Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Happy Birthday …

 … Bob Dylan: Mr. Tambourine Man.

Bob Dylan was born on this date in 1941.

Watch and listen …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Michael Caine Reads Kipling's Poem 'If'.

Anniversary …

 once upon a time: Crossing that bridge to Brooklyn in 1883 (and 1965).

Interesting fellow …

… Man of the Cloth, Fan of the Game - BallNine.

Getting back on track …

… once upon a time: POTUS delivers ultimatum and sets deadline.

Style and substance …

You Must Change Your Writing Style: Ward Farnsworth’s Guidebooks to English Virtuosity and Ancient Philosophy. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I think too much attention to style can result in writing that is precious. 

Something to think on …

Creativity is an unending exercise in uncertainty.
— Joseph Brodsky, born on this date in 1940

Word of the Day …

… Exonym | Word Genius.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Talk about ignorant …

 SF Examiner editorial board demands Pope remove archbishop who barred Pelosi from communion over abortion.

… the liberal editorial board blasted the Catholic leader for "punishing" Pelosi, instead of "right-wing politicians" who "[vote] against health care or funding for the poor."

Abortion is considered by the Catholic Church to be murder, a violation of the fifth commandment. There is no Catholic doctrine regarding the politics of heath care, the Catholic Charities has been praised for giving a greater percentage of what it collects to those in need than anyother charity. The archbishop is obligated to deny communion to anyone lobbies for something in opposition to Catholic doctrine. It is called scandal. I doubt if the Pope will give a damn what the Examiner has to say on the matter. Obviously, the religion of the editors of the Examiner is politics. Pathetic. Plenty of people do not agree with the Church about abortion. That is their right. The just can’t consider themselves Catholic.

More here: CNN anchor rushes to defend Nancy Pelosi after she is denied Holy Communion. But Pope Francis says not so fast.

“12 years of Catholic school, altar boy, family deeply involved in our church, and never saw anyone banned from receiving communion," Scuitto said. "This is a deep fissure in the church — and a position Pope Francis himself doesn’t support."

I suspect he didn’t do all that well in religion class. Is he still practicing the faith? Seems like he could sure in hell use some. I had four years of theology at a Jesuit college 

I see that Whoopi Goldberg has weighed in on this, telling  the Archbishop “this not your job, dude.’ Sorry Whoopi, that is his job.

I

The music of words …

Poem of the Day: ‘Prosody’.

Portrait of a poet …

… The energetic and tragic Keats - The Spectator World. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… There have been dozens of biographies of Keats and about as many critical introductions as you would care to read, but Miller’s Keats is different in a couple of useful ways. The nine chapters are keyed to the poems, which are roughly sequential, starting with “Chapman’s Homer” in 1816 and ending with “Bright star!” composed in 1820. The volume ends with a short note on Keats’s epitaph on his gravestone in Rome, where he died in 1821. Each poem is quoted in full at the beginning of the chapter, followed by Miller’s biographical and contextual commentary.

I feel obligated to point out that Chaucer wrote in Middle English, not Old English, which was Anglo-Saxon.

Temporal tidbits …

… once upon a time: Railroads, magazines, and chicken sandwiches in 1946.

Appreciation …

Desire and loss in the poetry of Dana Gioia. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In his essay, “Can Poetry Matter?” (1991), Gioia rankled many vested interests when he called attention to the ill-formed poetry produced in reams by America’s academic establishment. “Seeing so much mediocre verse not only published but praised, slogging through so many dull anthologies and small magazines, most readers … now assume,” he wrote, “that no significant new poetry is being written. This public skepticism represents the final isolation of verse as an art form in contemporary society.” Yet in “Autumn Inaugural,” he relents and treats his refractory critics to a lesson in song. He practices what he preaches. If they will not concede the points he makes in his essay, they might at least listen to his music, a music replete with form’s enrapturing alchemy.

 The first two lines of “The Road” are slightly misquoted. They should read:

He noticed then that no one chose the way—
All seemed to drift by some collective will.

