Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Nancy Mitford

I can't remember how I was first introduced to the work of Nancy Mitford, but I must say: I'm glad I was. 

Reading The Pursuit of Love was a real pleasure. Mitford wields her story - of the mid-century English aristocracy - with the touch of a master. Her characters are engaging and quirky; her narration nuanced and fair. 

For me, there was a hint of Waugh in The Pursuit of Love - which makes sense given their social and literary associations. Both authors gravitated to the upper classes, portraying them as sometimes stuffy and inane, but worthy - somehow, someway - of redemption. The criticism here is offered without malice. 

And that's what I came to appreciate most, I think, about Pursuit: Mitford exposes all that accumulated hypocrisy and pretense, but she does so without bullying, without a heavy hand. Her characters operate in rarified air, but we as readers breathe with them, and cheer them - against our better judgement - along the way. 

My only critique of Pursuit is the odd suggestion that Mitford might actually have reached for more. I had the sense (and this may just be me) that Mitford didn't quite believe in the book, especially at the start. It was as if the novel started as a Waugh-like comedy, but later transformed into something more serious, more artful. That transformation was a subtle one, and I wish that Mitford had extended it a bit further, into new and unexplored territory. For me, the novel came to a somewhat rushed halt, and I had the sense - quite to Mitford's credit - that we were only getting started. 

Still, The Pursuit of Love is lively, perceptive book, one I'd certainly suggest. The last word is reserved for Mitford:

"...She was in the mood either to take up some cause, or to embark upon a love affair." Welcome to the world of Linda Radlett. 


Haiku …

The old man feels old 
Today, sitting in the park.
Overhead, clouds pass.

Cri du coeur …

 Paul Davis On Crime: Our Presidential Candidates Are Bond Villains.

Well, the element of caricature is surely there. There is much of Jonathan Swift in Ian Fleming: types, but types very specifically and precisely drawn; a sense of humor, warped, but genuine; the uncanny sense that these are like people we know. And the American political scene has certainly turned itself into a parody of Fleming's government agencies.
I am also not entirely sure that Goldfinger did not in fact have Presidential potential.

Rigorous precision …

… on If You Can Tell, poems by James McMichael (Farrar Straus & Giroux) | On the Seawall: A Literary Website by Ron Slate (GD).

Listen in …

… Poet Kay Ryan Explores Love, Loss & the Passing of Time in “Erratic Facts” | Forum | Forum | KQED. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Works and days …

… Richard Wilbur’s Poetry Captures Our Days. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)


… Anthrocene Fictions: A very good review of Adam Trexler's ANTHROPOCENE FICTIONS appears now in the OLR in the UK -- (The Oxford Literary Review).

Something to think on …

The poet existed among the cave men; he will exist among men of the atomic age, for he is an inherent part of man. Even religions have been born from the need for poetry, which is a spiritual need, and it is through the grace of poetry that the divine spark lives forever in the human flint.
— Saint-John Perse, born on this date in 1887


 Start of Summer Indie Author Sale | Azounding!

A fan's wish …

… Paul Davis On Crime: My Crime Beat Column: An Open Letter To Barbara Broccoli, Producer of the James Bond Films - Remake 'Moonraker' & Hire Aidan Turner As Bond.

I hope she sees it.

Yonder …


In each poem slash poem slash person
is that of the beyond — they gesture
where they aspire and cannot
go. Their makers break on these
rocks and know it. The girl
who reads a poem at
school, from that moment
a poet — she knows but
doesn't, can't name it,
knows. That earplugged
boy dancing down
the sidewalk, he
knows, does he
ever, the beyond
in his song, doesn't
know, knows. Neither
knows the makers
broken, knowing
the beyond, not
knowing. You? Do
You really believe I
could see you and
not know in
you, nameless, out
of reach, what
none of us
knows, what all
of us know? Of
course you

— John Timpane

Monday, May 30, 2016

Shoptalk …

… On Selfish Reading | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

Choices …

… The University Bookman: What We’re Reading (Summer 2016). (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Very nice …

On Foot – Afield Notes. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Will and today …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Honor, Pride And Sorrow: Shakespeare For Memorial Day.

Listen in …

Paul Davis On Crime: On Memorial Day, 2016, Johnny's Cash's Song, "Ragged Old Flag".

