Thursday, May 31, 2018

Culture - 1989

Old School Professors ...

On Joseph Brodsky as Professor:

Anniversary …

 Informal Inquiries (Revisited): Walt Whitman — “that dirty old man”.

What's ging on …

… around the world: Top Shots. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Neat …

 Songster Dom Flemons Brings Back the Melodies of the Black Cowboy | At the Smithsonian | Smithsonian. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

What the rest has been said to be …

… Informal Inquiries (Revisited): Blogging note — Silence.

It's a Trans-Briton! Narrating the Royal Wedding!

On the TV screen … was a commentator named Thomas J. Mace-Archer-Mills, Esq. He has built a media persona over recent years as one of Britain’s authorities on the royalty, and he appeared in dozens of interviews leading up to the wedding to explain and defend the monarchy….
In his posh British accent, as crowds awaited Ms. Markle’s car, Mr. Mace-Archer-Mills told Norway’s TV 2: “The most important aspect is keeping integrity, keeping formality and making sure that the traditions and heritage that we have as British people remain at the forefront.”…
There are Anglophiles, royal-family devotees and people who obsess over BBC dramas. Then there is 38-year-old Mr. Mace-Archer-Mills, who started life as Thomas “Tommy” Muscatello, an Italian-American from upstate New York.
He loved England as a boy, he said, and had an innate feeling for British pronunciation as a youth, picking up his accent in a variety of ways, primarily from visiting the U.K.
His transformation into Mr. Mace-Archer-Mills, he said, came from a growing realization that he identified more as British than American. “I found where I’m supposed to be and who I am supposed to be.”
Aslaug Henriksen, head of foreign news at TV 2, said the channel wasn’t aware Mr. Mace-Archer-Mills is American by origin and added it wasn’t “important for us in this interview setting.” “The Jim Jefferies Show” said: “If we had any journalistic standards, we imagine we’d be quite upset by this news.”
WSJ LINK - subscription may be needed. 

Remembering …

… “Bro – he lives!” Joseph Brodsky on the morality of uselessness, and the need to “switch off” | The Book Haven.

In short ...

… Aphorisms from Antique Lands | Michael R J Bonner - (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

For Taleb the capacity to explain why something unforeseen happened after the fact is useless in comparison to being able to assess present risk, and the only people who can do that competently are those who have skin in the game — those who have a stake in the outcome and who willingly take on risk. They understand the game because they are involved in it.

The Cold War in Africa …

… BOOK REVIEW: 'Cold War Navy Seal' by James M. Hawes and Mary Ann Koenig - Washington Times.

The Cold War in Africa …

… BOOK REVIEW: 'Cold War Navy Seal' by James M. Hawes and Mary Ann Koenig - Washington Times.

Something to think on …

The truth is simple. If it was complicated, everyone would understand it.
— Walt Whitman, born on this date in 1819

Lovely …

… Threnody for a Brown Girl by Countee Cullen | Poetry Magazine. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Yesterday was the 115th anniversary of Countee Cullen's birth.

A world underground …

… Tell Us About Your Hometown's Hidden Tunnels - Atlas Obscura. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

I know Philly had tunnels. Don't know if it still does. Probably not.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Listen in …

… Episode 271 – Christopher Brown – The Virtual Memories Show.

I don’t think I would write the kind of science fiction I write if I hadn’t had the experience of eating deep-dish pizza with Strom Thurmond during the Clarence Thomas hearings.”

The big book …

… Informal Inquiries (Revisited): Holy Bible — The journey of discovery begins.

Good question …

 "If A Clockwork Orange Can Corrupt, Why Not Shakespeare and the Bible?" | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Inquirer reviews …

Stephen King's 'The Outsider': A thrill ride from an American classic writer.

Jewel of journalism …

 Meet the human Google – Edda Tasiemka, 95 - The Oldie. (Hat tip, Dave Lull,)

Mercifully, the treasure trove is not going to be incinerated or recycled, but has instead been given free of charge as a going concern to another archivist, James Hyman, on condition he keeps it intact. He has exciting plans for its expansion (of which more later). 

Capable of bearing doubt …

… There Must Be Sacred Art: On Peter O’Leary’s ‘Thick and Dazzling Darkness’ - The Millions. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

According to O’Leary, the poet charged with religion approaches that “gloomy and ominous” darkness because “the divine is present, and there is the prospect of law, covenant, revelation, and genuine power.” Although his roster is narrow, O’Leary’s project is ambitious: “The work of these poets suggests that a secular art, even in a secular age, is insufficient for representing reality completely. There must be sacred art. For poets, this means there must be religious poetry written.”

Retro alert...

