life: Catholics for Choice Project Pro-Abortion Message on D.C. Basilica | National Review.

“I am tired of feeling shame and stigma for being a pro-choice Catholic. And I’m not here for people to judge my own personal relationship with God,” she added.

Hate to break the news to you, but Catholics don't get to pick and choose among doctrines. Being pro-choce is your right as a citizen. It is not your right as a Catholic. Find another church. And this stunt was pretty offensive.

Imagine that …

… Greece Snowstorm: Thousands of drivers left stranded as storm hits Athens - BBC News.

Why it was only in March 2020 the The Independent, the British newspaper ran a headline assuring us that “Snowfalls are just a thing of the past.”

Our town …

Woke' Mayor Kenney Loses Another Battle To Christopher Columbus | Big Trial | Philadelphia Trial Blog. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

Judge Patrick concluded the city's decision to approve the removal of the statue was "based on temporary and transitory events of disorder" and "clearly constituted arbitrary action" by the city. "Accordingly, the judge wrote, [the city's] claims should be dismissed."

 Kenney may well be the dumbest mayor in America. As for The Inquirer, I’m thinking of canceling my subscription.

Appreciation …

… In Praise of Lim. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

There is no single identity for Lim to discover and adopt. She must create a new person capacious enough to fit her international origins and adulthood. In America the complexity of her identity is doubly complicated — first by immigration and then by marriage and motherhood. As a poet, Lim doesn’t take much from Walt Whitman, but she does fulfill one of his great bardic boasts — she is large, she contains multitudes.

Turns of phrase …

“The buck stops here,” frontier poker, a knife, and President Truman.

Word of the Day …

… Coriaceous | Word Genius.

Something to think on …

A day spent without the sight or sound of beauty, the contemplation of mystery, or the search of truth or perfection is a poverty-stricken day; and a succession of such days is fatal to human life.
— Lewis Mumford, who died on this date in 1990

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

A preview …

 … Recognitions — By Flash Hits.

I met some rock players this afternoon at my local tavern. This is from an album that comes out in March.

Look at the sky …

… Miscellaneous Musings : John Adams and I take time to view the planet Jupiter.

RIP …

… Paul Davis On Crime: An Inglorious End To A Once Great Aircraft Carrier: Kitty Hawk Passes The Lone Sailor Statue On The Way To The Scrapyard.

Worth attending …

… 22 Artists At G222 In 2022.  


Depicting glory …

…  VAN GOGH’S GOD.

Though he no longer took the Bible literally, he found inspiration in Scripture’s “lofty ideas.” Christ-haunted, he regarded Jesus as “a greater artist than all other artists” because his medium wasn’t marble, clay, or color, but “living flesh.” Every corner of creation pulses with divinity. “I think sometimes I see something deeper, more infinite, more eternal than the ocean in the expression of the eyes of a little baby when it wakes in the morning,” he wrote, adding, “All nature seems to speak. . . . I do not understand why everyone does not see and feel it; nature or God does it for everyone who has eyes and ears and a heart to understand.” 

In case you wondered …

… What It Means to Be Pro-Life - WSJ.

The adventure of growing old …

… Miscellaneous Musings : Confessions of someone whose mind has been derailed.

Recommended …

… Death of a Green-Eyed Monster | Library Journal.

‘Twas ever thus …

The story of America’s first spy ring.

Something to think on …

The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you.
— W. Somerset Maugham, born on this date in 1874

Good question …

… Why did scientists suppress the lab-leak theory? | Matt Ridley.

Now we know what those leading scientists really thought. Emails exchanged between them after a conference call on 1 February 2020, and only now forced into the public domain by Republicans in the US Congress, show that they not only thought the virus might have leaked from a lab, but they also went much further in private. They thought the genome sequence of the new virus showed a strong likelihood of having been deliberately manipulated or accidentally mutated in the lab. Yet later they drafted an article for a scientific journal arguing that the suggestion not just of a manipulated virus, but even of an accidental spill, could be confidently dismissed and was a crackpot conspiracy theory.

