Sunday, August 18, 2019

Mind on vacation …

… but mouth working overtime: CNN corrects article criticizing purchase of Alaska in Greenland debate.

"One of the last times the United States bought land from a foreign country was in 1867, when Seward orchestrated the purchase of Alaska from the Russians for $7.2 million," reporter Chris Cillizza wrote. "It didn't work out so well -- and has gone down as 'Seward's Folly' in the history books."
Those of us who, unlike Mr. Cillizza, remember our history know — as the correction makes plain —  that “Seward’s Folly” was what critics called the purchase at the time of the purchase. When I was in school, the critics were the object of derision. And so far as I know, the purchase has actually gone pretty well. Obviously, Cillizza doesn’t remember the Alaska gold rush. What a journalist. 

Which Way to the City on a Hill? | by Marilynne Robinson | The New York Review of Books

 Which Way to the City on a Hill? | by Marilynne Robinson | The New York Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
 The Hugh Peter Robinson thinks so well of was drawn and quartered because of his intimate involvement in the execution of Charles I. He may well have been the executioner’s assistant. As for the Puritans’ enlightened social outlook, perhaps she should read Puritan Economic Experiments (which Dave also sent along).

You can do the first perfectly well without the other…

… Nigeness: Big Reads and Eng Lit.

Precocity … a

… Seamus Heaney and a toddler who “blew the heart wide open.” | The Book Haven.

Complete with cardboard owner …

… Visiting Nora Roberts' Bookstore | Bill Peschel.

In case you wondered …

… What Were People Reading in the Summer of ’69? - The New York Times.

Good question …

… ‘Global Temperature’ — Why Should We Trust A Statistic That Might Not Even Exist? – Issues & Insights.

“Discussions on global warming often refer to ‘global temperature.’ Yet the concept is thermodynamically as well as mathematically an impossibility,” says Science Daily, paraphrasing Bjarne Andresen, a professor at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute, one of three authors of a paper questioning the “validity of a ‘global temperature.'”

An American believer …

… Scalia’s Applied Faith | The Russell Kirk Center. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

As Christopher Scalia pointed out at his father’s funeral mass, “there is no conflict between loving God and loving one’s country,” and certainly this was true in Antonin Scalia’s service on the nation’s courts. If anything, the conflict can be said to be between irreligion and public service, for too often the nonreligious appear to be intent on banning religious expression, an effort unsupported by the Constitution and, indeed, specifically precluded by it.

Something to think on …

Memory belongs to the imagination. Human memory is not like a computer which records things; it is part of the imaginative process, on the same terms as invention.
— Alain Robbe-Grillet, born on this date in 1922

Saturday, August 17, 2019

I hope he sues …

… Johns Hopkins University Fires Professor Who Defied Campus Protesters.
Students claimed their concern about armed campus police stemmed from the death of a black man named Tyrone West, who died during a physical struggle with police in Baltimore in 2013. Experts ultimately cited various health issues for West’s death as he resisted arrest, and none of the officers involved were ever charged.
Which means they either didn’t know what they were talking or were being knowingly dishonest.

Hmm …

… Reviews and Marginalia : The Resurrection: History and Myth by Geza Vermes.

Wittgenstein noted that the accounts of Jesus’ resurrection in the Gospels exhibit the usual characteristics of eyewitness testimony.

Thinking about things …

 ‘Witcraft’ Review: Stop Your Blubbering - WSJ. (Hat tip,Dave Lull.)

I studied philosophy within the context a particular philosophy — Thomism. But in my case the Thomism was supplemented, as it were, by existential phenomenology.The only English philosopher I can think of whom I have found impressive was Whitehead. But that's just me.

Read two sonnets and call me on the morning …

 The healing power of poetry. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

It beats like a heart, soothes emotional wounds, and builds life-giving connections. Rafael Campo, physician and award-winning author, prescribes poetry for students, patients, and doctors.

In case you wondered …

… What Is a Liturgist? - The Catholic Thing. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I stand in line to receive, just as I stand in line for chili and doughnuts at Tim Horton’s.  Indeed, at the latter, I may have a few moments of silence for thinking, but at Communion, no.  Keep that line moving, pal.  Body of Christ already.
Among the many problems with the English Mass is that the text seems to have been translated by people with no ear for language. Hardly surprising that they also seem to have no feeing for liturgy.

Listen in …

… The Biblio File hosted by Nigel Beale: Peggy Fox, former president and publisher of New Directions.