In case you wondered …

… Get a Clue: Television’s 10 Best Mystery and Detective Shows : The Booklist Reader. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Suet in the roast …

… State of Affairs - / current issue. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I have one encounter in my life with devout swingers. They were among the strangest people I have ever met. Oddly, they seemed strangely square.

Rollin' on the river …

 Informal Inquiries (Revisited): Thoreau on the river ... and other adventures.

In the long run …

… Informal Inquiries (Revisited): Emily Dickinson — “All but Death, can be Adjusted—“.

Eerie and plausible …

… The Void Behind the Face of Order: Robert Aickman’s Strange Stories - Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… For [Aikman], the word “strange” seems to have been heavy with meaning. In one of the stories collected here, Aickman points out that strangeness “only happens when you’re not looking.” Perhaps it is something like Freud’s “uncanny” — that terrifying moment when everyday life suffers a sea change. Aickman was fascinated by incidents that rip apart the “foggy tissue of things seemingly under control,” when we glimpse “the spirit behind the appearance, the void behind the face of order.” This “foggy tissue” of rationality holds together because nothing domesticates like the conscious mind. Every decade produces its peculiar combination of the incredible, the grotesque, and the monstrous; and each new generation grows up taking those things for granted. To recover the strange means to scrape away the familiar, and it is no simple task to see again, with fresh eyes, what we witness every day.

Something to think on …

The State is not the nation, and the State can be modified and even abolished in its present form, without harming the nation. On the contrary, with the passing of the dominance of the State, the genuine life-enhancing forces of the nation will be liberated.
— Randolph Bourne, born on this date in 1886

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Crime and the English village …

 In The Spotlight: Shirley Wells’ Into the Shadows | Confessions of a Mystery Novelist...

Q&A …

… The Brothers Goldberg - Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Much in what he says …

… though there’s more in what Percy says: Walker Percy’s Funny and Frightening Prophecy | The American Conservative.

This double revaluation of mind and nature that began with Descartes resulted in a radically new conception of human freedom as sheer individual autonomy, the right to determine one’s own identity and destiny. Hence our ever-greater disregard for communal responsibilities and obligations—except for those that, in our sovereign subjectivity, we select for ourselves. Until recently, such potential hyper-individualism was held in check by our reliance on a generalized set of religious beliefs and moral practices to which most people gave their consent, if vaguely. These universal first principles provided the constraints and directives that enabled human beings to flourish or fail. Such classical liberalism undergirds all Enlightenment democracies. But now these checks and balances have been largely removed. The triumph of sovereign subjective preference has resulted in what Percy called “a tempestuous restructuring of consciousness,” a shift in human existence that amounts to the invention of a virtually new species. Percy calls it “a strange Janus monster,” both haunted and paralyzed with self-trans-transcendent longings and fears that mere animals do not experience.
I suspect Percy would not have been so surprised at “the election of a self-confessed ‘pussy-grabbing’ president,” given that the man inaugurated a decade before his novel appeared was also something of a pussy-grabber.

Notably less than brotherly …

 Informal Inquiries (Revisited): Crimes and Punishments In Philadelphia.

Worrisome …

… [ LETTER ] - Taipei Times. (Hat tip, Dan Bloom.)

Writer of fiction …

… The Mind of Donald E. Westlake | CrimeReads. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… It turns out that Westlake really did make it all up. The secret meetings, the complicated communications methods, the identifying of jobs and buying of plans, the dealers in guns and fake documents: all of it—buttressed, I’m sure, by some regular old library research—came from Westlake’s head. It’s convincing because he was very good at his job. And his job was making things up.

Anniversary …

Informal Inquiries (Revisited): King Arthur — fact or fiction?

Hmm …

… An English Teacher's Incorrect Correction of a Trump Letter Illustrates His Critics' Reflexive Condescension - Hit & Run :  (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The staffer who wrote this form letter can hardly be faulted for following the federal government's style manual, even if you and I might not like the rules it contains. Nor did he do anything wrong by referring to the Justice Department's proposed ban on bump stocks as a "rule," a term that seems to have puzzled Mason. 
It certainly illustrates that if you're going to be pedantic, make sure you know what you're talking about.

