Friday, September 30, 2016

Hmm …

… Why Does Time Go Forward Instead of Backward?

It has been a long time since I read anything about this, but I seem to recall that inorganic chemistry is governed by the second law of thermodynamics in a way that leads to states of molecular symmetry, but that organic chemistry — the chemistry of the carbon compounds — is characterized by a tendency toward molecular asymmetry. Whether I have this right, and whether it has any bearing on time's direction, that I don't know.

On Edward Albee

From the LARB

Happy birthday …

… Solitary Praxis Revisited: Celebrating W. S. Merwin's birthday and thinking about an "Old Man At Home Alone in the Morning".

Yes, that is the way it is. And the conclusion is as it ought to be.

Blogging note …

I have all sorts of obligations to meet today. Blogging will be light.

Why they signed …

… Conservatives For Trump: A Symposium Featuring Scholars & Writers For Trump - American Greatness. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

And the winners …

… 2016 August : IBPC.

The Judge's Page.

(Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)


Talismans …

… Catapult | Wards Against the Day | Colin Dickey. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

What a great but hidden pleasure, to keepsake something useless in this world, divided neatly as it is between the valuable and waste. What a feeling of wonder, to impute and recognize an object’s worth while resisting the impulse to quantify that object. What a satisfaction, to be asked by someone about some small thing you own—what does it mean, why do you have it, what is it worth—and to answer both confused and defiant, I don’t know.

I remember that when I was studying existentialism long years ago the importance that was placed on the non-utilitarian as peculiarly and essential human. I've collected stones I find interesting and odd bits of wood all my life.

Celebration …

… It’s #FollowALibrary Day on Twitter! (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Anniversary …

Johnny Mathis turns 81 today.

Something to think on …

The essence of what you have to say you pick up before you're twenty.
—  Patrick White, who died on this date in 1990

Thursday, September 29, 2016

My, my …

 Scholars and Writers for America . (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Still pertinent after all these years…

… Mary Beard: The glory of Rome | National Post.

Tracking the decline …

Employment picture darkens for journalists at digital outlets - Columbia Journalism Review. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

Well, if you keep thinking in terms of another older model, up-to-date technology won't help you much.

Mark thy calendar







Philadelphia, PA

more info:

This Event Is Free

Autumn McClintock grew up in Chester County and has lived in Philadelphia for over a decade. Her first chapbook, After the Creek, was published in late summer 2016, and poems of hers have recently appeared in Drunken Boat, Green Mountains Review, Poetry Daily, RHINO, and others. An essay of hers appears in the 2013 anthology The Poet’s Sourcebook, published by Autumn House Press, and she is a staff reader for Ploughshares.  She works at the Free Library.

Tuesday, November 15, 7 PM
Jan Freeman, author of Blue Structure,
published by Calypso Press

What think you?

… Does Bob Dylan Deserve a Nobel Prize? (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Well, I'd give it to the Swedish Academy's own Torgny Lindgren before I gave to any of those mentioned, including Bob.

Join in …

… Solitary Praxis Revisited: Nathaniel Hawthorne and Solitary Praxis Revisited.

Two reviews …

… Sentinel.

… Time Extends Life To Those Who Survive.


… Vermont writer David Budbill dies at age 76 | VTDigger. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Patchen reading …

Yes …

… Blogs: Asthma. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

I once saw someone have a serious asthma attack. It was quite scary.

Hmm …

… The Prosblogion — The new creation part 3: Disability and the Eschaton, by Kevin Timpe. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Do read Rus's comment on this post. I tend to think of heaven myself in terms of transfiguration, including transfiguration of my identity, which I doubt is all it could be.

True and lovely …

 Truepenny — Partisan. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

It happens from time to time …

 Bruce Charlton's Notions: Poetry in prose - its rarity. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I wrote an article once suggesting that success for most poets consists in writing one or two pieces that achieve anthology status. Walter de la Mare's "The Listeners" is a perfect example. 

In honor of St.Michael …

Today is Michaelmas. So here is a musical tribute to the archangel.

Problems, problems …

… Why Princeton University Has to Change Its Name | The Fiscal Times.

In previous outbursts over this issue, some worried about what to do with terms such as “manhole.” Somehow person hole doesn’t sound right. “Mankind” should yield to “humanity,” but the word man is embedded in humanity, just as “son” is right there in “person” and “male” is buried in “female.”

Something to think on …

Proverbs are short sentences drawn from long experience.
— Miguel de Cervantes, born on this date in 1547

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

If nothing else, Alexander Solzhenitsyn's Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is a reminder of just how bad we can be. 