Peggy L. Fox is the former president and publisher of New Directions, was Tennessee Williams’s last editor, and is James Laughlin’s literary coexecutor. She lives in Athens, New York, where we met to talk about, among other things, her career at New Directions, Tennessee Williams, the Chinese poet Bei Dao, Norfolk confetti, contacts and connections, James Laughlin's literary influence, letter writing, re-introducing deceased giants, Barbara Elpler, W.G. "Max" Sebald, Gore Vidal, and New Directions's colophon design. 

Man on the spot …

… The poetry of Bei Dao and the paradox of Hong Kong. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Dao was all of twenty-seven during the peaceful April Fifth Democracy Movement that unfolded in front of Tiananmen Square, in 1976. Reacting to the sponsored beliefs and belief-systems that were being unfurled at the time, Dao wrote a poem, “The Answer”, which spread like an underground fire in popular imagination. A quote from it:
Let me tell you, world,I—do—not—believe!If a thousand challengers lie beneath your feet,Count me as number thousand and one.

Everlasting grains …

… Zealotry of Guerin: View From The Dunes (Piet Mondrian), Sonnet #470.

Something to think on …

It's very attractive to people to be a victim. Instead of having to think out the whole situation, about history and your group and what you are doing... if you begin from the point of view of being a victim, you've got it half-made. I mean intellectually.
— V. S. Naipaul, born on this date in 1932

Hmm …

… Instapundit — TECH BLOG BEHIND THE BLACK REVIEWS my The Social Media Upheaval.

“Reynolds has not only succinctly described in clear language the problem posed by these social media giants, he has outlined forcefully the best ways the problem can be addressed, both by our federal government and by we the citizenry.”

Friday, August 16, 2019

Heretics …

… Abandoning Darwinism: Gelernter Talks with Meyer, Berlinski | Evolution News.

RIP …

… Peter Fonda Dead at 79 After Respiratory Failure from Lung Cancer | PEOPLE.com.

Well, maybe …

… Charles Sanders Peirce was America's greatest thinker | Aeon Essays. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I really can’t much about this piece because, while it is full of sound and fury it often isn’r very clear. Take this, for example:

Because of his view of mathematics as the foundation of other disciplines, Peirce considered the Principia Mathematica (1910-13) by Bertrand Russell and A N Whitehead – who used Peirce’s logical notation, rather than Frege’s – to be seriously misguided, because the latter attempted to derive mathematics from logic when it should have been, according to Peirce, the other way around. The failure of the Russell-Whitehead programme would not have surprised Pierce.
 I do not know who the who is in the phrase “who used Peirce’s logical notation, rather than Frege’s” refers to — Whitehead or Russell and Whitehead. The link leads me think it is Whitehead, because the criticism in the link is directed at Russell. And I don’t know who the word latter refers to — Frege, I guess. But then where does Whitehead, co-author of the Principia Mathematica, fit in? Perhaps I am becoming unusually dense in my old age.

Sounds like a good idea …

… Restoring a Great Intellectual Tradition to America’s Campuses — The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

College campuses are a natural venue for debates over the full range of political, economic, and philosophical issues that face us. Colleges have (or at least should have) a commitment to inquiry and the free exchange of ideas. And seeing how adults who have prepared for the intellectual combat of debate handle themselves is an important aspect of the preparation for citizenship that’s part of higher education’s mission.
Unfortunately, debate has largely disappeared on most campuses. That is the finding of political science professor George La Noue in his book Silenced Stages: The Loss of Academic Freedom and Campus Policy Debates. Based on his study of 97 colleges and 28 law schools during the 2014-2015 academic year, La Noue concludes, “For most students in American higher education, the opportunity to hear on-campus debates about important public policy issues does not exist.”
I wrote a piece about the accuracy of The DaVinci Code because I was asked to by my boss at the time, who had been to dinner over the weekend attended mostly by Ph. D’s (husbands and wives) who thought its historical as wondrous. It isn’t. Makes you wonder.

Blogging note …

I must be off immediately to run some errands in what we call Center City. But I should be back by mid-afternoon.

Or a watch …

… Plants can tell time even without a brain – here's how.

Larkin and more …

… Nigeness: It's That Man Again.

For the record, I maintain that the best way to read Dante is in an edition with the original on one side and an accurate prose translation on the other (as in the old Temple Classics). That way you keep the unique, unEnglishable beauty of the verse – and learn a little Italian along the way.
I quite agree. I still remember the light coming through the window of the place we rented in BarberinoVal  d’Elsa as I finished reading Paradiso in just that way.

Great story, poorly told …

 ‘The 12th Man,’ by Scott and Haug | Brandywine Books.

Neat …

… Replay: Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison “rehearse” My Fair Lady | About Last Night.

Meet Cindy …

 IN THE GROOVE with Cindy Annis | The Valley Patriot.