The poor dears …

Nothing like equating soldiers at war with those who suffer pretending to be others on stage or screen. The Elizabethans knew what they were doing when they regarded actors as barely respectable.

What would Twain have thought?

 The Ernest Hemingway Blog: Jane Austen rather than Ernest Hemingway.

Hmm …

… The Philosophy of Poetry | Issue 114 | Philosophy Now. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

When Ronald de Sousa goes on to claim that poetry is “about language” in the same way that painting is “about paint” it is pertinent to question both parts of the statement.
I suppose this is meant as a gloss on McLuhan's "the medium is the message," though McLuhan was only  pointing out that the means of communication necessarily shape what is communicated. A landscape is one thing, a sonnet another. From that, however, it does not follow that the message is about the medium.  Poussin's Et in Arcadio ego is not about pigment. Wordsworth's "Tintern Abbey" is not about ink and typefaces. If the medium were the message in that sense there would be no message.
Philosophizing about poetry may be a dubious undertaking, but using poetry to express philosophy, as Lucretius and Thales did, may well be something worth looking into.

Guess they haven't heard about climate change …

… Middle Eastern Writers Find Refuge in the Dystopian Novel - The New York Times.

The man behind the mask …

… Solitary Praxis: Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World by Leo Damrosch.

A Memorial Day Drive

We recently had to get rid of a car, a 2004 Volvo V70R, to a junk dealer.  And the car was junky, and with the grime an old car gets when it was driven a family with lots of small kids.  A car is never quite the same after that, with a layer of trash and indefinable things formed through the years and thousands and thousands of miles, at the peak time our family was being created and we were most together. 

Last year we got rid of another car, a 2003 Chevy Suburban 1500 LT, also to a junk dealer, who picked up the car at a parking lot of a gas station off Route 95 in North Carolina, where it had finally quit.  

Both were family cars.  All six of us, and/or other numbers or other combinations of families and friends, on trips and places, and places of adventure, good and bad.  A family car is a closed environment, with spaces tightly defined and rigidly enforced.  “Get off!  That’s my side of the seat.”  Our presence to each other was magnified by the close proximity of the car.  Habits and agreements developed over the years to help cope with the environment of noise, science, bathroom breaks, food breaks, arguments about too many breaks, the music, games.  One year we went on an outdoors vacation with the Suburban, filled with camping and biking and other stuff and we went rock climbing as part of the trip, even the smallest who was 6 or 7 back then.  And I remember when she got stuck on a rock, her little voice saying calmly but decisively “I am in a bit of a pickle” and the guide heard and helped her slowly down.

We had an audio habit for a while, listening to old radio shows on the car’s CD player.  One we drove by the signs for Grover’s Corner, NJ at night, just as the invasion was happening on War of the Worlds. 

Sometimes when the kids were very young, I would make up stories about a young alien named Blisfik, and his adventures, and one of the favorites was when Blisfik crash landed his space ship on the Planet Patagonia, which everybody had big feet, and came up with an idea for building a new spaceship.  Which was quite a feat.

We even touched on logic and philosophy sometimes, carefully defining missed opportunities and gleefully explaining why the other person was wrong as we played “I Spy With my Little Eye” or “TriBond” (one player names three objects and the others try to figure out what connects all three.)  

We used the cars for other things too.   I used the Suburban to help clean out a elderly woman’s apartment.  She had died and had no family.  I brought the Suburban in case there was anything to be donated to charity.   

Our story, our family story, has been changing and too fast to control.  I realize that now.  My dad is fond of saying says life goes by in the blink of an eye and he is right.  I remember once I was at the supermarket with the three oldest, and they were all young and relatively close in age, and I was tired, so tired, and they were acting up and I was tired, staring at them, thinking “Really?” and I sensed this little old lady coming up to us, I could tell she was going to say “these are the best years of your life” or some such and I raised my head and glared at her and she turned very quickly and went away.  But now I sometimes think she was right, even if it’s not good to live in memories.  

We won’t need a family car anymore.  Our children have gotten older and moved out.  Our schedules and coming and going have changed.  We go different places at different times.  Sometimes for big events we all get back together again.  But never in a family car. 

