Tuesday, September 30, 2008

GEIST: A Canadian Magazine . . .

. . . well-known for its high-rent class and kiss-my-ass sass.

Geist offers readers and writers the op to be on top (in the department of postcard-fiction competitions). I've written mine; it's called "She Likes the Dick." ('Nuff stuff said.)

Ms. Monroe's Grocery Lists (but Not a Lot Concerning Lips Her Lips Have Kissed)

One of The Toronto Star's stars, Peter Howell, sparkles in this searing assessment of those who adamantly like it hot (or not).

Who said, Who can be innocent again on this mountain of skulls (or very close to this paraphrase)? Not me; just wish I'd done so. Howell's divagations provide an interesting smorgasbord when it comes to food for thought. Enjoy!

Murder, She Wrote

When it comes to P. D. James, patience is a victory.

Following in Frank's Banned-BookSteps:

This is, according to its headline, another take on the phenomenon.

The piece cites Fahrenheit 451 as an example of an adaptation of a banned book; but, banned books and censored films — issuing from, ultimately, subjective rulings — have always been available, one way or another (usually at an inflated price). Is there such a creature as a white market? I can think of a handful of examples in both media; but, my knowledge of such items is woefully inadequate (because I have banned anything to do with banning from my parallel worldview).

Fortunately, such is not the case with the American Library Association which, as part of its contribution to "Banned Books Week," provides surfers with a comprehensive overview of [deleted by the PCeity] . . .

Blogging hiatus ...

... I just spent the day at The Inquirer. Order has been restored to the book room. Unfortunately, the bug I have been skirmishing with is proving tougher than I anticipated. In fact, I feel quite awful and am going to spend the remainder of the day - and all night - in bed. Blogging will resume once I am again up and about.

OK, isthmussy and smartass maybe, but insular and ignorant?

One more word outa this guy and I'm gonna start wearing my flag lapel pin again.

STOCKHOLM, Sweden — The man who announces the Nobel Prize in literature says
the United States is too “insular” and ignorant to compete with Europe when it
comes to great writing.
In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Horace Engdahl said
Tuesday that “Europe still is the center of the literary world.”
Engdahl is the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, which selects the
literature prize winner. He is expected to announce the winner in the coming
Engdahl says the U.S. “is too isolated, too insular” and doesn’t really
“participate in the big dialogue of literature.”
Since Japanese poet Kenzaburo Oe won in 1994, the selections have had a
distinct European flavor. The last American winner was Toni Morrison in 1993.

A chat ...

... with biographer Richard Holmes. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

His Coleridge biographies are wonderful.

Nige reports ...

... from Devon.

A neat interview ...

... with Stephen Dixon. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I forget my novels soon as they’re published ...

I understand this perfectly. I tend to forget what I've written as soon as I've finished it.

Anniversary list ...

... Roy and Lesley Adkins's top 10 Nelson books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

What is amazing is that, in this vulgar age, we continue to honor someone like Nelson.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Banned Books Week ...

... Banned Books Week a thorny issue. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

... Banned books celebration promotes freedom of expression.

This week's ...

... Philly Book Scene.

City boys ...

... In Conversation: Richard Price and Junot Díaz.

Terribly sad ...

... The tragedy of Mr Toad. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I never knew this.

Attending others ...

... ‘What We Love, Not Are.” (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

O'Hara was a lapsed Roman Catholic who detached himself cleanly and almost guiltlessly from his religious past. He lost all interest in Catholic theology and morals, but retained an aesthetic sensibility in which saints, shrines, relics, and rituals from wildly different centuries and cultures exist in a single harmonious texture of mutual adoration and love. The abrupt leaps from one object or person to another may look like the arbitrary leaps in Ashbery's poetry, but they have a logic founded in a Catholic sensibility that persisted after O'Hara discarded Catholicism.

Once a Catholic, always a Catholic - in some way or another.

I'll have to work on it ...

... Book Review of: The Idler’s Glossary.

Spotty blogging ...

... I still don't feel so hot, and I have this dinner to work on, so will be here only from time to time.

Transcendence ...

... The Incommunicable Glory.

Not all grumpy ...

... Doodles show lighter side of grumpy Larkin. (Hat tip, Dave Lull, who also sends along this link.)

This reminds me ...

... of Woody Allen's "If the Impressionists Had Been Dentists": ‘Rules’ author bites back.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Almost American ...

... Stephen Fry on the road. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Insufficiently transcendent ...

... Hudson River Schooled.

Sick bay report ...

... I have scheduled some posts for later, but by the time they appear I will have long since taken to my bed.

A perfect pair ...

... Clive James talks with Tom Stoppard. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

This really is great.

And not necessarily ...

... for the better: How Murder has Changed. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Kay Ryan ...

... at the National Book Festival. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Not about books ...

... but worth our attention because it is so worrisome - and especially because probably no one will be inclined to do anything about it: How China has created a new slave empire in Africa. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

I am increasingly inclined to withdraw from the world, read the classics, and prepare for my passing - but some things just demand your attention. This must be something upon which the brothers Hitchens agree.

What's been happening ...

... The week in books. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

Religion of peace ...

... strikes again: Muslim gang firebombs publisher of Allah novel, Martin Rynja. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I await the passionate denunciations that will surely come from Muslim leaders all over the globe.

Light blogging today ...

... I'm fighting off a cold and I have a big dinner to prepapre for tomorrow night. So I'll be here only from time to time.

Another viewpoint ...

... Why We're Here. (Hat tip, Ed Champion.)

Mortality and whiskey ...

... Give Me Liberty and Give Me Death. (Hat tip, Dave Lull - and Paul Davis.)

Centennial notice ...


Today's Inquirer reviews ...

John Timpane on Thomas Friedman:
How the green path can lead to a stronger, wealthier nation

Susan Balee on Marilynne Robinson: Fine writing can't disguise the dullness.

Caroline Berson on Alafair Burke: Female detective back on the case.

Henry Gee on Stuart Kauffman: Hail, ceaseless complexity.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Blogging interrupted ...

... by the time this post appears, Debbie and I will probably be on our way out of Delaware, counting - I hope - our winnings. Blogging on my part unlikely to resume before tomorrow.

A discovery ...

... 'All the new beginnings...'

Beats me ...

... but it sounds plausible: Does John le Carré's bitterness of Britain stem from his jailbird father and the mother who abandoned him? (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

Though, why not try blaming your father and your mother?

The value of concentration ...

... on Radical Vernacular: Lorine Niedecker and the Poetics of Place. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The romantic next door ...