Three points I wanted to make, two of which are raised in the afterward by Eric Bogosian:

First, despite having himself been sentenced to the gulag, Solzhenitsyn crafted a novella, not a memoir. True, you might say he did that later with Gulag Archipelago, but the point still stands: why would Solzhenitsyn take recourse to fiction when he might have crafted a history instead? It's a simplification, of course, but I think the answer has something to do with the ability in fiction to manipulate - and with it, to exact revenge. For years, Solzhenitsyn was subject to inhumanity: he was manipulated at will. It's through his fiction - through A Day in the Life - that he exacts revenge, that he constructs characters who are beholden to him, despite their cruelty. 

The second point that Bogosian makes - and I think it's a smart one - has to with the uniquely Russian character of the gulag. Unlike Primo Levi or Eli Wiesel - individuals subject to the penal systems of a foreign power - Solzhenitsyn was trapped in a universe designed by fellow Russians. There's an element of exasperation here, but also of resignation. It's as if to say - "Let me out of here, this place we've created." That dynamic generates an odd literary atmosphere, one in which fear is supplanted by a curious sense of detachment. 

Finally, I wanted to highlight the pity of it all: Denisovich is imprisoned because he can no longer be trusted. And yet he can no longer be trusted because the state itself has failed him: Denisovich was captured by the Germans because the Russians could not protect him. And when Denisovich escapes and returns, he's welcomed with perverse skepticism. The question immediately becomes: Is he a spy? 

He's not, of course. He's a victim of the modern order, and a prisoner resigned to the enormity of the state. In Denisovich, we see Solzhenitsyn, and in his story, we see the merging of history and fiction. We're witnesses to an apocalyptic vision: both of state control, and of a society gone terribly bad. 

Hmm …

… Acne sufferers live longer,  research suggests.

The headline is misleading. The article indicates that persons who suffered from acne when young show fewer dermatological signs of aging later on. No indication that they actually live longer.

Better late …

… Paris finally bows to the importance of Oscar Wilde.

Good luck with that …

… Syrian poet Adonis says poetry 'can save Arab world' | The Times of Israel. (Hat tip, G. E. Reutter.)

A sad tale …

… From recovery to relapse, how divine intervention failed the troubled genius of John Berryman | National Post. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

God may well have been with during the fall. Some years ago, a friend and I drove by the spot where he jumped. Here is one of his last poems:

He Resigns

                   Age, and the deaths, and the ghosts.
                        Her having gone away
                        in spirit from me. Hosts
                        of regrets come and find me empty.

                        I don’t feel this will change.
                        I don’t want anything
                        or person, familiar or strange.
                        I don’t think I will sing

                        anymore just now,
                        or ever. I must start
                        to sit with a blind brow
                        above an empty heart.

Literary pilgrimage …

… A Visit to Robert Frost's New Hampshire Farm. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Henry James, postmodernist …

… Relentlessly Relevant | The Smart Set. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
James’s dense and difficult style meshed with a shift in orientation in his later work. If you can grope your way through late James, you’ll find you have moved out of the Victorian era into the modern and, beyond that, into what we have come to refer to as the postmodern. This postmodern James is a harbinger of some unfortunate trends in our society today. It’s hard to believe that the difficult late writing of this long-dead writer has had a dangerous effect on our time, but — Jamesian enthusiast though I am — I am obliged to admit that this is so. But I’ll get to that.
This is a great piece of true criticism.

Where books go …

… Remainders of the Day - The New York Times. (Hat tip, Virginia Kerr.)

Something to think on …

To know how to grow old is the master work of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living.
— Herman Melville, who died on this date in 1891

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Always aggrieved …

… Social Justice Warriors Whine Over 'Cultural Appropriation' at Fiction Festival | PJ Media.

How telling …

… Crucifix, Trump chalkings reported as 'hate incidents' at UW-L.

This reminds me of G. K. Chedterton's remark about people whose minds were so open their brains had fallen out. Thisis supposed to be a place for higher education. How can that be, when the people running it are so obviously dumb?
I presume there still are colleges worth attending, but it looks as if they are getting harder and harder to find.

Good …

… Instapundit — THE UNIVERSITY ENDS ITS INVESTIGATION: “In short, no disciplinary action will be taken against Professor Reynolds.

Anniversary …

… Solitary Praxis: Celebrating the Jesuits -- 27 September.

I attended a Jesuit college. Edward Gannon, S. J., under whom I studied existential phenomenology, was one of the two most important teachers in my life (the other was Mother Holmes, of the Religious of the Sacred Heart, who was my sixth-grade teacher). Both made the practice of the faith something intensely authentic.