Something to think on …

It is absurd for the Evolutionist to complain that it is unthinkable for an admittedly unthinkable God to make everything out of nothing, and then pretend that it is more thinkable that nothing should turn itself into everything.
— G. K. Chesterton, born on this date in 1874

coolest SUPPORT CHAT ever, no really

Thanks for contacting Apple Support. My name is Courtney. How can I help you?
Julie Chovanes
Hi Courtney! I;m Julie. I lost my Left Air pod
Hey there Julie
Sorry to hear about your loosing your left air pod
we can set up a replacement for you
The cost would be $69 for the part
Julie Chovanes
yes I know sigh second time
Julie Chovanes
my left ear is air pod challenged
3rd times a charm
Lets go ahead and set this up
What is the serial number of the air pods
Julie Chovanes
yes i can;t read it it;s so teeny need a flashlight unless there is some electronic ay to read it hold on a sec
are you connected to your iPhone
If your AirPods are connected to your iOS device, you can also go to Settings > General > About > AirPods for the serial number.
Julie Chovanes
oh ok hold on
Julie Chovanes
sorry wasn't connected
Ok lets see if you can make out that serial number
Or send me a pic of it
Julie Chovanes
Julie Chovanes
you'd think i could remember that from the last time i lost them lololol
Hahahaha its ok
You are not going to do it anymore
my husband has gone through about 4 also
Julie Chovanes
yay 3rd times a charm!
He keeps leaving them in the washer
Julie Chovanes
I got frazzled fixing my hair or something between a store and car this time
Julie Chovanes
and didn;t realize it was lost till I got home
Julie Chovanes
like a earring
Julie Chovanes
and then you wonder how dorky you looked all the time with just one ;o
Happens to the best of us
What iPhone model do you use with them
Julie Chovanes
the first time I lost it off a chairlift skiing a Big Sky Mt when I took off my helmet to to fix my hair which is def cooler
Julie Chovanes
Julie Chovanes
but both times its a hair thing hmmm theme
Julie I mean
Are you looking to get a new hairstyle. Or haircut
Julie Chovanes
Julie Chovanes
I play with it too much because I'm getting old and its going to all fall out some day
and we will all wear crooked wigs
Julie Chovanes
Do you want to get the left Air Pod mailed to you
Julie Chovanes
yep or I can pick it up in King of Prussia PA store later today too
email address
Julie Chovanes
Is that an organization
Julie Chovanes
Julie Chovanes
non profit
Julie Chovanes
helping trans people 
Awesome sauce!!!!!
Julie Chovanes
You started it?
Julie Chovanes
Wow thats amazing
Julie Chovanes
ty! I;m a lawyer and very privileged
Julie Chovanes
and then figured I needed to give back
Julie Chovanes
needed the good karma to make up for all the bad I had ccumulated
Julie Chovanes
How wonderful. Thats really amazing.
Julie Chovanes
Julie Chovanes
best support chat ever
Awwww thanks.
I think what you are doing is awesome sauce.
Julie Chovanes

Monday, May 28, 2018

Meanwhile ... Science!

The study [of Miss USA winners] found more of the recent winners were muscular and toned rather than thin, which showed that attitudes toward physical beauty have shifted.
Head researcher Frances Bozsik published the study’s findings in the journal Sex Roles, explaining: “There is a shift in the thin ideal female figure to one that now includes the appearance of physical fitness via muscularity.”

"Western Europe's encroaching tyranny"

On Friday, British free-speech activist and Islam critic Tommy Robinson was acting as a responsible citizen journalist -- reporting live on camera from outside a Leeds courtroom where several Muslims were being tried for child rape -- when he was set upon by several police officers. In the space of the next few hours, a judge tried, convicted, and sentenced him to 13 months in jail -- and also issued a gag order, demanding a total news blackout on the case in the British news media. Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was immediately taken to Hull Prison.

Who knew?

… Informal Inquiries (Revisited): 28 May 1754 — George Washington starts a world war.

That unreachable island …

… Forgotten Poems #43: "Youth," by David Macbeth Moir.

Adventures in a library …

… Alan Taylor - Keeper of the Locked Cabinet | Literary Review | Issue 464. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Poems by vets …

2000 lbs., by Brian Turner.

… Toys in a Field, by Yusef Komunyakaa.

(Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Something to think on …

The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life. To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.
— Walker Percy, born on this date in 1916

Sunday, May 27, 2018

"Distilled short stories …

… Arrows and Onions: images that wound and inspire – Essay it like you mean it. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

‘I think that a poem should be understood at first reading, line-by-line. But I don’t think it should be exhausted at first reading. I hope that what I write gives the reader something when they read it first, enough, in fact to make them read it again.’
See also: Radio Poems.

A most notable anniversary …

… Nigeness: Ten Years.

And the winners are …

… Man Booker International Prize: a big night for Olga Tokarczuk, Jennifer Croft, and one phenomenal publisher, Jacques Testard | The Book Haven.

Grim ruins …

… Armenia's Ghostly Soviet Center. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Ah, yes …

… Capturing the Architecture of American Agriculture—and a Passing Way of Life | Glimpses | Zócalo Public Square. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

I saw a lot of this driving around the Midwest years ago. It brings back memories.