Sounds perfect for these times …

… Nigeness: Don't Look Up: A silly film about human silliness. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Word of the Day …

… Napery | Word Genius.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Time for a smile …

… Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Humor: One Way To Solicit Business.

About time …

… State Investigating Krasner's Failure To Prosecute Gun Crimes | Big Trial | Philadelphia Trial Blog.

Out of 1,810 total firearms cases in 2021, a total of 1,114, or 61.5%, were either dismissed or withdrawn.

Of the 1,810 gun cases, only 47, or a paltry 2.6%, were found guilty at trial. Another 545 cases, or 30.1%, pleaded guilty.

Hear, hear …

… The Last Leg Universities Stand On Is Collapsing - Foundation for Economic Education.

The tyrannical individuals, policies, and beliefs crippling the world today emanate from universities and the sphere of influence they enjoy. They continue to take your money and weaken young minds all while using their undue influence to make your life worse.

I had a very good college experience. But my encounters these with college grads these days does not impress.

See also: This Mom Is Helping Parents Discover Pro-America Content for Kids.

 

What’s in a name …

The history of his name may be Mark Twain’s tallest tale.

A happy anniversary …

… America’s first canned beer was a big success in 1935.

A common tale these days

… How Licorice Pizza Got Caught Up in the Culture Wars - The Atlantic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… some viewers have reacted negatively to the movie’s instances of coarsely accented Asian English, leading critics on social media and at least one Asian American cultural organization to argue that audiences and prize juries should boycott it. The Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) announced that to shower Licorice Pizza “with nominations and awards would normalize more egregious mocking of Asians in this country.”

Pondering a masterpiece …

… Nigeness: Manet's Mysterious Bar.

Entanglement …

… Poems for the Conversos - Tablet Magazine. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Rachel Kaufman’s debut poetry collection explores the fragility of Jewish history, and all the places where it has already been broken.

Something to think on

If only we'd stop trying to be happy, we could have a pretty good time.
— Edith Wharton, born on this date in 1862

Insects up close …

… Mug Shots To Bug Shots: A Former Romanian Cop Becomes A Celebrated Wildlife Photographer. (Hat tip, arus Bowden.)

Wouldn’t surprise me …

…  A Covid Origin Conspiracy?

Newly released emails make more plausible the contention that Anthony Fauci and Francis Collins presided over the suppression of the lab-leak theory for political reasons.

For your reading pleasure …

A collection of 190 English translations of Donec Gratus Eram (Odes 3.9). (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Word of the Day …

… Graminivorous | Word Genius.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Worth remembering …

Fact check: Democrats hold Senate filibuster record, 75 days in 1964.

Especially the reason.

RIP …

… Joseph Fox Bookshop in Center City closing after 70 years, as neighborhood bookstores press on. (Hat tip, Alison Brady, and Wynn.)

Must be that pesky global warming …

West Virginia’s Canaan Valley plummets to minus-31, setting record low for region.

Metaphors be with us …


Friedman is just getting started: biting-giant, chip-on-his-shouldered, Emperor-Burton-in-a-doorway-Putin is also America’s “ex-boyfriend from hell,” who refuses to let us “date other countries, like China” (we want to date China?) because “he always measures his status in the world in relation to us.”

The saga continues …

EITHER/OR BY ELIF BATUMAN. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Sardonic and adroit Either/Or makes for a fantastic read. While Selin does change over the course of her sophomore year, she also remains very much herself. She can be reserved and slightly baffling at times, and yet she’s also capable of making some very insightful or relatable comments. She’s intelligent, somewhat naive, and has a penchant for overthinking and obsessing over minor things. Her deadpan sense of humor and little idiosyncrasies make her character really pop out of the page. I could definitely relate to her many many uncertainties, as well as her fixation with understanding the person who never seemed to reciprocate her feelings.

The dumbest generation …

… Campus Reform | Prof pushes students at virtual 'die-in' to use 'radical activist tactics' for stricter COVID policies.

Apparently, none of these people know how to do research. Finding a half-decent college these days must be tough.