... or, The Roustabout. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The Poe Wars (cont'd.) ...

... A podcast featureing Ed Pettit: Scholars debate whether Edgar Allan Poe's body belongs in Baltimore.

Plus: Further dispatches.

Good news ...

... Purrfect ending in Fla. to Hemingway cats battle. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

The future of publishing (cont'd.) ...

... Of digital publishing and goldfish. (Hat tip, Maxine Clarke.)

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Duke as artist ...

... John Wayne, the man inside the myth. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

The complete set ...

... T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Modern master ...

... Dr. Johnson, Reconsidered. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

It's everywhere ...

... Poetry Bailout Will Restore Confidence of Readers. (Hat tip, Jim Carmin.)

Unresolved ...

... Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls? (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Then again, who wrote the Book of Love?

The lure of crime ...

... Film still on the crest of a crimewave. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

TLS poem of the week ...

... Pretty, by Stevie Smith.

Bigger than ever ...

... The mountains of Les Miserables.

A nice getaway ...

... Arrival in Middle-earth. (Hat tip, Maxine Clarke.)

A very useful tip ...

... The Mother of All Search Functions. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Sharp and clear ...

... Mental Imagery: The Power of the Mind’s Eye. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

On blogging ...

... What on a Wednesday -- Clare Dudman. (Hat tip, Maxine Clarke.)

Radiohead announces

new remix possibilities. The band made "stems" of its song "Reckoner" (the individual instrument tracks and other elements of the song) available to people who wished to remix it, then created this website, where remixers could upload their songs to share them with the world. You can listen to the uploaded remixes there. Neat, huh? Word to the wise, if you download the stems and listen to them individually, prepare for the fright of your life when you hear Tom Yorke yowling a capella stylee. Yikes. Now they've made the stems of the song "Nude" available for the same purposes. Have at it, musicians of the future.

Aleady dead?

... Is e-literature just one big anti-climax? (Hat tips to Maxine Clarke and Lee Lowe.)

On this date ...

... in 1888, Thomas Stearns Eliot was born. Here is a passage from "Little Gidding":

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph.

Those cool Neanderthals ...

... New research shows Neanderthals enjoyed surf and turf.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Dodge Poetry Festival


The Amazing Mary Gets All Dolled Up . . .

Apart from Books, Inq.: The Epiblogue, Dr. Mary Beard's A Don's Life ranks as one of my all-time numero-uno bloggerunoes. Something-special-delivery plus; and, her latest, "Paupers Go Shopping on Rodeo Drive," shows (not tells) why. On that wall, I would give my eye-specs to be a-buzzin' fly.

Fashion smashion.

However, speaking of same, I withdraw my vote for Linda Grant's scooping of The Man Booker, on purely pauperly grounds. (I'm more a Mary than a Linda type, I guess. Anyone familiar with the symbolism and significance of those names in literature will additionally see the appropriateness of why this is so important to me.) Laboutins sounds like a meal (or twenty) to me, something to do with button-bow pasta, tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese, methinks.

Sorry? You've not seen her blog, neither? Read it and remember why high couture is also very steep. (One of Mary's commentarians, Tony Francis, offers the kind of advice only a man would give, thank the Lard.)

CONFIDENTIAL to DR. MB: Congrats on the raves for the new book, Goddess :).

An interview ...

... with Francine Prose.


David Blaine proves yet again he knows from thinking on his feat.

Alice Fishburn, in The Times, pulls out all the stops and waxes sublime on why Blaine's "stunts" are a kinda hoodwinking crime:

What self-respecting producer would let him die while children eat their TV dinners?

(Couldn't have said it better myself; so, I won't.)

Post Up-Bumped.

The latest batch ...

... of TLS Letters - Darwin, Florence Nightingale, and more!

See also Thomas Hardy's new novel: it's his best yet.

In Critical Condition (Again)

The debts are mounting; the shareholders are squabbling; the crisis is spreading. Whoever is to blame, a bailout is surely essential. Tribune magazine cannot be allowed to fold.

The last holdout (with a circulation of some four-thousand), it seems, is on life support. It needs a capital(ist) infusion, STAT!

Lunch with Rus ...

... I had lunch with Rus Bowden this afternoon. He was on his way up from the South to the Dodge Poetry Festival. I treated him to a real Philly cheesesteak and we spent a couple of hours chatting about all and sundry in what used to be my book room at The Inquirer. I'm going to be there for a couple of days trying to restore order to it so that John Timpane, who is doing the honors for books these days, will be able to find what's up for review. Meeting with Rus is just one more example of the value of blogging. I wouldn't know Rus except for blogging. But even before we laid eyes on each other we knew we had a lot in common. This establishing of contact between people is something whose potential hasn't begun to manifest itself. But the process of organizing that it suggest is taking place could prove to have more impact that anyone currently imagines. At any rate, I had a great time - Rus is great guy, sharp and down to earth - and I hope Rus did as well, and that he reached his destination safely.

On the record ...

... The Long and Short of That Records Book. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Cabbages and kings ...

... King Richard II's recipe book to go online. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A Maxine roundup ...

...Authors and Wall St, conferences, and podcasts.

21st century medieval ...

... Medieval literary treasures to go online. (Also via Bookninja.)

Announcing the Recipient . . .

. . . of the $10,000 Harbourfront Festival Prize, an honour awarded annually to an individual who has made "a substantial contribution to the world of books and writing."


Vancouver novelist and memoirist Wayson Choy (The Jade Peony, All That Matters, and Paper Shadows: A Chinatown Childhood).

Updates ...

... on the Poe Wars.

See also Master of darkness evermore. (Via Bookninja.)

"We LOVE Guardian Angels" (Australians)

Faith, Belief, or Déjà-Voodoo?

"More than half of people surveyed believe they are protected by a guardian angel and two in three are certain that heaven exists, according to a study of religious beliefs."

Not what you might think ...

... `My Ideal Scenery'.

My earliest years were spent in the shadow of factories and I still find paintings of industrial scenes compelling and beautiful.

Whither Burnt Head's Kenneth J. Harvey?

This list, posted over a month ago, has hot-and-bothered me, not because of who made the grade; but, because it doesn't include the great Kenneth J. Harvey (who is, as many of you know, on the Giller Thriller this year). There isn't a writer on this list I'd turf from it; but, it's not complete (and won't be) until KJH is added to it (for so many reasons, NTM so many wonderful novels and short stories).