Cindy is Rus Bowden's niece.

FYI …

… How personal letters built the possibility of a modern public | Aeon Essays. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… the earliest forms for public discussion of politics and literature in print presented themselves as epistolary conversations. Rather than negating the personalising effects of handwritten correspondence, they relied on them to make new forms of print seem familiar and understandable. The ‘print public sphere’ made its debut as a series of letters.

Gauging history …

… Solidarity Hall —  In Our Father’s Court. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

We gauge culture by the extent to which a whole people, not only individuals, live in accordance with the dictates of an eternal doctrine or strive for spiritual integrity; the extent to which inwardness, compassion, justice and holiness are to be found in the daily life of the masses.

Something to think on …

Simplicity is always the secret, to a profound truth, to doing things, to writing, to painting. Life is profound in its simplicity.
— Charles Bukowski, born on this date in 1920

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Sounds good …

… Simon's center-court star | The New Criterion.

A re-telling of the Faust legend set in the world of professional tennis, it is not an attempt to surpass Goethe in length or tragic weightiness. But Simon, never losing sight of the goal of entertaining his readers, nonetheless manages to slip in some serious ideas and a few important precepts.

Most disconcerting …

Worse Than Ever: Government Schools After 35 Years.



Poor preparation, however, was only the tip of the iceberg.  Students did not bring books to class, relentlessly complained about homework, and expected high grades regardless of proficiency. 


Blogging note …

I must off in a few minutes and won't be back until much later. Blogging will resume whenever.

Anniversary …

… Today is the 95th Anniversary of Playwright Robert Bolt’s Birth. – Reason.com.



ALICE: While you talk, he's gone!
MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law.
ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law!
MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

MORE: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you–where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast–man's laws, not God's–and if you cut them down–and you're just the man to do it–d'you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes. I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.

Hmm …

… Bystanders taunted and laughed as police officers were being fired upon in Philadelphia - TheBlaze.

This doesn't seem to have made it into my local newspaper.

Historical rhyming

… Nigeness: Children's Crusades, Then and Now.

Watch and listen …

… From postmodernity to final participation: talking Owen Barfield – Mark Vernon.

Consonance of spirit …

… First Known When Lost: Affinity.

Anniversary …

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was born on this date in 1875.

Poetry tablet …

… Taking a stanza: Simon Armitage cancer poem engraved on a pill | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Sad and lovely …

… Poetry: Death at the Derby - The Patriotic Vanguard. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Great poetry …

 Review: “Selected Poems” by Gwendolyn Brooks | Form in Formless Times. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Dreams and reality were both important in her upbringing. Her father had given up on medical school and become a janitor in order to get married and raise a family. Her mother was a school teacher and concert pianist. Reading and recitation were high priorities in the family, and Brooks started writing poetry very early. Four of her poems were published in a local paper when she was 11, and her mother encouraged her, saying ”You are going to be the lady Paul Laurence Dunbar.” 

In case you wondered …

… What Thom Gunn Thought of Oliver Sacks. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The first Oliver I knew would have been the last person I would have thought capable of writing Awakenings. It was precisely his problem that he couldn’t sympathize with people enough. It wasn’t that he was lacking in kindness; rather he was lacking in sympathetic imagination. And that is of course what he has now—in his conduct and his talk and his life and his writing—more than anyone else I know.

Something to think on …

Funny, isn't it, how your whole life goes by while you think you're only planning the way you're going to live it?
— Edna Ferber, born on this date in 1885

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Blogging note …

I must take my to PT. Will resume blogging when I can.

Down-to-earth fellow …

 Louis Kemp Memoir Pulls Back the Curtain on Bob Dylan | Jewish Journal. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… Kemp provides readers with glimpses into the unguarded Dylan — the good friend, family man and Jewish seeker. Opening with how he met Dylan at the Wisconsin summer camp, Kemp portrays the teenage Zimmerman as polite and well-spoken but mischievous. He’s the guy who shows up for a school formal in a leather jacket, black jeans and a pink ruffled shirt. But he’s also a nice Jewish boy. When Dylan’s friend Larry Kegan is paralyzed in a diving accident, Dylan regularly shows up in his hospital room with his guitar and, in 1981, invites him onstage for a song.

Politics as tower of babble …

… Language Is First Casualty of the 2020 Campaign. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Read it all. No one gets off easy.

One courageous gentleman …

… Mali’s cultural hero Abdel Kader Haidara: how a librarian saved the treasures of Timbuktu | The Book Haven.