Elegy …

 Singularity: Poet Marie Howe’s Beautiful Tribute to Stephen Hawking and Our Belonging to the Universe – Brain Pickings. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Personal and decorous …

… Anecdotal Evidence: 'A Tangential Line Lifting,Straight as a Contrail'.

Anniversary …

 Informal Inquiries (Revisited): Hammett’s Birthday.

For the defense …

… Andrew Davies to defend John Updike with Rabbit TV series | Television & radio | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

“We do want people, if not to love Rabbit but at least to understand him. Some of the things have been a bit difficult for young intelligent females to cope with … but I think his insight into both men and women is just so extraordinary.”

Love in the Ruins ... or more on Walker Percy ...

A really good review in The American Conservative.  The reviewer agrees with my post here  that Percy foresaw so much of our world, and talks about Percy's hope and unearned grace:
The God of the Gospel is no bully. He will not force his way in. He knocks patiently at the door. As in the case of Dr. Thomas More, the Lord often makes backdoor entrances, through redemptive defeats rather than pyrrhic victories. “Despair,” the wizard Gandalf declares in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, “is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt.” So does Walker Percy summon his present-day readers to a deeply ironic but no less bracing hope, by way of his funny, frighteningly prophetic novel of 1971—to make both life and love in the ruins.
  (Walker Percy, The American Conservative and me.  Perfect together.  Ok I do love Walker Percy at least.)

Something to think on …

There can be no knowledge without emotion. We may be aware of a truth, yet until we have felt its force, it is not ours. To the cognition of the brain must be added the experience of the soul.
— Arnold Bennett, born on this date in 1867

C.S. Lewis on disagreement

At the start of his career, Lewis could be something of a bully, and a number of his first students (most famously, the future poet laureate John Betjeman) did not flourish under that regime. By his early thirties, however, Lewis realized he was in danger of becoming “a hardened bigot shouting every one down till he had no friends left” (as he wrote to his friend Arthur Greeves): “You have no idea how much of my time I spend just hating people whom I disagree with.”
Alistair Fowler notes that “by the time I knew him, he usually remembered to avoid bigotry. His contentiousness was joy in debate; he never bullied me.” So Lewis went from pugnacity to magnanimity by way of corrigibility. He made the painful discovery that he had flaws and learned both how to concede when he made mistakes and how to correct himself publicly.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Stay tuned …

Informal Inquiries: This blog, like Jacob Marley, is deader than a door nail.

The holiday calls …

We are about to take off for a cookout in Fort Washington State Park with my stepdaughter Jennifer, her family, and friends. So no more blogging today.

Q&A …

… Philip Roth on Mortality: "It's a Bad Contract, and We All Have to Sign It" | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

In case you wondered …

 17 Secrets of Audiobook Narrators | Mental Floss. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Probably truw …

 You can’t really know John Ashbery’s poems until you’ve seen his collages. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Maybe …

… Biographers! Bah! Robert Conquest and W.H. Auden on “shilling lives” | The Book Haven. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I am about to write a review of a biography that happens to be quite extraordinary

The wages of diversity...

Listen in …

 2018 Memorial Day Bonus Mini-Episode – The Virtual Memories Show.

“And I felt relief, because it meant I could stay beneath his notice, that I as good as never existed, as far as he was concerned.”

Peterson's "strongest supporter" turns on him ...

Jordan has studied and understands authoritarian demagogic leaders. They know how to attract a following. In an interview with Ethan Klein in an H3 Podcast, Jordan describes how such leaders learn to repeat those things which make the crowd roar, and not repeat those things that do not. The crowd roared the first time Jordan opposed the so-called “transgender agenda.” Perhaps they would roar again, whether it made sense or not.
And I don't think there is a transgender agenda.  hmmm but maybe (lololol not not really)

Master satirist …

… Tom Wolfe Was Death on Intellectual Pretension. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

“Radical Chic” put a serious dent in the radical movement that was then sweeping America and that today chiefly finds a home in the much shabbier surroundings of university humanities and social-science departments. Many thought the essay the work of a right-winger, but they were wrong. The essay was the work of a man who enjoyed the comedy of rich contradictions played out by people prepared to desert their common sense in the hope of boosting their status. 

Another chance at paradise …

 Zealotry of Guerin: The Morning after the Deluge (Joseph Turner), Sonnet #406.

Sound observation …

… Poem: A. M. Juster - Queen Mob's Tea House. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

It was formerly a terrifying view to me that I should one day be an old woman. I now find that Nature has provided pleasures for every state.
— Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, baptised on this date in 1689

For the season …

… In Spring by Rose King : American Life in Poetry. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden,)

Ivan Turgenev

After Knausgaard's recent essay in the New York Times -- a piece focused on Russian literature and society -- I was motivated to read one of authors to whom he repeatedly returns: Ivan Turgenev. 