Something to think on …

Before the development of tourism, travel was conceived to be like study, and it's fruits were considered to be the adornment of the mind and the formation of the judgment.
— Paul Fussell, who died on this date in 2012

As dumb as it gets …

… College Cancels Sonnets for 'Being Products of White Western Culture' - Headline USA.

Word of the Day …

… Desultory | Word Genius.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Monk, mystic and mechanic …

… Ludwig Wittgenstein's war on philosophy - UnHerd. (Hat tip, Dave  Lull.

… Wittgenstein’s thought steadily undermines middle-class individualism. We are not isolated beings sealed within our own private, incommunicable experience. On the contrary, the way in which I come to know you is pretty much the way in which I come to know myself. How can I know that what I am feeling is jealousy unless I have been reared within a language which contains the concept? And language is nobody’s private property. Behind this distaste for the cult of the individual one can feel the disdain of aristocratic Vienna for the stout burgher.

This sounds a little, since Wittgenstein sounds like quite  an individualist himself.



Lest we forget …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Armed Forces Day 2022: Celebrating And Honoring Those Who Serve. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I’m so old I remember the troop trains in World War II — they ran past right the street in the factory in North Philly where I started life. I certainly remember the guys who came home from the war.

The nuttiest generation …

… Call Me They — Maureen Mullarkey.

They tells us that EFA “stands against oppression, racism, and the exploitation of humans, non-humans, and the land.” Art itself goes unmentioned but “art practices” that agitate for “accountability, reform, equity, justice, and abolition” are grant-worthy. EFA commits to training young adult social justice warriors to organize against “mass incarceration and the police state.” Naturally, EFA means in the U.S., not countries like Myanmar, Cuba, or China.

My lady friends — and I have a few — regard me as male. I go along with them. But bear in mind my friend Katherine and I had power for a gay couple. So we’re obviously not homophobic. Just ordinary people. 


 

Time for a chuckle …

… Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Humor: Nothing Like A Good Insult.

A big chill …

…How Bulgarians suffered “the kind of cold that left a scar.”    

As you sow …

… so shall you reap: House had advance knowledge of the NSBA's 'domestic terrorism' letter and promised 'we have your back.’

But as word of the original letter spread people were outraged. By the end of October, the NSBA had apologized for “some of the language” in the letter. But the apology was too little, too late. Within days five state school board associations had withdrawn from the NSBA. By December the number of state associations leaving the national organization reached seventeen. That represented about 40% of the NSBA’s annual dues. By January the number had climbed to 19 and the Washington Post reported the NSBA was on the verge of a total collapse

The life of trees …

… Zealotry of Guerin: Poetry and Fiction by Christopher Guerin: Tending, Terzata #47

Billionaire dropout at it again …

Bill Gates Declares New Mandate He Thinks Everyone Over Age 50 Should Do | Patriotic Viral News.

Gates doesn’t look so hot in the video. Maybe he ought to take care of himself before shooting off his mouth off.

Something to think on …

What some call health, if purchased by perpetual anxiety about diet, isn't much better than tedious disease.
— Alexander Pope, born on this date in 1688

Read a great writer …

ALBERT JAY NOCK AT IWP (UPDATE). (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Nock is both a great writer and a great thinker. Many years ago I gave a lecture on him at Rockford College. The Theory of Education in the United States ought to be read by everybody these days.

Word of the Day …

… Estival | Word Genius.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Death of a master …

… Baseball Writer Roger Angell Dies at 101 | U.S. News | US News. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

What a writer.

Where we find ourselves …


My favorite chapter in the book is the one on “the psychological novel.” Using an Orson Wells film, novels by Graham Green and Sherwood Anderson, and other resources, Bauerlein explains in powerful and illuminating ways how cultural treasures at once deepen the soul and shatter utopian illusions. It’s a rich and fascinating way of understanding the link between literature and politics, and well worth your time.

Bleak journey …

… once upon a time: Mark Twain and the divine curse of Palestine.