Mark thy calendar …

Open Political Poetry Reading

Presented by




Tuesday, June 21, 2016 7 PM


Come and Read Two Poems
Sign Up In Advance:

Philadelphia, PA, USA


This Event Is Free


Mad Poet-in-Residence,
Free Poetry Workshop,
June 8, 14, 22, 29 – 6-7:30 PM
(contact Leonard for info)

Pennsylvania Academy
of Fine Arts Reading with
Catherine Bancroft, Charles Carr,
Leonard Gontarek
Wednesday, June 15, 6 PM

Lansdowne Poetry & Art Walk,
Sunday, June 12, 2 PM


FRIDAY, JUNE 24, 6 PM, 2016
(On the University of
Pennsylvania Campus)

Anniversary …

… Rifftides | Paul Desmond Remembered. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A glaring problem...

...The Liberal Blind Spot
I’ve had scores of earnest conversations with scholars on these issues. Many make the point that there simply aren’t many conservative social scientists available to hire. That’s true. The self-selection is also understandable: If I were on the right, I’d be wary of pursuing an academic career (conservatives repeatedly described to me being belittled on campuses and suffering what in other contexts are called microaggressions).

Thank you for your service.


Something to think on …

No matter what we have come through, or how many perils we have safely passed, or how many imperfect and jagged — in some places perhaps irreparably — our life has been, we cannot in our heart of hearts imagine how it could have been different. As we look back on it, it slips in behind us in orderly array, and, with all its mistakes, acquires a sort of eternal fitness, and even, at times, of poetic glamour.
— Randolph Bourne, born on this date in 1886

For Memorial Day …

War Widow Cries Today

They sacrifice every day
these families of soldiers
who wait for news
from the fronts
of wars without end

Wars fought with handcuffs
attacked by roadside bombs
suicide attacks, talks of 
drawdowns not victory

Life is precious to those
who lose a soldier with
a name not a number
life is precious

A war widow cries
for the one sacrificed
in wars adrift 
without end 
drawing down
not victory 

A war widow cries today

— g emil reutter

From the forthcoming collection From the Valley (Red Dashboard).

Hear, hear …

… The Liberal Blind Spot - The New York Times.

When a survey finds that more than half of academics in some fields would discriminate against a job seeker who they learned was an evangelical, that feels to me like bigotry.
As Oliver Cromwell, put it, "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken."

Never forget …

Brit Hume shares Memorial Day meme that ‘has it just right’ – twitchy.com'.

Rejection collection …

… 'It needs more public-spirited pigs': TS Eliot's rejection of Orwell's Animal Farm | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Making sense...

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Prophetic …

… a Michael Crichton piece from 1993:  Mediasaurus | WIRED.

I had the privilege of interviewing Michael Crichton once. We had to do it by email, because he was flying to Europe. His publicist told me later that he actually liked the interview and thought the questions were really good. His answers were certainly thorough.

Actually, here is the print version of that interview (an extended version appeared online at the time):
Crichton responds to his eco-critics What he's most concerned about, the author says, is a climate of fear.

Inquirer reviews …

'Lancaster County': A convicted killer's memoir - but much is missing.

… 'Grit': What makes people - and Philadelphia - great.
… 'The Gene': Science in all its fumbling glory.

… 'Hystopia': Wartime trauma as destiny.

Something to think on

The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.
— G. K. Chesterton, born on this date in 1874

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Reprise …

… Just How Good a Singer Was Dean Martin? - The Daily Beast. (Hat tip, Dave Lull)

I indirectly linked to this the other day, but thought it worth linking to again in order to provide some evidence as to why I think so well of Dean Martin's singing.
I refer specifically to the voice's beautiful timbre and the singer's completely natural control.


Hard not to agree …

… President Obama Gives One Of The Most Repulsive Speeches In American History In Hiroshima | Daily Wire.

If you can’t spot the bad guys and the good guys in World War II, of all conflicts, you’re on the side of a valueless nihilism that allows the possibility of future world wars – after all, you can’t take a strong stand against evil if it doesn’t exist. Japan was wrong. America was right. Germany was wrong. America was right. End of story.
Of course, I'm an old man who remembers the troops coming home after WWII, some of them wounded for life.

Itinerary …

… The Ernest Hemingway Blog: Planning a trip with Jake Barnes -- important destinations mentioned in Chapter 1 of The Sun Also Rises.