Given my focus of late on short stories, I purchased First Loves, a collection focused -- as the title suggests -- on early love, on stories in which love overwhelms or awakens a younger character. I should say at the start that these stories are excellent: line by line, even in translation, Turgenev emerges as a master. His prose are clean, clear, and precise. For me, his writing is defined by an organic quality. There's something here -- something about Turgenev's rendering of Russia -- that feels like the soil. 

I mean this of course as a compliment: with the exception of Graham Swift's Waterland, I can't remember a book that was so biotic, that was so clearly defined by its earthly qualities. As critics have argued, Turgenev really does use the short story as the basis for a wider exploration: of class, of politics, of economics. At the root of all these stories is a subtle -- and sometimes no so subtle -- examination of Russian society before the collapse of serfdom. Even when his stories don't formally touch on this topic, they can't help but highlight the chasm -- for that's what it was -- between top and bottom, rich and poor. 

That, though, is not the reason I was so taken with Turgenev's collection. As with Swift, this was instead a function of Turgenev's successful rendering of emotion. Time and again, Turgenev wields a knowing pen, casting youthful love as an awakening, as an experience distinct from its later manifestations. When Turgenev's characters are frustrated, it's as if their entire world collapses. And it's little wonder: for this is how love feels to those involved, to those who have enjoyed it for the first time -- and have then lost it.

I'm finishing the final story in Turgenev's collection now -- and I can already tell: the master is at it again. This story, like the others in First Loves, is defined by its lucidity -- both of thought and of prose. I can't recommend the collection enough. 

Friday, May 25, 2018

Better late …

 Informal Inquiries: Today in 1977 — Shakespeare returns to China.


Anniversary …

 Informal Inquiries: Here’s Waldo on his birthday.

Something to think on …

Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, Faith looks up.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, born on this date in 1803

Art and time …

 Landmark | About Last Night.

We were tickled in a different way when we arrived at the museum and discovered that having attained the august age of sixty-two, both of us now qualify for the NBMMA’s senior discount. Needless to say, I don’t think of myself as a senior citizen—I rarely feel much older than fifty or so, and most people seem to think I’m quite a bit younger than I look at first glance—and it had never before occurred to me that the time had finally come when I could get two dollars knocked off the price of admission to an art museum. So here it is at last, the distinguished thing, I muttered to myself as I stepped up to the front desk and confessed to being…well, middle-aged.


 First Known When Lost: A Life.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Happy birthday …

Paper war …

… Shootout at the New York Corral | City Journal. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

My fiction may, now and again, illuminate aspects of the human condition, but I do not consciously set out to do so: I am a storyteller.
— William Trevor, born on this date in 1928

Missing the one thing necessary …

… Estimable men : Essays in Idleness. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The good, the true, the beautiful: I keep going on about these Platonic transcendentals, which take us beyond the parameters of workaday earthly life. Doing this, they cannot be restricted to formal compositions. I think of them as aspects of the Gloria — of a greater beauty that “contains” all three; what “enlightened” men of a previous century attempted to call “the sublime.” But they are not art; art at its highest is a means to them. By “highest” I think, for example, of Dante, infusing meaning into all he draws. There is nothing like this in our contemporary world, and could be nothing like it. We do not share a language that would make that possible, as men did in earlier times. We live in “modern” times when meaning is rejected, when “God is dead” for all practical purposes. The good, the true, and the beautiful craze us. We want to embrace them, but they “don’t fit.”

Who would've thought...

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Good for her …

 Defensive Knife Use: Teen stabs would-be abductor with her pocketknife - The Truth About Knives.

I helped raise three. That’s how I would have liked them to deal with that sort of thing.

Blogging note …

I have to be out and about most of today. Will resume blogging whenever I can.

$30,000 to $30 million, or Pricing is all about sourcing

How a $30 Million Renaissance Masterpiece Was Found
A handful of clues tipped off an Italian museum that a painting in its storeroom was a treasure by Mantegna, valued at $30 million, not $30,000
From the comments
Yet again the art world loudly proclaims it's hypocrisy.  The value of this painting (and a vast quantity of other 'art') has nothing to due with it's inherent beauty but only with the identity of the creator.  Happily, this is a game only for rich fools and those clever enough to fleece them.
(Note this is from the WSJ and subscription may be required.  Someone noted the Journal has removed access from a Google search.) 

Hmm …

… Wynton Marsalis: Rap is More Damaging Than Confederate Statues.

And where does that style come from?