A sort of coincidence …

… once upon a time: Two fellows became citizens of the United States in 1946.

Just so you know …

… Solar storms: Why the next one might hit Earth without warning | New Scientist.

Deep tambourine …

The Sieve by A. E. Stallings. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

Easy for them to keep their youth who will never learn a lesson.
— Sigrid Undset, born on this date in 1882

Strange relation …

… All Male Cats Are Named Tom: Or, the Uneasy Symbiosis between T. S. Eliot and Groucho Marx - JSTOR Daily. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Eliot wasn’t trying to dismiss Marx so much as draw a connection between Shakespeare and Groucho, Siegel argues; in his imperfect way, the poet was offering Marx “subtle homage to his intellect.” Their encounter has the feel of a tragic Modernist fable about the impossibility of communication; two radically different men—one an iconoclast, the other an elitist—both geniuses in their respective domains, forever blown about on the winds of their own insecurity and anger.

Word of the Day …

… Fartlek | Word Genius.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Interesting …

… Testosterone Administration Induces A Red Shift in Democrats.

A time like ours …

“I Would Net Them If I Could.” (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Here’s where, in my best curmudgeonly style, I say that Aubrey’s time (or, more broadly, the long aftermath of the Reformation) is not so different from our own. Of course, human nature being a constant, no time or culture can be entirely alien to any other, but perhaps there are special parallels between England in the seventeenth century and life in the Anglophone West today.

Almost certainly a must-read …

… Houellebecq's Omelette by Theodore Dalrymple | Articles | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

He is so acute an observer of social trends that he sometimes appears almost prophetic: He foresaw the terrorist attack in Bali and the advent of the gilets jaunes in France. He has long held that the threat of Islamism to the West comes not so much from Islamism itself, with its nugatory intellectual resources, but from the weakness, the doubts, the cowardice, and the venality of Western society’s response, itself the result of the spiritual vacuity from which the West suffers and which he describes so well, without—of course—offering a solution (it is not the place of novelists to be constructive, except in the sense that criticism is the first stage of taking thought for the morrow).

I will be reading this as soon as the English translation is available. I think Houellebecq is the great contemporary novelist. I may just reread some of his books or get one I haven’t read. 





In the doctor’s office …

… once upon a time: Time spent in the waiting room with John Adams.

Insect songs …

Poem of the Day: ‘Voices of the Air’.

Something to think on …

Man thinks, God directs.
— Alcuin, who died on this date in 804

And the winners are …

IBPC: Winning Poems for March 2022.


(Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)


Cosmic coincidence …

One of the weirdest life story endings I’ve ever heard.

Word of the Day …

Emblematize | Word Genius.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

To the point …


Short words are honed to work fast. Why? Most hail from the harsh north, where each breath is hard won. Blunt like chipped tools. Tough to make it through dark, cold nights. Not like the tongues from the warm south, born of sun filled days, where time stretched out with ease, no rush! and each sound led us down a long, slow path that seemed to have no end.

I’m not sure I would ever set out to use only one beat words, but I have long appreciated Mark Twain’s advice: “Don’t use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do.” I should add, though, that this essay by Linda Button is virtuosic.

Expect more like this …

Dr. Robert Malone: ‘Rotten to the Core’ FDA Knew COVID Vaccines Could Spur Viral Reactivation, But Said Nothing.

On May 11, the Global COVID Summit, a symposium of 17,000 other physicians and medical scientists from around the world, released its fourth declaration demanding that the state of medical emergency be lifted, scientific integrity restored, and crimes against humanity addressed.

Watch and listen …

 … Diane Sahms-Guarnieri Live at Café Improv March 2022.


Real Nazis …

‘Squad’ Members Introduce Anti-Semitic Resolution.

Mere days after a racist and anti-Semitic teenager shot up a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., members of the notorious “Squad” have introduced a blatantly anti-Semitic resolution calling on the federal government to describe Israel’s founding with the Palestinian term “Nakba,” which means “catastrophe.”