We link …

… you decide. (I didn't watch.)

 I Score the First Debate | Scott Adams' Blog.

Hillary Won Last Night's Debate.

(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Better than anti-poetry …

… AttackingtheDemi-Puppets: “Hip-Hop Pop”.

Pretty neat, actually.

The lectures of time …

… Anecdotal Evidence: `Sanding Off Such Pretense or Exploding It'.

See also: One more.

The power of symmetry …

… The Art in BBC Sherlock's Blood | Bill Peschel.

What a subtle mind …

… Solitary Praxis: Emily Dickinson -- Cobweb and Gauze.

Next Monday …

Monday Poets / Leonard Gontarek & Michele Belluomini
Monday, October 3, 2016 6:30 PM
Parkway Central Library
Room 108
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia PA

Cost: FREE


Leonard Gontarek is the author of six books of poetry including Take Your Hand Out of My Pocket, Shiva (2016) and He Looked Beyond My Faults and Saw My Needs (2013), both published by Hanging Loose Press, with work appearing in American Poetry Review, Spinning Jenny, Fence, Exquisite Corpse, Verse, Poetry Lore,  Poetry Northwest, and The Best American Poetry, among others. He coordinates Peace/Works, Philly Poetry Day, The Philadelphia Poetry Festival, and hosts The Green Line Reading & Interview Series. His poem, 37 Photos From The Bridge, was a Poetry winner for the Big Bridges MotionPoems project and the basis for the award-winning film by Lori Ersolmaz.

Michele Belluomini is the author of two chapbooks published by Plan B Press, Crazy Mary & Others, and Sign Posts for Sleepwalkers. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry, The Mad Poets Review, Poetry Motel, Philadelphia Poets, Beltway, The Fox Chase Review, and Apiary, among others. She recently won first place in the Hidden River poetry competition.

Monday Poets is presented in Room 108 at Parkway Central on the first Monday of every month, except in January when it is on the 9th.  It is moderated by Lamont Dixon.

The Free Library is pleased to present The Monday Poets on the first Monday of every month, October through April. Now in its 21st year, the Monday Poets Reading Series showcases a variety of talented local and regional poets.

Readings are moderated by Lamont Dixon and take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Room 108 of the Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine Street.

Copies of the featured poets books may be available for cash purchase after the reading.

Time permitting, at the end there may be a short open-mic session.
For additional information, please call the Free Library of Philadelphia's Literature Department at 215-686-5402.

One-man dance team …

… ‘Ready Take One’ by Erroll Garner Review: Dancing on the Keys Once Again - WSJ. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.

Something to think on …

To shun one's cross is to make it heavier.
— Henri-Frédéric Amiel, born on this date in 1821

Monday, September 26, 2016

Poor babies …

… Hofstra University Provides 'Trigger Warning' for Presidential Debate | MRCTV.

Looks like it's time to raise the voting age to, say, 30.

Anniversary …

George Gershwin was born on this date in 1898.

A poet against poetry …

 A Poet Undone | The Nation. (Hat tip, G. E. Reutter.)

Although his arguments are hampered by summary judgments and blind spots, Lerner often writes with flair. The avant-garde, he offers, “hates existing poems because they are part of a bankrupt society.” Consequently, an avant-garde poem is “an imaginary bomb with real shrapnel…. a weapon against received ideas of what art is.” Lerner, who considers himself an avant-gardist, stresses that poets aren’t alone in hating poetry. He criticizes journalists who denounce poems for failing “to be universal, to speak both to and for everyone in the manner of Whitman.” This is true, but Lerner has written a Denounciad of his own that allows poets no alternative to anyone’s hatred.
I didn't know there was any avant-garde anymore.

Postponement and endgame …

… Solitary Praxis: Reading and posting resumes but MWR road-trip has been postponed or cancelled.


Boy, I sure hope I'm not about to be hacked again. A friend sent me an email with an attachment. I wrote back asking if she had actually sent it. She said she had. But when I opened it, it was the same Morgan Stanley doc I got last week. Fingers crossed.

Talk about your discrimination …

… KU bars gorillas from jungle-theme decoration due to 'masculine image'.

First, it was the Geico camel (he's out of work now — can't earn a nickel). Now it's gorillas. Colleges are turning into lunatic asylums.

I have borrowed liberally in this post from a Jean Shepherd routine: Peter Pain.

Celebration …

… John Prine and Tom Waits and wife Kathleen Brennan celebrated for their song lyrics - The Boston Globe. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)


… The Problem With Science Writing - Facts So Romantic - Nautilus.