… Tom Wolfe, American Original — With Influences – Lingua Franca - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

 . . . innovations always have some ancestor or ancestors, however indirect. (Or do they? Correct me if you have in mind a pure original.)  And I’ve been musing on some of Tom Wolfe’s literary forebears. With one exception, the ones on my mind all come from fiction — not surprising, considering that Wolfe championed journalism as a literary form.

Objections raised …

… Tom Wolfe and the Telltale Mrs. Otey | (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The author gives Wolfe some credit  for honesty, but the weakness he sees in Wolfe's writing is that "he tended to see what he wanted to see." But I suspect the author himself tends to do the same. Meaning, after all, is intentional. We all tend to find what we are looking for. The truth you what from a writer is the truth as he sees it. You can take it from there.

Downward spiral...

Something to think on …

One for whom the pebble has value must be surrounded by treasures wherever he goes.
— Pär Lagerkvist, born on this date in 1891

Mark thy calendar …


P O E T R Y   I N   C O M M O N



                                POETRY + MUSIC

DICK LOURIE, Poet, Saxophonist

BOBBY ZANKEL, Saxophonist

SEKAI ‘afua ZANKEL, Poet


Tuesday, June 19, 2018, 7 PM

(Please note the address, there are
  other Green Line Café locations.)

     This Event Is Free

Bobby Zankel

Writing in the Boston Phoenix, ASCAP Deems Taylor, award winning author Norman Weinstein
declared that ”Bobby Zankel deserves any Talent Deserving Wider Recognition Award that the
jazz press might offer”. In reviewing the CD “Emerging from the Earth, ”Jazz Times wrote, “He’s
headed to the status of a prime jazz innovator “. But who is Bobby Zankel and where has he

The Brooklyn born composer/alto saxophonist first began attracting national attention
around 1971, while a student at the University of Wisconsin as a member of the legendary jazz
master, MacArthur Fellow Cecil Taylor’s “Unit Core Ensemble”. Zankel was combining his
performing and research with Taylor with saxophone studies with the renown Fred Hemke and
working with master drummer George Brown’s quartet that featured organist Melvin Rhyne. His
“underground” reputation grew on the New York “Loft Scene” (73-75), where he performed with
the likes of Sunny Murray, William Parker, and Ray Anderson. He continued his apprenticeship
with Taylor working in his large group which at times included Jimmy Lyons , Hannibal, David S.
Ware, and Andrew Cyrille. In 1975, Zankel moved to Philadelphia to raise his family and to
expand his artistic vision without heed to commercialism or the trends of the times.
Since arriving in Philadelphia his performances as a sideman have ranged widely from the
Hank Mobley Quintet ,Sunny Murray Group, Jymie Merritt’s Forerunners, the Dells, NRBQ,
Odean Pope’s Saxophone Choir, Tyrone Brown’s Group, and Mogauwane Mahoele (who he
toured South Africa with). He has continued into the 21st century to work in different ensembles
lead by Cecil Taylor in Europe and New York. Zankel has recorded as a sideman with Fred Ho,
Odean Pope,Tyrone Brown and his string ensemble,, and Ruth Naomi Floyd(alongside with
Gary Thomas, Terri Lynn Carrington, and James Wideman....).

Zankel’s ten years of intensive study of tonality with the legendary master teacher, Dennis
Sandole (students include John Coltrane, Pat Martino, and James Moody among others) have
been a big part in his development into one of the most brilliant and original composers of our
time. Zankel’s compositions are characterized by a stunning blend of rhythmic layers, a highly
personal complex chromatic harmonic language, and a hauntingly beautiful melodic lyricism His
alto playing has been called “a unique amalgam of the rhythm and intricacy of bebop, with the
soul and drive of hardbop, and the spirituality, creativity and intensity of the avant garde.”
Zankel’s tenure in Philadelphia has been marked by a series of acclaimed collaborations with
choreographers, visual artists, writers, He has received commissions from Network for New
Music, Relache , Meet the Composer, the Kimmel Center, Jazz Bridge , and 2 Pew supported
dance projects . In 1995 he was awarded the prestigious PEW FELLOWSHIP. In 2001 he
organized Warriors of the Wonderful Sound Inc an organization dedicated to promoting new jazz
and the big band with the same name. The Warrior big band has developed a world wide
reputations for its collaborations with Muhal Richard Abams, Steve Coleman, Rudresh
Mahaanthaapa, Dave Liebman Don Byron, Oliver Lake, Steve Lehman, and Marty Ehrlich.The
seven CDs he has recorded as a leader have received outstanding reviews and featured such
magnificent musicians as Johnny Coles, Odean Pope, Uri Caine, Ralph Peterrson Jr., Marilyn
Crispell, Dave Burrell, John Blake, Sumi Tonooka, and William Parker

Sekai’afua Zankel, (s’az) 

Actor, writer and poet,
a Buddhist, born on the first day of spring, Sekai was destined to be an artist-activist, a
force for good. She began acting at Philadelphia’s Freedom Theater in 1972, mentored by
the late John E Allen Jr. Sekai started writing and performing poetry and what she calls, a
human revolution for the stage using music and dance. One reviewer called her an
“Extraordinary performance poet,” Sekai defines “Performance Poetry“ as poetry that is
“visceral and active”.