Q&A …

… Making It New: Q&A with Paul Mariani - Slant Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I often think of the opening of Genesis, with the Creator shaping a universe out of nothing. Then streams of molecular light bounding about, then the forms beginning to take shape, but only as word connects to word and line to line. And always, the effort to make it new, to move on to the next step in the journey.

Just so you know …

Flannery O’Connor and Lupus Awareness Month.

Something to think on …

Things and actions are what they are, and the consequences of them will be what they will be: why then should we desire to be deceived?
— Joseph Butler, born on this date in 1692

Word of the Day …

… Hippocrene | Words Genius.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Honest prophet …

… What Orwell Learned From Chesterton | M. D. Aeschliman | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

O
rwell had gotten his essential currency of beliefs and valuations from traditional English culture, whose nineteenth-century and subsequent capitalist-imperialist developments he documented, despised, and critiqued with great eloquence in his novels and expository prose works. The culture he loved was represented by writers such as Shakespeare, Swift, Dickens, and Chesterton, not by Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, or Stalin—or even by H. G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw. In 1936, when he tried to get a letter of recommendation to fight in Spain from Harry Pollitt, the leader of Great Britain's Communist Party, he was turned down. In Spain he fought the fascists (and was badly wounded) but was horrified by the communist purges of fellow Spanish Republicans, including the party of anarchists in whose ranks he was serving. Orwell’s documentary account of his experience in Homage to Catalonia was not initially popular, but Trilling’s 1952 introduction to an American edition did much to make Orwell’s modern reputation, and not only in America.

Interesting indeed …

Elon Musk’s Twitter Detractors Were Subsidized With $10.5 Million In Taxpayer Funds.

Dusting off the oldies …

Somewhat but not always alphabetically by authors’ name.

Something to think on …

Some people think that all the equipment you need to discuss religion is a mouth.
— Herman Wouk, who died on this date in 2019

In the mail …


Short Poem

Still in the body, the great gift.
Body Gestalt, Chi exercises, narcissism.
We are headed towards a horizon
on which there will be a light
that is not the light of the sun.

Time will--------------------
No museum will house the artifacts.
What did they think they were doing,
when they played their games of power?


Alexander Marshall

Painful longing …

… Anecdotal Evidence: 'What Was or What May Be'. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Word of the Day …

… Sachem | Word Genius.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Anniversary …

Almost forgotten history — Button Gwinnett dies in 1777.

Much in what he says …

… Home Depot Demotion, and Why Journalists Suck | www.splicetoday.com.

Journalists didn’t always suck. But a lot do now.

Take a look …

… ExactlyRight.

This is my daughter Gwen’s new business site. The birthstone ring she made for me many years ago, complete with a fire opal, is often noticed, especially if the sun strikes. Gwen is a licensed gemologist.

Something to think on …

As a whole part of "psychological education" it needs to be remembered that a neurosis can be valuable; also that "adjustment" to a sick and insane environment is of itself not "health" but sickness and insanity.
— James Agee, who died on this date in 1955

Sleuthing among the old steel mills …

… once upon a time: The game is afoot in Pittsburgh and elsewhere.

A classic and its tale …

… Story of the Week: Conscience with Art. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

Word of the Day …

… Impresario | Word Genius.

RIP …

… Larry Woiwode, who wrote about family, faith and rural life, dies at 80 - The Bharat Express News. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Comedy vs. satire — a vintage review …

… The comic muse by Guy Davenport | The New Criterion. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

John Gross, theater critic and from 1974 to 1981 editor of The Times Literary Supplement, has compiled a wonderfully rich compendium. Nobody reads an anthology; that’s not what it’s for. It is a book for the bedside table. It is a definition and illustration of its subject. The Oxford Books (of Dreamsof Literary Anecdotes, presumably, in time, of everything under the sun—one on Money is in the works) are medieval (or Victorian) in their enterprise: a diligent editor’s selection (“anthology” means in Greek a bouquet, or garland, of flowers) of what many writers have most sharply said about a topic. The Oxford Book of Sunsets would not greatly surprise me, though it might indicate that they are getting near the bottom of the barrel

Counterweight to integrity …

Orwell’s Humor. (Hat  tip, Dave Lull.)