The miracle of being …

Cricket in Washington Square Park
It is, it is, it is – it’s you, cool as the night, scraping toothy wing on
wing. Yeah, man. Your it is is far from my it was, in this town
I never knew I’d know. Yo, first violinist of Washington Square,
slave picnic site, burial ground a shout from Independence Hall.
It is, it is – it is fall, it is here, it is you and I and your
it is I never saw coming. It is always past me before I know. Thanks
for that. It is, it is, it is – yeah, man, no it was for you. For me
plenty. It isit is. I hear you. Is makes it a miracle; it makes is a
mystery. You, in is, in act, rub wings with God. Me, too, only I
don’t know. Fine, it is, far from it waswill be even
further. It is what it is. Hey – MC of it is, of
desire, time, and fact of the matter, apart from, yoked with
the stars, of whom we are, and they of us – you
have no idea you’re in these words. I walk to violins
of was and will be, and you can’t hear them,
fiddler in the rough. I am, I am, I am in
your it is, it is, it is in my ears. We are, we are, we are.
— John Timpane

Anniversary …

 Paul Davis On Crime: Happy Birthday To Ian Fleming, The Creator Of James Bond.

Creatures of darkness …

… Zealotry of Guerin: Blind Pew (N. C. Wyeth), Sonnet #299.

Something to think on …

I think it is impossible to explain faith. It is like trying to explain air, which one cannot do by dividing it into its component parts and labeling them scientifically. It must be breathed to be understood.
— Patrick White, born on this date in 1912

Friday, May 27, 2016

Happy birthday …

… Paul Davis On Crime: My Crime Beat Column: From Street To Paper: A Look Back At Dashiell Hammett, Crime Writer & Detective.

Film and literature in consort …

… Unserious Austen by Adam Thirlwell | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Shedding no light …

… The TLS blog: The BBC's religion blind spot. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The unacknowledged assumption here is plain: atheism is the default neutral stance for grown-ups; religious voices, even highly self-critical ones, are biased.
A good many people nowadays, even if schooled, perhaps especially if schooled, do not know how to think.

Death over life...

Which is which …

The first book I was ever assigned to review for The Inquirer was Hearing Secret Harmonies, the concluding volume of Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time. I had not, however, read any of the previous volumes, so I set about reading all of them before getting down to the volume up for review. I was very impressed. I still remember the time as one of my happiest reading experiences, and I still think the series is a very great achievement. I read the Sword of Honor trilogy much later, and I think it is a masterpiece. There is a melancholy insight into the age that, it seems to me, has proved prophetic.

On a more serious note …

 Poetry is a perfect form to challenge human rights abuses | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, G. E. Reutter.)

Woof, woof …

The men who live as dogs: 'We're just the same as any person on the high street' | Television & radio | The Guardian.

Poetry underfoot …

 Boston's Raining Poetry Project Turns Rain Into Street Art - CityLab. (Hat tip, G. E. Reutter.)

Just so you know …

… 10 Things Poets Understand Better Than Everyone Else | Bustle. (G. E. Reutter.)

Filled with memories …

The shed by Eric Smith - The New Criterion. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Paying attention …

… The American Scholar: His Listening - Brian Doyle. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)


… Anthrocene Fictions: Meet Scott Thill, the world's most prolific promoter and user of the #CliFi hashtag as a visionary writer for Wired and Alternet.

Something to think on …

A first-rate organizer is never in a hurry. He is never late. He always keeps up his sleeve a margin for the unexpected.
— Arnold Bennett, born on this date in 1867

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Blogging note …

This is a busy week. I help with the donation of books from The Inquirer to, for instance, as today, the Philadelphia prison system. So I must be out and about again, and I have a dinner engagement this evening. So blogging on my part will be minimal.

Down to Earth …

… Poem: The Man of the Soil, 1910 | Poetry | Jewish Journal. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Shop talk …

"We Do Learn Some New Tricks": Julian Barnes On The Noise of Time | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Another place you skip applying to …

… The Big Uneasy - The New Yorker.

All across Oberlin—a school whose norms may run a little to the left of Bernie Sanders—there was instead talk about “allyship”: a more contemporary answer to the challenges of pluralism. If you are a white male student, the thought goes, you cannot know what it means to be, say, a Latina; the social and the institutional worlds respond differently to her, and a hundred aggressions, large and small, are baked into the system. You can make yourself her ally, though—deferring to her experience, learning from her accounts, and supporting her struggles. You can reach for unity in difference.