Yeah, he's not quiet; and, obviously, he's never going to be, either. Plus, why should he be? Someone explain *that* to me (preferably in this century).

Visit www.kennethjharvey.com (and, no problem; happy to be of tip service).

Pondering ...

... Coincidence.

Good News for Canadian Public Broadcasting

It seems the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation finally got something right when it acquired the distinguished Denise Donlan to head up its operations.

Watch out NPR! She's very good; she'll take the Mother Corp to a brighter notch of inclusive egalitarian star. (You heard it here first.)

IOW, it'll happen quickly and it'll go far.

Here's a peek-see 'view of what's in store for each and all of you:

From Podcasting to air-chair blasting, she's already on the monies and off the charts.

The Crime Scene: A Great Pair

Do you feel lucky?

Since Bosch got his first name partially from Harry 'Dirty Harry' Callahan, you know the punks he encounters are in for a hard day when they smugly point out that they have more rights than Captain Ahab's sock drawer.

In L.A., when cops dispense with due process and take matters into their own hands, it's called "the brass verdict"; in Northern Ontario, the phenomenon's called "redneck justice." Seems it's a universal, no matter which way you scope it. Glad poetry's my game (and poetic justice is my ownly aim [for which I have a licence . . . given to me by Coach House Press . . . Egawds! . . . thirty-three years ago]).

Nope. Thirty-three ain't a lucky number in my books, not in all thirty-three of 'em . . . Good thing my Ed.'s got my back :).

Wow ...

... Living Jellies.

At the Jackdaw's Nest ...

... 12 More Poems I've Liked.

Haven't we ...

... heard this before: Jeanette Winterson on her preference for real rather than e-books.

See also E-Lit Dead, Film at 11.

A chat ...

... with Jon Katz about dogs.

Another review ...

... of Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town by Mary Beard.

In the picture, doesn't the fellow on the right look a bit like George Michael?

Worth repeating ...

... One Year On?

For myself, his greatest legacy was that he embodied the true meaning of education - not something you pick up at school and university and are done with, but a lifelong exploration, as natural as breathing, and ending only with the breath.

More ...

... on James Crumley.

The Rebirth of a Suicidal Genius

Thomas James a.k.a. Thomas Bojeski (1946-1974):

When I come home the garden will be budding,
White petals breaking open, clusters of night flowers,
The far-off music of a tambourine.
A boy will pace among the passionflowers,
His eyes no longer two bruised surfaces.
I’ll know the mouth of my young groom, I’ll touch
His hands. Why do people lie to one another?

— "Mummy of a Lady Named Jemutesonekh," Letters to a Stranger

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The future of publishing (cont'd.) ...

... Book trailers. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The future of publishing ...

... U-M at forefront of new era in publishing. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Digging deep ...

... Mary Beard's skillful excavation of Pompeii: Passing the dormouse test.

A librarian's world ...

... A Universe of Books: Borges's 'Library of Babel'. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Warning: perishable ...

... Book-Burning and Other Bibliocausts. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

But we knew that ...

... that "poetry is higher than Logic, and that the union of the two is Philosophy."

See Letter to Thomas Carlyle dated 5th July 1833: "I am not in the least a poet, in any sense; but I can do homage to poetry. I can to a very considerable extent feel it and understand it, and can make others who are my inferiors understand it in proportion to the measure of their capacity. I believe that such a person is more wanted than even the poet himself; that there are more persons living who approximate to the latter character than to the former. I do not think myself at all fit for the one; I do for the other; your walk I conceive to be the higher."

The Ampersand's Daily Dose of High- & Low-Downs

Ronald Nurwisah's usually better edited than his Blog Post National suggests; someone (not moi) oughtta tell the guy Lucy Maud Montgomery wasn't two or more persons. I suppose the punct. threw him into conniptiousness . . . (He prolly thought "Maud" and "Montgomery" oughtta sport a hyphen.)

It may beggar the agrestical among us; but, at the risk of sounding elitist, RN rescues himself from utter contemptuous caliginosity when he discusses the pair of genius recipients of the prestigious Macarthur Fellowships. Kudo (as Alanis says)!

His Bobness Jumps on the BookWagon

"Bob Dylan is lending his support to the Canwest Raise-a-Reader Concert Series. The iconic singer-songwriter, poet, and author [not to mention artist], will donate partial proceeds from ticket sales of his upcoming Canadian tour to the programme."

Little red wagon, little re(a)d book-time?

p.s. See? Mfmmffm . . . ic . . . o . . . no! Whatever happened to a legend in his own mind? A rebel without applause? Anything else, puhleese!

Crime dynasty ...

... Elmore Leonard: son of a gun in the family business. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

Mark your calendar ...

... BookFest is Coming!

Note that our friend Jen Miller will be among the featured authors.

Trio ...

... Sylvia and Ted and Edward.

Yes, nice to reminded Plath was a poet, and that Thomas was one of the best.

Mark your calendar ...

... Ave! Radio station to air show in Latin.

Master of oddities ...

... Oliver Sacks: A Still Restless Mind at Age 75. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Multiple selves ...

... The facts about fictions. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Party time ...

... with Richard III.


National; Punctuation. Day!!!

From France to Franzen ...

... Too Cool for Oprah.

You can't make this up ...

... Sockpuppeting civil servant Wikifiddles himself. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Canada's Shaw Festival Looks Forward (in Anger)?

S-o-o-o . . ., asks J. Kelly Nestruck, who did say of G. Bernard Shaw, that he "writes like a Pakistani who had learned English when he was twelve years old in order to become a chartered accountant?"

(Far be it for me to wreck this day in this gorgeous sun-wonderfilled neck of the world, considering I see a dentist in my very near future . . . Ack! Gasp! OMGulp . . . I'm so excited, I hope I don't piss my petunias [on my multi-floral longjohns, natch. This is THE NEAR NORTH, after F/all].)

Keira Knightley Fingered for Upcoming Fitzgerald Biopic:

The red-hot British actress is in negotiations to play Zany Zelda, the wife American novelist F, Scott Fitzgerald took in 1920 (or so reports say).

The film, The Beautiful and Damned, examines the relationship between the author of The Great Gatsby and Zelda Sayre (immemmortalised in a biography penned by Nancy Milford, BTW).

An Excellent Canadian Periodic Trio 4 U-O from ME-O:


The Walrus

January Magazine

Plus, for those who cannot live without yet another LitList, January obligingly features a comprehensive compendium of the best of the readable twentieth century, PARTS UNO et DUO.