Orwell was suspicious of pleasure and especially of ease. The pivotal decision of his life was to decline the scholarship to Oxford that would have gained him admission to England’s elite in favor of an especially unpromising post as a colonial police officer in Burma. The choices he made after that—to live a tramp’s life, “down and out” on the streets of Paris and London; to fight for the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War; and ultimately to turn against his former comrades on the Stalinist left—all seem like a coda to the first.

Q&A…

 Paul Davis On Crime: My Crime Beat Column: My Q&A With Veteran Newspaper Columnist And Author Stu Bykofsky.

Time for a smaile …

… Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Humor: That Look.

Anniversary …

We passed the Setting Sun —

Something to think on …

The past is never where you think you left it.
— Katherine Anne Porter, born on this date in 1890

Read and look …

Robert Frost’s “Birches” A Visual Interpretation. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Word of the Day …

… Pinnate | Word Genius.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

RIP …

 In Memoriam: John Leo | Manhattan Institute.

Was he the third man …


Philby attempted suicide at least twice. He must surely have been tempted by British offers to come clean, but he remained an ideologue. He loved the idea of serving Russia and Communism, and wanted to carry on, fleeing to Russia only in 1963 when all other options were exhausted.

Q&A …

The Theology of Chesterton and Tolkien: An Interview with Alison Milbank. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

J.R.R. Tolkien and G.K. Chesterton, two great champions of the modern fantasy genre, understood literary creation, and art in general, as somehow expressing God’s creativity in the world. Alison Milbank has written the book Chesterton and Tolkien as Theologians exploring the work of these towering figures. In this interview, we delve into how beautiful art, and specifically great works of fiction, can kindle in us a sense for the mystery of beauty, until the whole world resembles a grand work of art

Changing times …



I believe this book would have had more, not less, appeal to the general serious reader if some of the carousing had been cut in favour of further discussion of the ways in which the economic structures of publishing have changed, and not in favour of the writer. In 2018 the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society found that authors’ real incomes had dropped 42 per cent since 2005; according to figures from 2016 from the Publishers Association, authors received just 3 per cent of publisher turnover in a market worth £5.1bn; that same year, profits for major publishers headed towards the 13 per cent mark. Things are unlikely to have improved in the intervening half-decade.

More woke nonsense …

… JOHN NOLTE: Washington Post Op-Ed Demands Name Change at George Washington University.

Lest we forget …

… The Richmond Observer - OPINION: R.I.P Randy Weaver: Ruby Ridge is not forgotten.

Solzhenitsyn and Covid …

… Diseased Politics and Politicized Disease - Public Discourse.

While the Soviet Union presented a single, state-enforced tribe, our COVID-era tribes are largely dispersed. Even though certain views of the disease received a state imprimatur through the CDC recommendations, there were many contesting views of the virus from the beginning. Everyone instantly became a scientific expert by deciding which set of scientific authorities were the only true scientists. When the scientists at the CDC and the scientists who signed the Great Barrington declarationdisagreed, everyone knew which group was the real scientists and which group was people just engaged in political theater. Suddenly, everyone had scientific expertise on biology and mathematical models of infectious diseases and thus knew which set of scientists were right. It was only the other side that was denying the science.

Ah, fame …

… How Fame Fed on Edna St. Vincent Millay | The New Yorker. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

During the nineteen-tens and twenties, Millay achieved the kind of fame that was unusual for a poet then and unthinkable now. Before the age of the movie star, she became America’s first starlet. Her books of poems sold out their print runs. She wrote feverishly, working on short stories, plays, a libretto, a novel. She was photographed and interviewed; she was invited to lecture; she won the Pulitzer Prize and became rich. When she published the sonnet sequence “Fatal Interview” (1931), which was inspired by an affair with the much younger poet George Dillon, it sold fifty thousand copies, Great Depression be damned.