If the public can internalize a generalist understanding of science, they would have a better chance of finding science interesting on its own terms—not just because they were told ad nauseam it was interesting. They would feel a heightened amazement for the depth of knowledge humanity has achieved, and a greater reverence for what we don’t know, or can’t know. Such a public would not take the claims of popular science for granted, or be so easily swayed by pseudoscience and scientific hyperbole. Like a tree with deep roots, it would take more than a lazy breeze to upheave it. As any grad student will tell you, the first target of skepticism should be your teacher.

Hmm …

… ‘Shut Up, Bigot!’ The Philosopher Argued | The American Conservative. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… that the president of the Society of Christian Philosophers felt obliged to apologize for a speech given by one of the world’s most accomplished Christian philosophers — a speech in which the 82-year-old Swinburne defended basic Christian orthodoxy — and indeed to garland his apology with the Orwellian terms “diversity” and “inclusion,” is a very bad sign. … Of what use is the Society of Christian Philosophers if one cannot go to its meetings and debate basic philosophical positions derived from Christian teaching?
These are professors of philosophy, not philosophers. Credentialed mediocrities.

Something to think on …

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
— T. S. Eliot, born on this date in 1888

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Devastating …

TLSBattles in Boston University. (Hat tip, Dave Lull. )

President Brown, Dean Cudd, and Provost Morrison would do well to read this carefully. If  they do, it may dawn on one or another of them that their utterances, both spoken and written, cannot withstand the scrutiny of a practiced textual analyst. Perhaps that realization might help them understand wherein lies the value of the Editorial Institute.

Hitting the road …

… Solitary Praxis: MWR blogging note.

A lighter side of poetry …

 A poet worth reading? Start believing! | C2C Journal. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Sleaze & Slander is a pleasure to read whatever your politics. For conservatives, especially those who might find Ayn Rand’s doorstoppers a chore, it offers the additional fillip of a comfortable intellectual harbour to be enjoyed in small, delightful bites. “I’m generally dubious about institutions and the limitations of government, and that’s the raw material of political conservatism. It’s also pretty good fodder for light verse,” says Juster, pointing to Jonathan Swift, the famous 18th century Irish satirist and champion of liberty, as a source of inspiration.

The tell-tale God …

 ‘The Great Good Thing,’ by Andew Klavan | Brandywine Books.

Hmm …

… Solitary Praxis: Emily Dickinson and the Riddle.

Sounds to me as if she's pondering resurrection.

Spreading life …

 The Green Universe: A Vision by Freeman Dyson | The New York Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Almost all the current discussion of life in the universe assumes that life can exist only on worlds like our Earth, with air and water and strong gravity. This means that life is confined to planets and their moons. The sun and the planets and moons contain most of the mass of our solar system. But for life, surface area is more important than mass. The room available for life is measured by surface area and not by mass. In our solar system and in the universe, the available area is mostly on small objects, on comets and asteroids and dust grains, not on planets and moons.
When life has reached the small objects, it will have achieved mobility. It is easy then for life to hop from one small world to another and spread all over the universe. Life can survive anywhere in the universe where there is starlight as a source of energy and a solid surface with ice and minerals as a source of food. Planets and moons are the worst places for life from the point of view of mobility. Because Earth’s gravity is strong, it is almost impossible for life to escape from Earth without our help. Life has been stuck here, waiting for our arrival, for three billion years, immobile in its planetary cage.

Inquirer reviews …

'This Must Be the Place': A man larger than life, imperfect, but human.

… 'This Must Be the Place': A man larger than life, imperfect, but human.

Mike Love, Beach Boy: 'Good Vibrations' has a lot of discord.

… Robert Frost at the height: 'Letters, 1920-1928'.

Something to think on …

Poets are almost always wrong about facts. That's because they are not really interested in facts: only in truth.
— William Faulkner, born on this date in 1897

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The something behind the limited whole …

 First Known When Lost: Reeds.

Like many others, I sense it as Someone.

Damn straight …

… Dear University of Tennessee, Hands Off Instapundit Glenn Reynolds. | National Review.

Reynolds was speaking as a private citizen on a matter of public concern. His speech constituted neither a true threat nor incitement to violence. State officials are free to condemn his speech, they are not free to punish that speech.
Moreover, let’s not forget the context. Motorists do not have to yield to a violent mob simply because that violent mob seeks “social justice.” Instead, if a motorist reasonably believes his or her life – or the lives of their passengers – are in danger, they can take steps to defend themselves, including by pressing the gas to leave the scene. 
Too many university administrators are looking more and more like sworn enemies of freedom.