To Ireland with Love; er, Kim B? (Not So Flippin' Fast . . .)

For bitter or worse?

Alec Baldwin's book rails and argurants against family courts when it comes to who gets the goldmine and who gets the shaft in the aftermath of messy divorces; BION, I think a great follow-up concerning who gets the dawg, budgie, cat, hamster, parrot, gerbil, etc., ought to be next on his should-exist list of who gets kissed versus who gets right royally pissed.

Let's begin ...

... A Guide to Literature From Wasilla, Alaska.

Beats Philip Roth.

See also Poetry for Palin. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Zoë Heller: Rationalism versus Faith

The meta-morphing author of Notes on a Scandal, Zoë Heller, speaks candidly with Sam Leith concerning her newest, The Believers (as well as achieving loftier heights after the afore-mentioned Notes was itself transformed into a multi-nominated film starring Dame Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, and the fabulous Bill Nighy**).*

Additionally, Holly Kyte aims for the heart of the matter of faith versus rationalism in her accompanying review of Heller's already optioned current:

"The challenge of modernity is to live without illusions and without becoming disillusioned." So begins Heller's third novel with the words of Marxist heavyweight Antonio Gramsci.

"It's a nuanced epigraph for a nuanced tale," notes Kyte further, "an observant and unsentimental family drama that pits rationalism against faith (in numerous guises) and thrashes out those doubts, disappointments, and unpleasant truths that can leave a person jaded."

* For those among us with a yen for a view of that trailer, it's tagged with this teaser: "One Woman's Mistake Is Another's Opportunity"

** Abso-Fabso Doff of the Cap-Tip, Susan B. :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Beyond rationality ...

... Everything is connected. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The curious nature of Bateson's "epistemological" approach was that it prevented him from proposing remedies to the problems he identified. His thinking contained a kind of catch-22: the conscious mind, his own included, was of its nature incapable of grasping the vast system of which it was only a very small and far from representative part; hence any major intervention to "solve" a given problem would always be ill-informed and inadvisable. ... Dreams, religious experience, art, love - these were the phenomena that still had power, Bateson thought, to undermine the rash/rational purposeful mind.

I confess my own thinking has been heading in this direction.

Borges and the Stones ...

... Exile on Maipu Street. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Well, they ought to ...

... Can professors really keep politics out of their classes?

I had a history professor in college who was quite open about his partisan leanings. I found I instinctively doubted his take on history.

Well appointed ...


Great bad guys ...

... and gals: 50 greatest villains in literature. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Moby Dick is a villain?

No holds barred ...

... Three-pronged battle among the forces of irony, cynicism and idealism.

Secret revealed ...

... The heartbreaking truth about Anne's creator.

Typewriter nostalgia ...

... Type me up, type me down.

I do not miss the typewriter. I remain a pretty lousy typist and find working at a computer much more enjoyable, if only because of the speed with which I can correct my errors.

Upondering the Imponderable

Sam Leith attempts to make sense of the insensible in his latest bloggadocio (which plumbs new depths when it comes to oxymoronica) considering the idea of Polly Toynbee as a stylist. Read 'im (in The Telegraph) 'n' wither . . . Polly wanna nut-cracker?

I suppose so ...

... if you have a largely conventional mind: The 75 Books Every Man Should Read. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I remember when Esquire was worth reading. There are some good books on this list, and plenty that are not so good. Here's where the conventionality shows: If you know your Henry Miller, you know that Tropic of Capricorn is better than Tropic of Cancer.

Check out ...

... his way.

Pay a visit ...

... The Diary Junction Blog.

Great piece ...

... Alfred Hitchcock: modest exhibitionist.

Art and war ...

... Terry Teachout's Almanac.

Not progressive at all ...

... regressive, in fact:PHYSICIST FRANK TIPLER ON LARRY TRIBE on physics and law.

Triumph of reason ...

... France Loses its Head (1793).

Also: Happy birthday, Euripides.

Nice opening gambit ...

... "No offence, Taoiseach ... but you're talking out of your hole."

Triple play ...

... Menand on Trilling, Sorokin on the queue, Charles Taylor on us.

How's this ...

... for class?

The Odd of Small Things

So, why has Mr. Janzen spent the summer building an 80-square-foot "tiny house" out of free stuff he found on craigslist.com?

When I suggested this option to my X-IT all those starter-housing years ago, he hardy-har-hard; they call 'em Granny Flats* in Canada (and, I could have bought one outright for less than four grand, g-r-r . . .). Wait a minute, mebbe I'll winterise my workshop (which has a lovely loft) and rent my house that didn't sell (because the prospective buyers thought *it* was too small)? Wasn't it Groucho Marx who said, The problem with this world is there are too many people and too much stuff in it? (Okay, that coulda been me, especially in the morning, having spent too many of 'em with a surly riser.)

* Hrm . . . They oughtta call 'em Maw-in-Law Aparts [*BEG*] . . .

Reading and writing ...


Artist Francis Bacon Packs a Punch (Not a Box Lunch)

He may be the newly crowned darling of the auction world, but Francis Bacon's work can still raise the hairs on your neck.

Worth a Cyber 'View

One of Canada's longest-lasting and most upstanding literary journals is now more online than off. Visit Canadian Literature's website and have a long and lovely gander at everything you're not likely to see in the daily media. And, FWIW, the hard-copy journal's always beautifully made with its contents thoughtfully displayed. Accepts queries and over-the-transom submissions. Often called the best in the west.

Monday, September 22, 2008

If Flattery's to Be or Not to Be Imitation, Whoa . . . Is . . . Me :(

Ruth Wajnrb of The Sydney Morning Herald invites you to participate in the transition from bag and baggage to hug and huggage via Shakespeare's milk of human kindness. <---- Another of the Bard's originals, BTW.

Nice to know we've got readers in OzLand, considering that's where most of the Wilsons live, right, Franks? Right. (Right.)

Remembering Dick Sudhalter ...

... Richard M. Sudhalter, R.I.P.

... Almanac (in memoriam).

Real professional ...


And people wonder why newspapers are in trouble. Well this one's supposed to be the paper of record.

Harry Who? Da Vinci's What?
Pfft! Yesterday's Noise . . .

"Brisingr is the much-anticipated third book in the Inheritance Cycle fantasy series by young American author Christopher Paolini, who penned the first instalment, Eragon, when he was 15."

Neat ...

... Sitting on the dock of the bay.

Not the usual ...

... but still All Natural. (Hat tip, Maxine Clarke.)

The lastest issue ...