Her first book “Behind These Eyes /Optical Poems” was published in Philadelphia in 2007.
Sekai won the Frank Moore Poetry Prize 2008. She received a Leeway Foundation Art and
Change Grant in 2010 to present her poetry play, “Miss Pearl’s Spirit: In the Mysteries of
Mirrors" presented at the Hawthorne Cultural Center and the CEC. She performed as poet
and writer, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, in “A Brighter Coming Day” for Harper’s 100th
anniversary celebration at Moonstone Arts Center and several other presentations and
performances at, The African American Historical Museum and Mother Bethel AME
Church. In addition, Sekai has performed in Winston- Salem North Carolina at The Black
Theatre Festival Poetry Slam where she won as second place winner. She was a visiting poet
at Virginia State University Poet Artist program. Her poems have been published In the
CAP literary magazine, “Poetry Ink” Anthologies, and in “Apiary”, 7 Power Issue. Sekai
lives with her husband, musician Bobby Zankel in University City.

Leonard Gontarek
Leonard Gontarek is the author of six books of poems, 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. His poems have appeared
in American Poetry Review, Poet Lore, Verse, Blackbird, The Awl, Spinning Jenny,
Verse Daily, Exquisite Corpse, The Best American Poetry, among others.

He has presented 1000 poetry readings, political readings, and events in the
Philadelphia area, featuring Patti Smith, Pink, Nas and Busta Rhymes, among others.
Since 2006 he has conducted 1000 poetry workshops in venues including,
The Moonstone Arts Center, Musehouse, The Kelly Writers House,
University City Arts League, Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia
Arts in Education Partnership, and a weekly Saturday workshop from his
home in West Philadelphia. He has been Mad Poet-in-Residence since 2008.

He coordinates Poetry In Common, Peace/Works, Philly Poetry Day,
The Philadelphia Poetry Festival, and hosts The Green Line
Reading & Interview Series. Gontarek has received Poetry fellowships from the
Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Philadelphia Writers Conference Community Service Award, and was a Literary Death Match Champion. 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 sponsored by the
Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis:
He is Poetry Consultant for the Whitman at 200: Art And Democracy project.

Dick Lourie

Dick Lourie’s poems have been published widely for 50 years. Denise Levertov wrote that his poetry “ . . . has never failed to give me a keen sense of his integrity and individuality. [H]is voice . . . speaks with a unique nd convincing eloquence.”
Since 1997, as both poet and blues saxophone player, he has been visiting the Mississippi Delta city of Clarksdale. His most recent collection, If the Delta Was the Sea, explores the city’s blues music, history, and diversity of cultures. National Book Award winner Ha Jin calls it “a rich and spacious book” and “a genuine delight.” Poet Martín Espada notes the work’s “irony, humor, and honest insight.  . . . [Lourie] fully understands the burdens and blessings of history, and knows that there is much to celebrate in the spirit of the survivors.” In an accompanying CD, he transforms the spoken word into conversations between the poet, his sax, and a blues band .
As a musician, he performed for fifteen years with internationally known bluesman Big Jack Johnson, who observed that “his sax playing adds a complete and satisfying taste to the band . . . ”
A veteran of small press publishing, he is a co-founder and still co-editor of Hanging Loose Press—with over 200 titles to its credit, mostly individual collections of poems—and Hanging Loose magazine, now celebrating, with issue #109, fifty-one years of continuous publication.


… Philip Roth, the Incomparable American Novelist, Has Died at Eighty-Five | The New Yorker.

 Philip Roth, Towering Novelist Who Explored Lust, Jewish Life and America, Dies at 85.

(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

RIP, Philip Roth

The first of many obituaries and remembrances...

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


Informal Inquiries: Blogging Note — “sick bay” duty.  

Battling vegetables...

The fate of bones …

… Nigeness: Buried Twice: Ronald Firbank.

When legends collide …

… When Senator John F. Kennedy Tried to Get a Young Reporter Named Tom Wolfe Fired.

Hmm …

… Instapundit — BESTSELLING AUTHOR ERIC METAXAS: The Media Is ‘In Love With Being Unable to Understand’ Trump.