A sign of the times for the worse …

… BU Editorial Institute Dispute: Ricks Defenestrated | National Review. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… Ricks has been a root-and-branch opponent of radical relativism and the perverse, verbose claims of Franco-Nietzschean literary theory. He has seen that on the side of the humanities and social sciences, the modern university is skewed in favor of fad, “neophilia,” nominalism, and counterintuitive attacks on every inherited civilizing tradition. If I don’t say something shocking, bold, new, odd, outrageous, obscene, or funky, how am I to attract attention and get tenure? And why should I defer to Aristotle, Dante, Milton, Kant, Austen, Dickens, Melville, Du Bois, or Eliot? Transgressive novelty at all costs.
Looks as though BU can be scratched off the application list. Like other such schools of  mauvaise foi, it might learn something from a serious drop in enrollment.

Three of a kind …

 Solitary Praxis: Emily Dickinson's Trinitarian formula.

Today's Patchen …

Be very, very afraid …

… Welcome to the Dark Net, a Wilderness Where Invisible World Wars Are F | Vanity Fair. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Opsec had stumbled onto a very big thing. And its lack of use was the key. The only possible purpose, Opsec concluded, was that of a sleeper cell, lying in wait as a pre-positioned asset to be used as a last resort, like a nuclear weapon, in the event of an all-out cyber-war. The world certainly seems to be moving in that direction. Already cyber-attacks constitute an active component of nearly every conventional military battle. They are used by the U.S. in conjunction with the air and ground war against ISIS. Some say that a global cyber-war is already under way, because everyone is getting hacked. But many states—China, Russia, Germany, France, Pakistan, Israel, and the United States—are actively preparing for something much larger to come.

Helping hand …

… Zealotry of Guerin: The Wounded Angel (Hugo Simberg), Sonnet #216.

The line of duty …

… Paul Davis On Crime: A Warrior Cop Shot In Philadelphia: My Piece On The Inherent Danger Police Officers Face On The Front Lines In The War On Terrorism.

Trouble spots …

… Paul Davis On Crime: A Surge Of Ideas: My Piece On General Petraeus' Five Take-Aways From The Middle East Conflicts.

Something to think on …

Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he isn't. A sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is.
— Horace Walpole, born on this date in 1717

Friday, September 23, 2016


… Farewell to one of Europe’s leading thinkers, Leonidas Donskis (1962-2016) | The Book Haven.

That hacking business …

Kevin Lauer, my tech guru, came by this morning and fixed up my email. The hacking had installed a filter, which Kevin removed. So everything is back to normal (some passwords had to be changed as well). Anybody in need of computer help should think of getting into touch with Kevin at Refresh Computers. Highly recommended.

Mark thy calendar …

… Friends of the Princeton Public Library Book Sale Set for Oct. 14-16 - Planet Princeton. (Hat tip, Virginia Kerr.)

You have been warned …

… Study warns that science as we know it is evolving into something shoddy and unreliable - ScienceAlert.

The accusations one hears of "science denial" — as if anyone in his right mind does that — invariably come from people wanting to use science for political purposes: "…studies like this that shine a critical spotlight on science – which are fairly 'novel' and attention-grabbing in themselves – may help to keep people aware of just how big of an issue this really is."

Patchen again…

Mark thy calendar …

 Manayunk Roxborough Art Center (MRAC) at 419 Green Lane (rear) in Philadelphia presents " Four Distinct Poets: Hanoch Guy, Leonard Gontarek, Jim Brennan and Cameron Conaway--- on Sunday, September 25:   3:00 to 5:30 PM. Open Reading afterwards. Refreshments will be provided. $5 Donation requested. Phone: 215-482-3363.

Jim Brennan was a street corner vendor, carwash grunt, and labored on warehouse loading docks before he went to work on the Philadelphia waterfront. Today his blue-collar heritage filters into his work as author, poet and Cityscape editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal. Jim’s work has appeared in Everyday Fiction, Fringe,, The Moonstone Anthol-ogy and other outlets.

Cameron Conaway is a former professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter, poet, creative writing instructor at Penn State Brandywine, social justice warrior. Cameron Conaway is the author of 5 books, including Malaria, Poems, which was named a Best Book of 2014 by NPR. He has lived in Thailand to fight human trafficking and Africa fighting malaria. His work as a journalist has appeared in publications such as Newsweek, ESPN and The Guardian, and has been supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. He lives in Glenside.