... of Autumn Sky Poetry.

Raising an objection ...

... Tom Clark, Director of the Center for Naturalism, sent me this piece in reference to my review of Julian Barnes' new book: Don't Forget About Me:Avoiding Demoralization by Determinism.

It doesn't work for me, but it's a serious piece and deserves serious consideration. (But the whole debate brings to mind a favorite quote from my favorite determinist: "Ahab is forever Ahab, man. This whole act's immutably decreed. `Twas rehearsed by thee and me a billion years before this ocean rolled. Fool! I am the Fates' lieutenant; I act under orders. Look thou, underling! that thou obeyest mine.")

Once upon a time ...

... The Secrets of Storytelling. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

See also A History of the Future of Narrative: Robert Coover. (Hat tip, Lee Lowe.)

When to bow out ...

... When writers should put a full stop to their careers. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Jacques Brel was one of those rare artists who knew when to quit.

Advance notice ...

... tomorrow is John Coltrane's birthday: John Coltrane, Michael S. Harper, and Amiri Baraka: Jazz Music and Poetry.

Three from Nige ...

A Commotion.

Birds and Words.

Herbert and Chuck.

My kind of guy ...

... David Berlinski Challenges Everyone. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Implicit in his attacks on the shaky mathematical foundations of evolutionary biology and big-bang cosmology is a sense that these theories have become, over the years, not tentative hypotheses open to questioning and testing, but reigning dogmas that are defended with the anathemas and prohibitions on heresies the medieval church employed to suppress doubt. The mandarins of contemporary science have become, Mr. Berlinski believes, as closed-minded as the fundamentalists of religion, their theories of origins as much creationist myths as the creationists'.

The paradoxes of creativity ...

... The Creative Personality.

(Via Dr. Helen.)

For Levi Stahl ...

Pissaro's Apple Picking.

Two for one ...

... Slaughter in England.

Wish list ...

... Nigel Beale's Soon-to-be-published books I’m interested in Reviewing.

'Twas ever thus (cont'd) ...

... “There’s safety in numbers, when you learn to divide.”

Let's start heavy ...

... Science's claim to be free of faith is 'manifestly bogus'.

'All science proceeds on the assumption that nature is ordered in a rational and intelligible way.'

How can that be if it all the result of chance?

The Poetry Show Scoops an Emmy®

Pushing the envelope, please. HBO and the Poetry Foundation teamed up to win an Emmy® for Outstanding Children's Programme. Watch Classical Baby (I'm Grown Up Now): The Poetry Show @ the Foundation's Online 'Site.

(Also, while you're cyber-strolling there, you'll discover many more A/V treats now available for those among us who continue to care when it comes to ogling such rare poetic fare.)

Fresh Helen Humphreys: Coventry

Helen Humphreys, the genuine article, brings her unique POV to the way in which so-called ordinary civilians respond to extraordinary catastrophes beyond their control in her latest fictional foray (again set in London, UK; but, this time, addressing events surrounding "the Luftwaffe bombing raid that destroyed the ancient Coventry cathedral"). This is one I look forward to savouring; Humphreys, who resides in Kingston, ON, writes like no other dame and has worked the trenches on her own terms to achieve both critical and (some) commercial acclaim.

Unknown Mozart Score Unknown No More

A library in Nantes, France has discovered a musical score handwritten by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (c. 1787) in its archives, its town-hall spokesperson announced Thursday. A second round of tests will authenticate the find. Stay, well, tuned :).

Sunday, September 21, 2008

That Singer-Songwriter, Poet, Novelist, Ol' Guy I Adore?

Today, LEONARD NORMAN COHEN turned 74.

Happy birthday, Ol' Leo con brio.

May you enjoy many many many many many more, Grandpa <*beam*>.

Love, Ol' Judith

For Me, Something Beyond the Words Remains

For Me, Something Beyond the Words Remains (Two)

Can I tell you something confidentially? RICK GROEN epitomised brilliance when I worked alongside him at The Globe and Mail fulltime during the early eighties; his film reviews were reviews of film, not him; in fact, I used to study them, I so admired his writing. It was from him I learned never to use the first-person singular (nor the editorial "we," as far as that goes); and, for those who understand its meaning, I picked up a trick or two about journalistic architecture. Additionally, at present, The Globe's "REVIEW" section might best be described as doubly blessed, given the fact its editor is now Andrew Gorham (whom I can't help but suspect has had a hand in slugging Groen's assessment of the inimitable David Foster Wallace).

(A brief aside: For me, this distinction provides the best definition between traditional literary journalism and blogging I can discover. Blogging, I've learned, is completely first-personal, perhaps because of the immediacy of the experience, perhaps in defiance of "the rules" we learned all those years ago.)

That said, allow me to add Rick's genuine self-deprecation in this extraordinarily original and unique take on David Foster Wallace does its subject grand justice; and, in a way, it electrifies yours truly. His appreciation marks, in my recollection, one of the few times I've ever seen him go to the first-person in almost thirty years of following his luminous wordworks, making of it a response to an event that shall indelibly remain as incandescent as his hope and fear for a better tomorrow brightly shines here, porous with the notion that we are, indeedly, all un-alone.

Enjoy one of the currently ravaged and savaged art's true masters.

Under the wire ...

... Sunday Salon: Maj Sjowall and a lost fire engine.

Fascinating ...

... Haiku Poems by Richard Wright. (Via Quid Plura.)

Patrick's on a roll ...

... over at Anecdotal Evidence. So just keep scrolling

Gone forever ...

... Last of the Neanderthals.

The noonday devil ...

... Kathleen Norris battles 'the demon of acedia'. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I actually had a brush with this fellow recently myself. In my usual shallow way I just went with his urgings to do nothing much for a few days and when that didn't seem to be going anywhere very interesting started puttering my way back to something resembling normality.

Forget Poets Laureate; Bring in the Head of a Thinker Royal

Michael Gove of The Times avers he loves poetry, "but the days when it was the primary mode of public discourse are long gone."

R.I.P./oetry <*sniff*> . . .

Guys just wanna have fun ...

... but that won't make men out of them: Man and Sillyman. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

An abundance of crime ...

... Update from the FriendFeed crime fiction room.

Sounds sound ...

... The Thinker. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

“Look, if the core is really going to matter for a student’s education, they need genuine exposure to that discipline,” he told me a few minutes before class. “You’re not giving them ‘the core’ if what you’re giving them is some sugarcoated simulacrum of philosophy that you’ve decided they can swallow.”