In case you wondered …

… Miscellaneous Musings : The 10 most underrated Sherlock Holmes stories.

Appalling …

… Water cannon, tear gas at COVID-19 protests in Brussels | AP News.

It may just be time to take some of these pols and put them up against the nearest wall.

The inaugural...

...UK digital culture awards

Unhappy anniversary …

… USS Pueblo captured - HISTORY. (Hat tip, Tim Davis.)

Faith vs. despair …

The Believer’s Brain. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Miller begins her story in the lab. That’s where she and her co-workers were examining data sets that they had compiled from brain-imaging tests. These compared self-described religious and spiritual folk with determined skeptics and nonbelievers. To her colleagues’ surprise, it turned out that faith strongly correlated with indicators of mental health. That finding was reinforced when the Columbia researchers looked at electroencephalograms (EEGs). These revealed that believers had higher levels of high-amplitude alpha waves. Miller knew that these brain signals tend to increase when patients are placed on SSRIs and that they fade out when patients are taken off the drugs. So this was an intriguing finding. The research unit then discovered that those recovering from depression who are believers had particularly elevated levels of alpha waves compared with those of recovering nonbelievers. This suggests that the original finding was not just a sign of correlation. It implies causation: that faith can alleviate despair.

Something to think on …

If you know what you are going to write when you're writing a poem, it's going to be average.
— Derek Walcott, born on this date in 1930

Word of the Day …

… Diluvial | Word Genius.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

See also …

Pandemic Lessons Learned: Rushed COVID Vaccines.

COVID-19 was regarded as an emergency, so the U.S. Food and Drug Administration skipped the approval process for use of the newly developed vaccines under Emergency Use Authorization. It can be said that the designs of the spike protein-based vaccines were also rushed. The COVID-19 vaccines are the only vaccines in history that were developed and distributed in the midst of a pandemic. All the other vaccines took years to be designed, tested, and approved.

Good for them …

… British Medical Journal Demands Immediate Release of All COVID-19 Vaccine, Treatment Data


“Today, despite the global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, the anonymized participant-level data underlying the trials for these new products remain inaccessible to doctors, researchers, and the public—and are likely to remain that way for years to come,” BMJ said. “This is morally indefensible for all trials, but especially for those involving major public health interventions.”

Many happy returns …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Happy 85th Birthday To Joseph Wambaugh, Former LAPD Detective Sergeant and Author Of Classic Police Novels.

When in Liverpool...

 ...Check out the updated Tate

Completion …

… Zealotry of Guerin: Poetry and Fiction by Christopher Guerin: My Human Disguise, Parts One and Two, Sonnets #599 and #600.

Changes …

I’m considering building a bridge across the river.

God-haunted …

A Failed Saint. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

Growing old — it's not nice, but it's interesting.
— August Strindberg, born on this date in 1849

He sure did …

… Walt Whitman Celebrated Himself, and Made Sure the Public Knew It. (Hat tip, Paul David.)

Word of the Day …

… Compère | Word Genius.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Blogging note …

 My wife broke her shoulder blade. She is in rehab. I have to deal with this. So blogging has to take a back seat for a bit.

Anniversary …

Miscellaneous Musings : Steelworkers reject proposals made at the White House.

Smiles andd more …

 bob's cartoons. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Metaphysicsl meditation …

… Miscellaneous Musings : The daunting task of telling the truth.

It’s come to this …

… What next after the Hong Kong Hamstercide? - The Post.

To many in the West, this will sound like an absurd overreaction. But it’s what happens when your goal is zero Covid. Policy ceases to be about proportionality — about balancing costs, risks, and benefits. It becomes about absolutes. If the goal is zero, you cannot take chances.

Something to think on …

Free speech is my right to say what you don't want to hear.
— George Orwell, who died on this date in 1950

Word of the Day …

… Apodictic | Word Genius

Thursday, January 20, 2022

I fear so …

THEY’RE ONLY CENSORING YOU FOR YOUR OWN GOOD.

Just so you know …

… Miscellaneous Musings : Blogging Note.