Leonard Gontarek is the author of five books of poems: St. Genevieve Watching Over Paris,Van Morrison Can't Find His FeetZen For BeginnersDéjà Vu Diner, He Looked Beyond My Faults and  Saw My Needs (Hanging Loose Press, 2013). His poems have appeared inAmerican Poetry Review, Field, Poet Lore, Verse, Exquisite Corpse, etc. Since 2006, he has conducted 1000 poetry workshops in venues including The Moonstone Arts Center, The Kelly Writers House, the Philadelphia Arts in Education Partnership, and a weekly Saturday workshop from his home in West Philadelphia. He hosts the Green Line Café Reading and Interview Series.  See:

Hanoch Guy grew up in Israel and is a bilingual poet in Hebrew and English. He teaches at Temple University and at the Musehouse. His poetry has been published in many journals, including Poetica, where he won an award, and The International Journal of Genocide Studies.He has four books of poetry.

 Peter Krok, the editor of the Schuylkill Valley Journal (Print) and Schuylkill Valley Journal Online (,  is also the Humanities Director of the MRAC. He hosts and coordinates the Sunday Humanities series, which he started in 1990.  For information about the program, please call Peter Krok at the MRAC at 215-482-3363 or contact him at

Hmm …

… Will the Left Survive the Millennials? - The New York Times.

In an era of weaponized sensitivity, participation in public discourse is growing so perilous, so fraught with the danger of being caught out for using the wrong word or failing to uphold the latest orthodoxy in relation to disability, sexual orientation, economic class, race or ethnicity, that many are apt to bow out. Perhaps intimidating their elders into silence is the intention of the identity-politics cabal — and maybe my generation should retreat to our living rooms and let the young people tear one another apart over who seemed to imply that Asians are good at math.
Well, I don't care whether left or right survives, but I do care about the freedom to say what I think whether anybody likes it or not.

Seeing things as they are …

… The Counsel of Despair? Albert J. Nock on Self-Government - The Imaginative Conservative.  (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… Nock concluded that very little could, in fact be done about the state. He retreated into a philosophy of “intelligent selfishness, intelligent egoism, intelligent hedonism.”[24] As America lurched toward involvement in World War I, Nock would listen as acquaintances, swept up in war fever, raged against the Kaiser. When their tirade ended, he would simply agree with them “and let it go with that.” After the war, Nock made no effort to join a now-chastened public in anti-war efforts, despite his abhorrence of war, because “I knew, as they apparently did not, that if you go in for education you must first make sure of having something educable to educate and second, you must have some one with a clear and competent idea of what he is about to do the educating. I saw no prospect that either condition would be met.”[25] Indeed, when confronted with any such efforts Nock was inclined to refer to them as “Uplift,” with an ironic upper-case “U.”[26] Despite his eloquent writing against the modern state and on behalf of human liberty, he concluded that most people displayed no interest in liberty at all, and indeed often displayed a “curious canine pride” in their “servitorship.”[27] Indeed he complained that “a status of permanent irresponsibility under collectivism would be most congenial and satisfactory” to the “psychically-anthropoid majority.”[28]
I think Nock regarded himself as a realist, not a pessimist. And the great number of people around today who have been sufficiently trained to obtain credentials provide strong evidence that what he said about educability may well be true.

Something to think on …

I have always maintained that the one important phenomenon presented by modern society is - the enormous prosperity of Fools.
— Wilkie Collins, who died on this date in 1889

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Happy World Rhino Day …

 Two rhinoceroses eating a birthday cake at a zoo just south of Seoul , South Korea. | Pictures of the day: 22 September 2016 - News.

Our world and time …

… in all its ambiguity: Konstantinos Kavaphes (Constantine Cavafy) — Waiting for the Barbarians (Translated by Richmond Lattimore).

Hear, hear …

… UPDATED! In Defense of Instapundit Glenn Reynolds, Suspended from Twitter for Suggesting Motorists "Run Down" Charlotte Protesters - Hit & Run : (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Twitter's masters are proving increasingly pathetic. I interviewed Glenn once. Cool guy. Like to see him on the Supreme Court.

The outsider …

… The Eavesdropper’s Secret: On John O’Hara - The New Yorker. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Pottsville, Pennsylvania, when O’Hara was born, in 1905, was the prosperous commercial center of Pennsylvania’s anthracite region. His father was a successful and respected physician there, and the family belonged to the country-club, horse-riding gentry. Yet, because he was Irish and Catholic, O’Hara felt himself to be an outsider, and all his life, even after he had become wealthy and famous, he retained an outsider’s neediness and sullen defensiveness. His face was pressed against a glass that sometimes wasn’t there.