The plot thickens ...

... E.M. Forster on Plot, against Aristotle.

Forster obviously understands fiction. He does not obviously understand Aristotle, for whom action was not necessarily physical. Aristotle would have understood mental and emotional activity as action of a sort.

Two chats ....

... with Tom Stoppard:

Stoppard, Zizka and Czechoslovakia.

Writer and fighter. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Check out ...

... BookwormHole. Lots of reviews to be found there.

Pretty impressive ...

Some good news ...

... on the book review front: Kansas City Star Keeps Book Editor.

Online narrative ...

... 217 Babel St.

'Twas ever thus ...

... Government Bailouts: A U.S. Tradition Dating to Hamilton.

Faulty simile exposed ...

... A Shorter Sings.

Nige said it first ...

... but it's good to hear Robert Hughes say it as well: Day of the dead.
For future customers, Hirst has a number of smaller sharks waiting in large refrigerators, and one of them is currently on show in its tank of formalin in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Inert, wretched and wrinkled, and already leaking the telltale juices of its decay, it is a dismal trophy of - what? Nothing beyond the fatuity of art-world greed. The Met should be ashamed. If this is the way America's greatest museum brings itself into line with late modernist decadence, then heaven help it, for the god Neptune will not.


Worth the wait ...

... Bryan meets Marilynne Robinson: world’s best writer of prose. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Today's Inquirer reviews ...

... "I" review "Julian Barnes": Diverting thoughts on Grim Reaper.

... Cleveland novelist again sets a crime thriller in Phila.

... Defending vaccines in the autism debate.

... Bernanke at halftime: Deserving of some credit.

Let's start ...

... with something edifying: Architecture and Autism. (Hat tip, Maxine Clarke.)

OMGasp! Scholastic Canada Bans Lil' Bratz

Don't this just bugger comprehension?

Scholastic Canada, this country's largest distributor of children's books to our schools, decided to yank all its Bratz books after "parents and psychologists complained the controversial dolls promoted 'precocious sexuality.'"


This just makes such good good sense for literacy, don't it? Turn da lil' ones off books; send 'em to Toys 'R' Us, da boobtube, or da 'Net; anything but reading when it comes to getting their insatiable eyeful of da Dancin' Divas 'n' da Catwalkin' Queenies, eh? Riiiiiiiight!

Quel fromage :(.

Ted Gioia's Brilliant Posthumous Riff on David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest

A heartbreakingly joyous assessment of stun-wondrous gorgeosity to the Nth degree which doesn't once deploy the word "genius," FWIW, except in reffing the title of a work by another Wallace admirer: Ted Gioia's Latest True-Blue "New Canon" Entry: David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest.

"By any definition, and not just word count, Infinite Jest is a big novel. Big in its aspirations, big in its scope, big in what it delivers," observes Mr. Gioia. "Yet," he astutely continues, "this flamboyant novel is also one of the most down-to-earth books you will ever read. At its very core, this book is a critique of flashiness and attitude, and argues for a healthy distrust of irony and intellectualising."

Whoa . . . Standing Oh! It is to live for :) . . .

Saturday, September 20, 2008

In Henry's steps ...

... Tracking Thoreau Through Maine’s ‘Grim and Wild’ Land. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Gwen has climbed Mount Katahdin.

Constable country ...

... Suffolk Saunter. (Hat tip, Maxine Clarke.)

Give me Constable over just about any of the French Impressionists (the exception would be Sisley - and he was English.)

What to make of this ...

... O O Oprah Redux. (Hat tip, Maxine Clarke.)

The Dilemma Affecting Those Who Write and Teach

David Gessner, author of several volumes including Return of the Osprey, A Wild Rank Place, Sick of Nature, and Soaring With Fidel, teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington; here, in an equivocatory think-piece for The New York Times, he wrestles with being torn between wild-worryness and world-weariness to surprising effect (on the eve of achieving tenure at a clean well-pensioned place boasting an enviable leisurely and enlightening pace).

Reading vs. skimming ...

... Online Literacy Is a Lesser Kind. (Hat tip, Le Lowe.)

See oneself ...

... as another does: 'Be my Boswell'. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Bye bye ...

... Gains Of 30 Years Wiped Out.

See also Sounds like a science-fiction thriller.

A handsome fellow ...

... Autumn Days.

So you want to be a writer ...

... well, here's Tom's Glossary of Book Publishing Terms. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Who you callin' credulous?

... Look Who's Irrational Now. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

According to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life's monumental "U.S. Religious Landscape Survey" that was issued in June, 21% of self-proclaimed atheists believe in either a personal God or an impersonal force. Ten percent of atheists pray at least weekly and 12% believe in heaven.

Just hedging their bets, I guess.

[Maher] is a fervent advocate of pseudoscience. The night before his performance on Conan O'Brien, Mr. Maher told David Letterman -- a quintuple bypass survivor -- to stop taking the pills that his doctor had prescribed for him. He proudly stated that he didn't accept Western medicine. On his HBO show in 2005, Mr. Maher said: "I don't believe in vaccination. . . . Another theory that I think is flawed, that we go by the Louis Pasteur [germ] theory." He has told CNN's Larry King that he won't take aspirin because he believes it is lethal and that he doesn't even believe the Salk vaccine eradicated polio.

In short, he's a fool.

Speaking of ...

... He Who Must Not Be Named: A Bagatelle of Frivological Triviality. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

My only quibble here is that, insofar as I could grasp Stuart Kauffman's argument, I felt that he had the same problem as HWMNBN, that God is not necessary only in the sense in which Kauffman understands God. But I don't think Kauffman's own concept of a creator deity is sound. In other words, God is a creator, but not in the sense in which Kauffman (or creationists, for that matter) think.

More of the overrated ...

... Everyone's a Critic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I actually agree with some of these assessments. I've always thought The Catcher in the Rye was overrated. I don't know if The God Delusion is overrated, but it sure isn't very good. And as much I like Ulysses, I'm not at all sure it couldn't have used some editing.

Highly recommended ...

... Nino Infante: Dreams from Brooklyn.

Debbie and I got to see Nino Infante's work when we were on vacation. We were very impressed. We were also impressed by his poetry, some of which I hope to post here.
Remember, too, if you make it to the show, you get to see Betsy as well.

Happy 80th birthday ...

... to Donald Hall: Sound and Sense in Poetry.

Getting better known ...

... all the time: Novelist David Rhodes, Out of Print for Decades, Aims for a Comeback. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)


... and even the all-caps understates the case: The Endarkenment.