The result was a heist worthy of “Ocean’s Eleven.” They bought metal and wooden trunks houses around the city and beyond. They organized a small army of packers who worked silently in the dark and arranged for the trunks to be carried by donkey to their hiding places. Over the course of eight months, the operation came to involve hundreds of packers, drivers and couriers. They smuggled the manuscripts out of Timbuktu by road and by river, past jihadist checkpoints and, in government territory, suspicious Malian troops.

Faith grounded in experience …

… A Kindly Light - The Catholic Thing. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Newman said in the Biglietto Speech, given in Rome when he was made a Cardinal, that liberalism in religion, saccharine formulas such as “God is Love,” or – to jump to our own time – “Who am I to judge?” has no real content. Liberalism eviscerates God’s action in saving us from a sinful state with eternal dimensions.

Who knew?

… Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Humor: The Bible Told Him So.

August Poetry at North of Oxford …

… 3 Poems by Gwil James Thomas.

 Tatow by Holly Day.

… 2 Poems by Foy Timms.

… The System by John D. Robinson.

… Obit by Doug Holder.

Check this out …

… Stéphane Grappelli - A Tribute. Introduced by Yehudi Menuhin. (BBC, full length 0:50) - video dailymotion. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

Any fool can be fussy and rid himself of energy all over the place, but a man has to have something in him before he can settle down to do nothing.
— J. B. Priestley, who died on this date in 1984

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Hmm …

… Waterloo Of Boomer Catholics | The American Conservative.

The parishioners of  this “bastion of progressive Catholic faith” are free to believe as they choose, but they are not free to call it Catholicism, and they appear to be ignorant. God only knows where, if anywhere, they received their Catholic education. I’m no saint, but I think I know what you have to believe in order to be in accord with Catholic doctrine. I’d excommunicate the lot of them. There is no progressive Catholic faith. There is one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic faith. Non-Catholics likely don’t get that, and that’s OK. They don’t claim to be Catholic. But if being Catholic means anything, it means not having the option of believing in any damn thing you feel like.

The charm of staying at home …

Journey to Nowhere — The American Scholar. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A fine encounter …

… How Are You, Dr. Sacks? A Biographical Memoir of Oliver Sacks, by Lawrence Weschler | Booklist Online.

An odd occurrence …

Yesterday morning, I paid a visit to our local RiteAid. When I came to check out, I got to the counter at the same time as another gentleman. He was only there to get a pack of cigarettes, so I told him to go first. He was asked for ID, which it turned out he didn’t happen to have. The cashier, a very nice woman whom I know from church, told him she couldn’t sell him cigarettes without ID.
Now he was obviously younger than I. Most people are. But he was also obviously well past 18. I offered to buy the cigarettes for him, but the only ID I have is my long out-of-date driver’s license, which didn’t pass muster either. Finally, another customer with acceptable ID bought him a pack and he paid the fellow for them and went his way.
This is apparently a RiteAid policy, not something the state insists on. I suppose a store does have the right to set the rules regarding what it sells. But this seems bad business to me. Some mention was made that RiteAid wants to get data on cigarette sales. Are they going to stop selling them if they discover that not enough people are buying them? But they must already know the cigarette sales numbers.
This RiteAid policy, by the way, seems as much of an annoyance for the cashier as it is for the customers. They really should rethink it. Sooner or later a lawyer’s going to ask to buy a pack of cigarettes, only to discover he lacks proper ID.
(I remember the last time I was carded after ordering a drink. I was over 30 at the time. I thanked the waitress. I was flattered she thought I was so young.)

Much ado about comparatively little …

… How to Punctuate with Style: Lewis Thomas’s Charming Meditation on the Subtleties of Language – Brain Pickings.

Having spent a good stretch of years on a newspaper copy desk, punctuation has become rather reflexive with me. I really don’t think about it all. I do agree that exclamation points should be held in check and that using italics for emphasis tends to be vulgar.

Listen in …

… Episode 332 – Christopher Brown – The Virtual Memories Show.

If you want to have a healthy society, people need to believe there is justice and accountability for people who do bad things. The problem in this society is that it’s a really bottom-heavy system.”

Not good …

… Escalating the war on police - Washington Times.

There was a time when criminals knew that assaulting or murdering a police officer would bring on an immediate condemnation from politicians, the press and the public. And any violent act against a cop would marshal the ranks of all law enforcement officers into quickly apprehending the offender. But today we see fearless and brazen assaults on cops that are filmed and placed proudly on social media.
Of course, I’m biased. My father was a cop. My nephew is a cop.

Bounded by time …

… Eight O'Clock by Sara Teasdale | Poetry Foundation. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)



Sara Teasdale was born on August 8, 18854.