Well, presumably, if you are a Latina, you cannot know what it means to be a white male student. So where does that leave us?

Good news …

'Penis Poet' walks free after serving time. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Well, it's good news that he's free. But he shouldn't have been jailed in the first place.

Something to think on …

Religious thought does not go forward, like scientific thought, but rather goes deeper.
— Don Colacho

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Late bloomer …

 Carobeth Laird, First Published at Age 80 - The Neglected Books Page.

A slippery character …

A Poet Unlike Any Other. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
She is often described as dotty, batty, silly, odd, childish, droll, or “fausse-naïve” (Philip Larkin’s term).2 Her English quirkiness and eccentricity are played up, as in Stevie, the play of 1977 by Hugh Whitemore (made into a film by Robert Enders in 1978), with Glenda Jackson as Stevie. Some readers throw up their hands in bafflement, as she told them they would, at the start of her 1936 Novel on Yellow Paper: “This is a foot-off-the-ground novel…and if you are a foot-on-the-ground person, this book will be for you a desert of weariness and exasperation.”3

Blogging note …

I must be out an about. So blogging will resume later on.

The new snobbery …

… James Bowman on the uncouth. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
Offensive, you may wonder, to whom? Not necessarily to the members of those minorities towards whose feelings the dictionaries have become ostensibly solicitous. You may be sure that The Washington Post’s recent discovery that the term “redskin” is not considered offensive by 90 percent of the American Indians it surveyed will not be taken into account the next time the dictionaries are revised. That is because the feelings that matter are not those of the minorities alleged to be offended but those of the elite who have moralized our linguistic manners so as to be able to exclude the unwanted and the uncouth—that is, those who do not signal their fitness for inclusion in it by adopting the elite’s vocabulary. Lacking the means of excluding such people merely on social or aesthetic grounds, the elite must turn the social and aesthetic into the just and ethical so as to be able to exclude them on moral grounds.

Resurrection …

… The Lost Gardens of Emily Dickinson - The New York Times. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Last summer, as the purple-tipped spears of irises unsheathed themselves and nasturtiums flaunted trumpets of fire, a team of archaeologists excavated another one of Dickinson’s gardens near the southeastern corner of the house. They used neon pink string to mark out squares and rectangles the size of coffee tables. Then, shovels and trowels in hand, they began to remove layers of grass and dirt within the outlined spaces.

Resurrection …

… The Lost Gardens of Emily Dickinson - The New York Times. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Last summer, as the purple-tipped spears of irises unsheathed themselves and nasturtiums flaunted trumpets of fire, a team of archaeologists excavated another one of Dickinson’s gardens near the southeastern corner of the house. They used neon pink string to mark out squares and rectangles the size of coffee tables. Then, shovels and trowels in hand, they began to remove layers of grass and dirt within the outlined spaces.

Prose poem …

… The Sun Magazine | The Dog Misses You. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Hot time in the city …

… The poetry of simmering Chicago summers | PBS NewsHour. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Ad From Ben Franklin!


… 20 Word Usage Mistakes Even Smart People Make | Mental Floss. (Hat tip, David Tothero.)

Something to think on …

Power is of its nature evil, whoever wields it.
— Jacob Burckhardt, born on this date in 1818

Tomorrow evening …

A Celebration of A.V. Christie 1963-2016
+ the launch of her posthumous chapbook

Thursday, May 26, 2016, 7 PM
Brandywine Workshop
728 South Broad Street, Philadelphia PA

The evening honors A.V. Christie, her life and her poetry, and her just published chapbook, AND I BEGAN TO ENTERTAIN DOUBTS, from Folded Word Press, a poem whose “urgency and beauty” inspired the Press to create a new Master Series.  This occasion is open to all those who loved and admired A.V. and her poetry; all are invited to bring a poem of hers to read, or read from her new chapbook, or come to listen, mourn and celebrate A.V.

A.V. Christie was the author of Nine Skies (University of Illinois Press, 1997), which won the National Poetry Series; The Housing (Ashland Poetry Press, 2004), winner of the McGovern Prize; and a chapbook, The Wonders, Editor’s Series (Seven Kitchens Press, 2014).