Dark indeed …

… Solitary Praxis: Salem Witch Trials: embracing the dark side.

Hacking note …

It seems OK to email me now. I just have to check my Trash folder from time to time, because that's where everything coming in nd going out currently goes. Tomorrow, Kevin Lauer, my tech guru, will resolve it all.

Celebrity madness …

… Brangelina: the risks of living the lives of others - Philosophy and Life.

Sounds good …

… Anecdotal Evidence: `A Cheap, Easy High--With No Side Effects'.

In case you wondered …

… Tolkien on Sex | Brandywine Books.

Recommended …

… About Last Night | So you want to see a show?

Recognition …

 Paul Davis On Crime: Robert Caro To Receive Honorary National Book Award Medal.

Something to think on …

Life is so extraordinary. Wonderful surprises are just around the most unexpected corners.
— Rosamunde Pilcher, born on this date in 1924

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

More on that hacked email …

I have changed my password, but anything I try to send, goes to my trash (on my desktop) or to nowhere I can discern (on my iPad). Hope Kevin, my tech genius, can help with this tomorrow.

Hacked email …

I have got several notices from various friends alerting me that my gmail account had been hacked. I received an email from someone the other day with a Morgan Stanley attachment. I replied that I thought he had sent it to the wrong address. Apparently, that set off something. I have since changed my google password. So I hope that helps. I am also awaiting  word from my tech guy. My apologies to all.

Does that include idiot legislators?

… Italy Proposes Law To Make Mocking People Online Illegal | Techdirt.

And yes, I am mocking you. Nothing like a stupid law to solve nothing at all.

And the winner is …

… Trinidadian poet Vahni Capildeo wins 2016 Forward prize for poetry | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, G. E. Reutter.)

Happy birthday …

… Solitary Praxis: Stephen King's birthday -- and a question.

I suspect King will fare well with posterity.

The art of the sentence …

… What Makes a Sentence a Masterpiece? | Foundation for Economic Education. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Let's not forget "Call me Ishmael."

Something to think on …

Beauty is in the heart of the beholder.
— H. G. Wells, born on this date in 1866

Those were the days …

… Nigeness: Stinkpipe Days.

Sounds good to me …

… Bring More Poetry to Michigan City by Michele McDannold - GoFundMe.

Higher-level kindergarten …

 Colleges turn to coloring books to de-stress students - The College Fix.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hanging with ignoramuses …

… Feature: Life Among the Thought Leaders. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The rest of the evening was given over to discussion. Our salon brought back memories of the film courses I took in college. Some people argued that if the scenario in the film happened in real life the world would be more violent. Some said the opposite was the case. Others complained that the film was misogynistic. Others said it was not. Some called the film “sad.” Some insisted it was “hopeful.” A gentleman in the back row confusingly referred to Children of Men as “propaganda,” on behalf of what government or cause I could not say. No one mentioned religion except Fukuyama.
These are people who think in categories.

Fools' gold …

 Solitary Praxis: Upton Sinclair, The Jungle, and the mystery of socialism.

Ho-hum …

… The Trouble with Sombreros by Francine Prose | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

For many Mexicans, the sombrero (now worn almost exclusively as a costume accessory by mariachis) perpetuates the myth of the backward, old-fashioned campesino, a throwback to an earlier century, chattering away in the heavily-accented, high-pitched, rapid-fire rhythms of Speedy Gonzales, the cartoon mouse, in his big yellow sombrero. In the past one more often saw—painted on dinner plates and tourist knick-nacks, embroidered on felt jackets—a caricature of a Mexican peasant dozing off, drunk or just lazy, leaning against a cactus, his face obscured by an enormous sombrero.
For many Mexicans. Not sure how many. And no matter. They're the ones we have to cater to, not those others who sensibly don't give a damn. I'll bet I know more Mexicans than Francine Prose does. She should come visit my neighborhood sometime. She was, by the way, one of those who protested giving a PEN award to  Charlie Hebdo.

Underrated poet …

… Solitary Praxis: Henry Wadsworth Longellow's first published poem.

I reviewed a biography of Longfellow some years back. Among other things, he was a genuinely good man.

The advantages of downtime …

On the Pleasures of Not Writing | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

By a thread, maybe …

… Cosmic Certainties - WSJ. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

More Kenneth Patchen …

Something to think on …

I think in order to move forward into the future, you need to know where you've been.
— Charles Williams, born on this date in 1886

Unpromising magic …

 TLSPoem of the Week: ‘Somersby Brook’ – TheTLS. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)


… D. Keith Mano, Author Whose Focus Was Christianity, Dies at 74 - The New York Times. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Monday, September 19, 2016

I had no idea …

… who the greatest living author was: Reluctant Habits | a cultural forum in ever-shifting standing.