It has been said before, but it needs saying again. Scientific fundamentalism is no different from Islamist and Christianist fundamentalism. It is equally intolerant and an equal betrayal of the great institution from which it springs. We are, therefore, in the midst of The Endarkenment, an assault on reason by those who claim to be its greatest defenders.

This post is outstanding even for Bryan. (By the way, I have read Understanding the Present and it is superb.)

I might add that when Prof. Higgins talks about a "special creation" of human beings he seems to be thinking in Biblical literalist terms - God sculpts a human out of mud and breathes a soul into him. I don't think that literally happened in some garden long ago, either. But what that story tries to convey by means of metaphor could well be true - though I think understanding that involves a sort of knowledge different from scientific knowledge.

Neat pup ...

... this is Charley, as drawn by Gwen's daughter Sophie (twin sister of Emma).

Always useful ...

... a Literacy roundup.

He's resting now ...

... Book Binge.

Libraries in the news ...

... Camden council looks foolish. (Hat tip, Maxine Clarke.)

Ready . . . Aim . . . Fired Up!

Edinburgh's Canongate Publisher, Jamie Byng, yesterday announced the prestigious house just scooped the rights to Australian singer-songwriter Nick Cave's second novel, The Death of Bunny Munroe, "a multi-media package" slated to appear Fall 2009. (Cave's début, now considered a cult classic, And the Ass Saw the Angel, flew off bookstore shelves in 1989.)

Canongate plans a multimedia launch, with an audiobook narrated by Cave and an e-book — featuring a "soundscape" — launching simultaneously. A signed and numbered limited edition will also be available.

And, speaking of Canongate, visit its portal page, itself a thing of beauty (or a 'site for soar eyes); F5's your friend, hit it again and again:

"A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world."
— Oscar Wilde

Synchronise Your Matches

An Overview of Canada's Hottest Fall LitFests courtesy of the CBC; still, for some inexplicable reason, one of the real scorchers, Windsor's Annual BookFest, gets included out . . . FiXoReD :).

Sorry? As *somebody* so famously quip-lipped: Be spontaneous — Combust!

"You Don't Have To Drive Me Crazy / . . .

. . . I'm Close Enough To Walk."

Visit Open Culture for Dan Colman's Cornucopacetica of Contemporary Crazinesses . . . Where to Begin? Well, right at the top, "What It Feels Like To Have a Stroke (And More About Your Brain)" might do it for you; but, just keep scrolling, scrolling, scrolling . . . Marlene Dietrich, Free Downloads, DFW, Animated Poetry by US Poet Laureate Billy Collins ("The Dead"), Jerry Seinfield / Bill Gates Pitches, Father Guido Sarducci Publicises the Virtues of Art School, and So Much Insanely More to Absorb 'n' Adore.

Oprahiana Man-Oh-Mania!

David Wroblewski's Wisconsin farm tale, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, will surely hit the jackpot now Oprah's given the first novel from this 48-year-old Colorado software developer her official book-club seal of approval.

(It's a tough job; but, somebody's gotta rue it. As an antidote [versus dotes], there's always The Globe and Mail's dependable stand-alone treasury of bounteous bookerly beauts which this week features a fresh take on those curiouser and curiouser looking-glass pursuits.)

NEWS: Sweet Anne of Green Gables versus The Sad-but-True Blues

"The Heartbreaking Truth About Anne's Creator". Kate Macdonald Butler is the daughter of Stuart Macdonald (who was the youngest son of Ms. Montgomery). This entry comprises the next instalment in The Globe and Mail's extraordinarily brave and indubitably essential series, Breakdown, on mental health and illness in Canada. It is, IMO, without precedent for its unforgettable candour and searing humanity. Kudues to Editor-in-Chief Edward Greenspon's courage for featuring it.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday interview ...

... Painter Rachel Sharp. (Hat tip, Maxine Clarke.)

What's your pick?

... Guess Film … Win Prize …1968: Top 10 Films of that Tumultuous Year.

My own choice would be John Boorman's Hell in the Pacific.

An Online Redefinition of Realitition

Wordia grants cyber-surfers the opporturnity to create and share moving A/V pictures of their own definoes of any word in existence (or not); thus, if you don't know the meaning of "recrudesecration," say, you simply provide your own take on the sense it gives you and upload your interpresentation following the rules of the Wordia way.

I dunno; does "gasshole" mean something other than what it means to me (or, more importantly, you)? Or, how about "snorange," the über-neo invented to rhyme with "gorange," NTM "gaffaw," "democrit," "angiety," or "flustrating?"

Trumours, dastardeedly trumours; nothing more, nothingness, know less.

(Yes, I did, in fact, beat The Bard's wreckord; what's it to me? The Book of Eternity, ackshurlly.)

The novel, the story and home ...

... Wallace, Robinson, Beattie.

Look Ma, no hands ...

... Tempus Edax Rerum.

Ostensibly odd ...

... My one regret at having retired from the National Health Service is that I no longer receive official circulars. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

"Mama Told Me Not To Come"

BUT . . . Don't listen to your mama, not if you're in the vicinity of Toronto's Convocation Hall Saturday @ 8 PM. Randy Newman, the tunesmith who's worked with (or been covered by) the likes of Ry Cooder, Judy Collins, Nilsson, Dusty Springfield, The Everly Brothers, Nina Simone, et.al., puts in a rare appearance at the University of Toronto's venerable venue (31 King's College Circle). Check with Ticketmaster online; or, let your fingers do the telephonic talking (416.870.8000); and, if you do go, please to let us Newmaniacs know what you thought of the show. TIA.

Grit lit ...

... Reading Exercise. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

It's one thing for an author to write about the transformative experience of reading a particular novel. It's quite another matter to take on a reference work that is typically turned to only in moments of ignorance or a Scrabble kerfuffle. Of late, a number of writers have published their accounts of soldiering through the kind of compendium that the average person would not want to read, let alone drop on his foot. Call it grit-lit

Canadian Writers Honour David Foster Wallace

The National Post's Mark Medley (The Ampersand) features a heart-and-soulful tribute to Mr. Wallace. Very moving; and, one pic's worth a thousand sorrows for all our lost tomorrows. Beautifully done; an infinitely just portrait of one great American son.

Mark Sarvas reviews ...

... Philip Roth's Indignation. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Life after Rebus ...

... Ian Rankin: 'This is my Ocean's Eleven'. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

What think you?