The author described the Trump presidency as "bizarre times" because "you actually have to be an informed citizen to appreciate whatever good this president has been able to accomplish. And if you aren't an informed citizen, you would think that he's Hitler 2.0."

Having an unacceptable opinion …

… FrackNation by Ann and Phelim Media LLC — Kickstarter. (Hat tip, Dave Lull,)

About the play: THE $18-BILLION PRIZE, a New Play Based On Shocking True Story, Comes to San Francisco's Phoenix Theatre.

I'm always drawn to stories that the establishment and mainstream media would rather ignore," says McAleer, a New York Times best-selling author and journalist who is best known for the book and movie Gosnell and the stage play Ferguson. "This new play exposes how environmentalists carried out the world's biggest fraud, how the media helped promote that fraud - and how they almost got away with it. Members of the 'Hollywood Elite' - Sting, Angelina JolieBrad Pitt and Mia Farrow - all supported this bogus lawsuit before it was exposed. One of the takeaways is the seamy side of celebrity endorsement of charitable causes."
Well, we wouldn't want to know any of that, would we? Though why anyone would give a rat's ass about what entertainers think about things they have little or no knowledge of — which would be just about everything besides a script — is beyond me

Continuing …

… Eye Magazine | Blog | In-house hero: The second act of all-American graphic Renaissance man Chip Kidd. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In case you wondered …

… What is magic? – Mark Vernon.

Well-deserved …

… A poetry prize for Dana Gioia, and a reading in an “otherworldly setting” | The Book Haven.

Listen in …

… Episode 270 – Ilana C. Myer – The Virtual Memories Show.

"The writing has a plan, and it does whatever it wants with me.”

Happy birthday …

… Informal Inquiries: A. C. Doyle born in 1859 — Historical Tidbit #5.

Blather and bloviation …

… To Purify the Language of the Tribe – the AGNI blog. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

But think of automobile ads, just for one indicator. What is meant, say, by “Chevrolet, an American revolution”? Was it General Motors that impelled Washington across the Delaware in that cold, crucial winter? Or “Love– it’s what makes a Subaru a Subaru.” Did Dante drive an Outback? Or, astoundingly annoying, “Guts. Glory. Ram,” as though to own a pickup truck were an exaltation. There are myriad other examples in other domains, of course, but you see where I’m headed.
The historian Arnold Toynbee once said that "I can not think of any circumstances in which advertising would not be an evil." When I first encountered this, I thought it a bit of overkill. But now I am not so sure, and I say that knowing full well that I could myself have done quite well in the advertising business.

Review Deadline - May 28th …

… Recently Received Books | North of Oxford.

Hmm …

… Informal Inquiries: Review — What the Gospels Meant (2008).

I, for one, Welcome Our Robot Overlords

[A] mother, Cara Koscinski organized a graduation party for her 18-year-old son. For the occasion, she ordered a cake online from her nearest grocery store, Publix, which lets customers build their own cakes complete with a customized inscription, which they enter into a message box marked “cake message option.”
Carefully, she typed in the words she wanted on the cake: “Congrats Jacob! Summa Cum Laude class of 2018.”


is someone, an anonymous film critic, who I ended up reading today, through following links from the DrudgeReport2018 to article x, then y, then this from FILMCRITHULK who uses all caps which may be annoying but his message isn't.  On why 3 Act Structure is a myth:

Something to think on …

The most dangerous condition for a man or a nation is when his intellectual side is more developed than his spiritual. Is that not exactly the condition of the world today?
— Arthur Conan Doyle, born on this date in 1859

Monday, May 21, 2018

Pope Francis is Managing Like President Trump

News Item:  Chilean bishops mislead Pope about sexual abuse in Church; Pope gets pissed, summons all to Rome; all 33 Chilean bishops tender resignations this past Friday following meeting with Pope...
Three Papal Characteristics 
The conclusion of the Chilean summit clarified three characteristics of the Holy Father’s pastoral style. 
First, Pope Francis is quite ready to fire people at the most senior levels. He has fired three curial prefects, something which simply wasn’t done previously. Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, Cardinal Raymond Burke and Cardinal Gerhard Müller were all dismissed when judged to be obstacles to the Holy Father’s agenda. The Vatican’s auditor general, a key figure in the financial reform program appointed by Pope Francis himself, was fired last summer. A few months before that, the Holy Father even fired someone who was thought to be beyond the Pope’s power to dismiss, the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta. 
Pope Francis has shifted away from the more traditional ecclesiastical style to a more business style of management. The traditional ecclesial style, especially in Rome, was to wait for people to retire or to move them to a face-saving post.