Very funny …

… The Writer’s Almanac for September 15, 2016 | Windows is Shutting Down | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Strange and brilliant …

 On the Poetry of Kathleen Hart: Everything that Rises Must Converge | Catholic World Report - Global Church news and views. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Hart, as she writes of herself in these poems, is someone with a keen sense of how fragile the unity of ourselves is. But rather than writing a poetry that merely confesses the wounding of falling apart, she draws on that experience in order to perceive with special acuity something that is true not just about her but about all of us and about the world. If all things in nature are borrowings of disparate elements drawn together in often delicate unities, where the whole may be greater than the sum of its parts, but the parts remain visible nonetheless, then Hart, as someone with a sense of how things fall apart, is especially positioned to celebrate their uncanny coming together in the first place.

Hear, hear …

 Solitary Praxis: "To Autumn" by John Keats.

I usually say that Keats is the second-greatest poet in English, reserving first place for venerable Will.
But if you're talking strictly lyric poetry, Keats is the master of words as music. And a lovable figure to boot. The recent film about him, Bright Star, is worth seeing.

Virtually lost …

 Andrew Sullivan: My Distraction Sickness — and Yours. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Eliot discerned this decades ago:

Here is a place of disaffection
Time before and time after
In a dim light: neither daylight
Investing form with lucid stillness
Turning shadow into transient beauty
Wtih slow rotation suggesting permanence
Nor darkness to purify the soul
Emptying the sensual with deprivation
Cleansing affection from the temporal.
Neither plentitude nor vacancy. Only a flicker
Over the strained time-ridden faces
Distracted from distraction by distraction
Filled with fancies and empty of meaning
Tumid apathy with no concentration
Men and bits of paper, whirled by the cold wind
That blows before and after time,
Wind in and out of unwholesome lungs
Time before and time after.
Eructation of unhealthy souls
Into the faded air, the torpid
Driven on the wind that sweeps the gloomy hills of London,
Hampstead and Clerkenwell, Campden and Putney,
Highgate, Primrose and Ludgate. Not here
Not here the darkness, in this twittering world.

Something to think on …

Novelists do not write as birds sing, by the push of nature. It is part of the job that there should be much routine and some daily stuff on the level of carpentry.
— William Golding, born on this date in 1911

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Hmm …

 Safe spaces are not the only threat to free speech | Timothy Garton Ash | Opinion | The Guardian.
Here, anyone who believes that free speech is vital to a university must draw the line. For what these student activists are claiming when they insist that, for example, Germaine Greer may not speak on a particular campus (because of her view that a woman is not “a man without a cock”), is that one group of students has the right to prevent another group of students hearing a speaker whom the second group actually wants to hear. Such no-platforming is, in effect, student-on-student censorship. It is an abuse of language to suggest that anyone can seriously be “unsafe” because someone whose views they find offensive or upsetting is speaking in a room on the other side of campus.

Discovering Orsinia …

 Ursula K. Le Guin: How I Started Writing.

Mark thy calendar …

Green Line Café Open Reading - $50 in prizes for Best Poem 9/20

& 100 Thousand Poets For Change – The Philadelphia Reading 9/24



You will be given 3 minutes to read your poetry.

50 Dollars In Gift Certificates for Best Poem:




Sign Up In Advance:


Philadelphia, PA
Across from Clark Park

This Event Is Free







Saturday, September 24, 2016 2-5 PM

This Is An Open Reading.
Each poet is invited to read poems
on a social or political issue. Your
poems and one poem BY SOMEONE ELSE.
5 Minutes.

Sign Up In Advance:
(Please plan to attend the entire event.)


(Please note the address for this event
there are other Green Line Café locations.)

AT 43rd & Baltimore  Avenue,

Philadelphia PA, USA


This Event Is Free

This reading is in participation with
100 Thousand Poets For Change –
Poets And Artists Worldwide
Unite For Peace And Justice

Visit their site here:
And on Facebook here:


So much sweetness –
the city’s been anesthetized;
a skinny boy, who barely
takes up space on earth,
and a dog,
and I, a soldier in an unseen war,
and a river I love.
The lindens bloom.

Adam Zagajewski

Coming Up:
October 18, 7PM
Autumn McClintock
Reading & Signing her debut book,
After the Creek