... Funniest Sentence Ever?. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

My own favorite - not least because its humor derives from its structure as a sentence - is from Max Beerbohm's Zuleika Dobson:
"Last of all leapt Mr. Trent-Garby, who, catching his foot in the ruined flower box, fell headlong, and was, I regret to say, killed."

More good news ....

... and Good Cheer.

Revealing words ...

... David Foster Wallace on Life and Work. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded. Here's one example of the utter wrongness of something I tend to be automatically sure of: Everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe, the realest, most vivid and important person in existence. We rarely talk about this sort of natural, basic self-centeredness, because it's so socially repulsive, but it's pretty much the same for all of us, deep down. It is our default-setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: There is no experience you've had that you were not at the absolute center of. The world as you experience it is right there in front of you, or behind you, to the left or right of you, on your TV, or your monitor, or whatever. Other people's thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow, but your own are so immediate, urgent, real -- you get the idea. But please don't worry that I'm getting ready to preach to you about compassion or other-directedness or the so-called "virtues." This is not a matter of virtue -- it's a matter of my choosing to do the work of somehow altering or getting free of my natural, hard-wired default-setting, which is to be deeply and literally self-centered, and to see and interpret everything through this lens of self.

People who can adjust their natural default-setting this way are often described as being "well adjusted," which I suggest to you is not an accidental term.

The week's not over ...

... It's Book Blogger's Appreciation Week. Who knew? Not me, that's for sure. So read The Book Pirate’s Musings on… Book Blogging.

Good news ....

... the news business tends notbe interested in: Better All the Time.

Check out ...

... this Snapshot.

Can't we all get along ...

Maxine reveals ...

... What I like in a book. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Take that ...

... Against the faith.

I did think, when I read Grayling's review, that it was long on vituperation and short on reason. In fact, Grayling rarely impresses.

Reginald Shepherd's Last Poem ...


Let's begin the day ...

... The Establishment Outsider: An interview with Roger Scruton. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

“First of all, conservatism isn’t goal-directed in the way that socialism is, and some, though not all, forms of liberalism are. Articulating it is first of all a matter of describing what it is and bringing out that in it which is loveable, acceptable, or in any case jeopardised by unthinking reform. That’s a huge labour of description and evocation. It must be conducted against a background of professional disillusion with the idea of goals in politics. We can’t know how to proceed towards some ideal in this world and it’s foolish to try, and the evidence of history is that people who have tried have ended up in situations of mass genocide. Isn’t it better to look at what we have and see the ways in which it secures equilibrium, satisfaction happiness etcetera for the people who are involved in it?"

Score One for Our Side!

A breath of fresh-ear cheer:

Songwriters Ring Up Victory over Royalties. It's a red-letter (pay) day for we who belong to SOCAN, etc. Yay!

Jane Urquhart's First Crush

For the Love of Leonard.

Ah . . . Those were THE loveliest of daze . . . HE was every girl's first crush in this country! ("I can't forget / But, I don't remember what, er, who . . .")

Under Construction: A Made-in-Canada Prouduction™ :) . . .

A Neat Web-Cam View of Ottawa, Canada's Parliament Hill for the National Thrill of It.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A passion for murder ...

... The mystery of the Swedish bookshop. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The spirit of place ...

... Place Names Reveal Our Values, Vanities, Quirks. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Very useful information ...

... Love Course at The School of Life.

Vintage jazz ...

... Out of the Archives: Monterey Jazz on Disc. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Quote of the day ...

Frank O'Hara's poetry has no program and therefore cannot be joined. It does not advocate sex and dope as a panacea for the ills of mondern society; it does not speak out against the war in Vietnam or in favor of civil rights; it does not paint gothic vignettes of the post-Atomic age: in a word, it does not attack the establishment. It merely ignores its right to exist, and is thus a source of annoyance for partisans of every stripe.

- from "Writers and Issues: Frank O'Hara's Question," in Selected Prose by John Ashbery (University of Michigan Press).

Sad news ...

... author James Crumley dies at 68. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Poets Lorna Crozier and Patrick Lane

Just a pair of "old farts getting it on."

Curtain Rises on Archive of Legendary Filmmaker at the University of Toronto

Norman Jewison, creator of A Soldier's Story, . . . And Justice for All, Fiddler on the Roof, Moonstruck, et so wonderforthia, graduated from U of T's Victoria College in 1949. His cinematic brilliance continues to shine and define the genre.

Hail the crows ...

... birds I am uncommonly fond of: `Bright Enough for a Breast Pin'.

This One's for Art (in the Name of Poetry, Puppetry, and Drama)

Family members of Spain's premier poet, Federico García Lorca (brutally murdered in 1936 by fascists during the Spanish Civil War at the age of 38), won't oppose exhumation of the revered poet's grave.

Judge Nixes John Grisham Libel Suit

Grisham's an innocent man in the department of libel when it comes to his novel, An Innocent Man.

Transparent reality ...

... Home is where the art is for Robinson. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Needing to get out more ...

... NYPL: James Wood & Daniel Mendelsohn. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I think this a very finely reported piece. Sure, Ed has his point of view, but he uses it to give a pretty damn good impression of the event, I think. I wonder, by the way, if James Wood has read Kierkegaard's Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing. It's rather a harrowing book.
Regarding Mendelsohn: What exactly is wrong with 30 million people telling us what they think of Moby Dick? And what's wrong with everybody being able to publish - as opposed to only those people some other people think are worthy to be published? Let the reader decide - oh, there aren't any readers. Only 30 million people with opinions about Moby Dick. I must be missing something.

The latest

... of TLS Letters.

Broke again ...

... Mark Twain Museum Is in Deep Water. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

Birthday boy ...

... Samuel Johnson turns 299 today. Here's something from Patrick Kurp to mark the occasion: Memorable Concision. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Help Bitch!

The wonderful, intellectual, ground-breaking Bitch Magazine, like most magazines and newspapers these days, needs a little help from its friends.

Pardon me, sir ...

... 10 Books Not To Read Before You Die. (Hat tip, Judith Fitzgerald."

Well, I've already a number of them and rather liked them. Yeah, War and Peace is too long, but not if you skip Tolstoy's essays. Ulysses' has its longueurs, but its difficulty is exaggerated and it has some incomparably wonderful moments. But Hunter Thompson surely was one of the most overrated authors ever to publish.

Haven't done Proust, I'm afraid.

Riches at noon ...

... That crazy little word called Web.

Sharp-dressed man ...

... Happy Days and a Dapper Beckett by Lufti Ozkok.