Our town …

POLICE COMMISSIONER’S ALL IN WITH CURBING CARJACKING.

Getting out of your car on the street, in driveways. parking lots, gas stations and ATMs are carjacking “hot spots.” The police state that a “bump and run” is when a carjacker’s car bumps intentionally into a victim’s car. When the victim gets out to look over any damage, the carjackers show their guns and take the victim’s car. If bumped, stay in the car and lock the windows and doors. Place your flashers on and tell the other driver to follow you to a police station.

Hmm …

… “gender experts” cannot even define the word woman or explain what they mean when they use it.'  (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The view from the left …

 Terry Teachout and the Last of the Conservative Critics | The Nation. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Terry Teachout was a full generation younger than this cohort, but he followed their arc: He got his start with National Review but eventually embraced a more philosophical and nonpolitical strain of conservatism. While he continued to write for National Review and other conservative publications, his work addressed a wider audience and eschewed the liberal-baiting that dominates right-wing political discourse. As The New York Times noted in its obituary, Teachout over time came to prefer “to work in an apolitical register, assessing art and culture on their own terms.” 

In case you wondered …

… Miscellaneous Musings : Why is Inauguration Day on the 20th of January?

Something to think on …

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

Word of the Day …

… Tutelary | Word Genius.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

A genuine hero …

… Maryland Tuskegee Airman Charles McGee dies at 102.

Ouch …

… Dear Joe ... Your first year's been a total disaster.

Just so you know …

… Eugenie Scott Resurrects Misinformation on ID | Evolution News.

The notion of intelligent design dates back to Lao-tse, Heraclitus, Plato, and Aristotle, all of whom concluded that being as we know it could not be the result of a crap shoot, that there has to be a principle of intellgence at work in being.

You can’t keep a good man down …

… Miscellaneous Musings : The dark and mysterious afterlife of Edgar Allan Poe.

Travel and more …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Welcome To Japan, Davis-San: A Sailor's Visit To Sasebo.

Hmm …

… Betting Omicron Has Peaked, Johnson Drops COVID Rules in England | Newsmax.com.

Could well be …

 Cary Grant's North By Northwest Suit Is the Greatest in Film History | Grailed.

Born of love

The anger of John Ruskin : Essays in Idleness. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… the remarkable thing about Ruskin’s anger is the purity of it. He is appalled by the glibness of his cultural surroundings; by the aesthetic lies that are communicated through it. He must stand up to them. He must do so all by himself, and so may be forgiven if some of his assumptions go wrong. (Very few.) His prose is always graceful, and his production immense.

Something to think on …

Those who are capable of tyranny are capable of perjury to sustain it.
— Lysander Spooner, born on this date in 1808

Blogging note …

 Once again I have to head early. Blogging will resume this afternoon.

In case you wondered …

… How Journalism Abandoned the Working Class.

This “Great Awokening” has been impossible to miss if you consume mainstream news. But you don’t have to rely on your impressions. David Rozado, a computer scientist who teaches at New Zealand’s Otago Polytechnic, created a computer program that trawled the online archives of the Times from 1970 to 2018 to track the frequency with which certain words were used. What he found was that the frequency of words like “racism,” “white supremacy,” “KKK,” “traumatizing,” “marginalized,” “hate speech,” “intersectionality,” and “activism” had absolutely skyrocketed during that time.

Word of the Day …

… Reify | Word Genius.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Time for a chuckle …

… Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Humor: Where are the Tinned Peaches?

Blogging note …

 I must, yet again, go out and run some errands. Blogging will resume later on.

Anniversary …

… Miscellaneous Musings : The man who gave us a collection of words and phrases.

A musical mystery …

… The Discovery of Buck Hammer - by Ted Gioia. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A remarkable blues musician emerged from obscurity, but something about him just didn’t seem right

Something to think on …

Dissent is the native activity of the scientist, and it has got him into a good deal of trouble in the last years. But if that is cut off, what is left will not be a scientist. And I doubt whether it will be a man.
— Jacob Bronowski, born on this date in 1908

Word of the Day …

… Alliaceous | Word Genius.