I was conceived in the cruelest month
in whatever spring California could muster.
A little rain—with some more likely.
And the buckeyes were they yet on the ground?
Damn my father’s smooth stone eyes,
other prevailing enticements and what Eliot called
the female stench. Damn the oaks,
their histrionics, struggling in the fog.
Spiderwebs lay in the grass, misted
and looking like misspent galaxies.
I cry into and out of this moment.
Pound told Eliot: strike this and this.
What was weak got dropped, and the poem
stood stronger without it.

A.V. Christie

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Faithful Dylan …

… Ennyman's Territory: Duluth Dylan Fest: Religious Themes Pervaded His Life's Work. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

It's a strong one …

 The Case for Dana Gioia. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Even before “Can Poetry Matter?” ideologues such as Diane Wakoski and Ira Sadoff shrilly attacked Gioia, portraying New Formalism as an ignorant attack on modernism and a zombie-like extension of Reaganism. Given that the New Formalists reflected a wider range of backgrounds and ideologies than their critics, this counterattack failed miserably. It also made for particular awkwardness when used against Gioia, who grew up in a working-class family with Latino, Native American, and Italian roots—and unlike more traditional New Formalists such as Timothy Steele, Gioia embraced modernism and superbly translated modernist poets.

Which continues to fall …

… T.S. Eliot, Poet for a Fallen Culture - Washington Free Beacon. (Hat tip,  G. E. Reutter.)

Only modernism could convey sufficiently the negative part: The breakdown of traditional civilization had to be echoed in the objective correlative of the breakdown of traditional verse. This wasn’t free verse as a declaration of new freedom. This was free verse as a howl that culture itself had failed.

Favorites …

 Paul Davis On Crime: As 'The Holy Grail' Turns 41, The New York Daily News Offers Their Favorite Monty Python Sketches.

In case you wondered …

… Anthrocene Fictions: OPED: ''Does Science-Fiction Need a New Subgenre? The next movement of sci-fi will look at our status as a 'pale blue dot'. -- A ''Food for Thought'' Oped by American sci-fi book reviewer Andrew Liptak.

A very good idea would be to make sure the science is as sound as the fiction.

Listen in …

 Episode 169 – David Mikics | Virtual Memories.
“These days, we tend to think of identity as something chosen; we put on certain masks or we identify as this or that, culturally, ethnically or politically. Bellow is interested in something much more basic: who we really are.” 

In honor of Mr. Dylan's birthday …

… a personal favorite (come October, I will catch up to him in age).


… Hitler's Pope and 9 Other Anti-Catholic Myths Disproven By History | PJ Media.

Something to think on …

Every individual ought to know at least one poet from cover to cover: if not as a guide through the world, then as a yardstick for the language. 
— Joseph Brodsky, born on this date in 1940

Six degrees of difference....

How highly religious Americans’ lives are different from others...Pew Research Center set out to explore this topic from a number of different angles in a new report that is part of our U.S. Religious Landscape Study. Here are three areas where the highly religious – defined in this study as the 30% of U.S. adults who say they pray daily and attend religious services at least once a week – are different from the remaining 70% of the population, and three areas where they are not: 
The same poll suggested that weekly worshippers (regardless of race or gender) were pretty sceptical about both candidates: 59% had an unfavourable view of Mrs Clinton, and 67% felt the same way about her rival. At the same time, the feelings of those who “seldom or never” went to church were rather similar; 59% had a unfavourable opinion of Mrs Clinton and 72% of Mr Trump. So by recent standards, levels of piety were making remarkably little difference.

Happy Birthday!

There’s no better way to celebrate the greatest American songwriter’s 75th birthday than to stoke reader outrage by attempting to rank his work, album by album.
And I agree with Number 1 although Biograph isn't listed, nor is Greatest Hits, which I guess raises the question can they be viewed as an "album?"  Yes they should be of course; an album can defined as of a moment or a time, with some sort of integrated vision.  "Best of" compilations are simply over longer, an artist's creative life, and with the vision of the artist themselves and their work. 

The Age of Entanglement...

Monday, May 23, 2016

How do I get to Carnegie Hall?

Gladwell popularized Ericsson’s violin research with his catchy formulation, “the 10,000-hour rule,” which Ericsson paraphrases as the rule that “it takes ten thousand hours of practice to become a master in most fields.” This notion was “irresistibly appealing,” Ericsson notes, because it’s easy to remember and satisfies a human desire for simple cause-and-effect relationships...
Certainly, “the number varies from field to field,” Ericsson observes.