A pointed lesson …

… The Complaints of the Poor by Robert Southey | Poetry Foundation. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)



Robert Southey was born on August 12, 1774. He was England's Poet Laureate from 1830 until 1843. He was Coleridge's brother-in-law. Methinks conditions have improved somewhat since he wrote this poem.

Getting at the truth …

… I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise. - The Washington Post.

By the time we published our project, I didn't believe in many of the interventions I'd heard politicians tout. I was still anti-gun, at least from the point of view of most gun owners, and I don't want a gun in my home, as I think the risk outweighs the benefits. But I can't endorse policies whose only selling point is that gun owners hate them. Policies that often seem as if they were drafted by people who have encountered guns only as a figure in a briefing book or an image on the news.

Appalling …

… Three Men Attacked On Their Way to Synagogue, As Renewed Spate of Assaults Targets Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn | Jewish & Israel News Algemeiner.com.

Truly one of a kind …

 “Completely Unmasked at All Times”: On the Complete Piano Recordings of Oscar Levant - Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The only time I watched the Tonight Show was when Jack Paar hosted it. I certainly remember Levant’s appearances. The recording mentioned in this are well worth listening to.

Not the library as Miss Marian knew it …

… Librarians facing new tasks say crisis isn't in the catalog - ABC News. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

You could deal with the homelessness problem by opening facilitating for better enforcing the vagrancy laws. (I know, I know. I’m a meanie.)

RIP …

…. Cape Coral poet Lee Bennett Hopkins dies at age 81. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Hmm …

… RTs Reviews and Marginalia : A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War.

I have myself long thought that naval blockade of the South would have been the best response to the attack on Fort Sumter. The South had no manufacturing to speak of and was dependent on exports of cotton and tobacco. They also had no navy. It would taken time, of course, but the bloodshed would have been far less.

Let’s keep praying …

… Two cheers and dammit | About Last Night. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

The secret is to write just anything, to dare to write just anything, because when you write just anything, you begin to say what is important.
— Julien Green, who died on this date in 1998

Monday, August 12, 2019

Blogging note …

I have had much else to do today besides blog. Will get up to speed when circumstances permit.

Drinking and business …

 20011: The Beneficiary.

The Robert Scott mentioned herein would be Robert Montgomery Scott, who was president of the Philadelphia Museum of Art from 1982 until 1996, during which time he increased the museum's endowment from $19 million to more than $100 million. Attendance at the museum more than doubled during his tenure. His drinking does appear to have been legendary. But I once read that, his pedigree notwithstanding, he could walk into a bar in Fishtown back when that was a strictly working-class neighborhood and be one of the boys within minutes. His mother, Hope Montgomery Scott, was supposedly the model for Tracy Lord in The Philadelphia Story.

Remembering …

 Paul Davis On Crime: On This Day In history Ian Fleming, Author Of The James Bond Thrillers, Died.

Hmm …

 RTs Reviews and Marginalia : There is a gold light in certain old paintings.

Donald Justice was born on this date in 1925.

It's only a movie

… not history: Paul Davis On Crime: The Lies Of the Irishman: Netflix And Martin Scorsese Are Making Their Biggest Bets Ever On The Confessions Of A Mafia “Hitman” - The Guy Made It All Up.

Contrarian …

… ‘So Huge a Phallic Triumph’: Why Apollo Had Little Appeal for Auden | by Edward Mendelson | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

Faith is not belief. Belief is passive. Faith is active.
— Edith Hamilton born on this date in 1867

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Hmm …

… I Immigrated to the US to Pursue the American Dream, Not to Pay for Your College Degree | Intellectual Takeout.

One bad night …

 Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Humor: Hard Working Husband.

Tune in …

… The Sonic Society — Sonic Summerstock Playhouse S10E06: Yellow Wallpaper.

Cool …

… Zealotry of Guerin: A Suite of Poetic Forms.

The right sort of pause …

… In praise of the semicolon, a most maligned punctuation mark | Spectator USA. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

This isn’t something that can be summed up in a simple rule, and those who have tried over the past 200 years to find rules governing punctuation have failed miserably, as Cecelia Watson shows in the opening chapters of her insightful book. Punctuation tries to capture two incompatible drives: the desire to mark grammatical structure, and the desire to express the dynamic of the speaking voice. The tension between them means that no two people share exactly the same set of preferences. That’s easy to demonstrate. Give a group an unpunctuated page and ask them to mark it up, and you’d be lucky to find two who would do it in exactly the same way.

Q&A …

 ‘To Get Things More Real’: An Interview with Ira Glass | by Claudia Dreifus | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Can I go back to something? And feel free to edit this any way you like. I’m already editing this interview in my head because I’m a crazy person and can’t stop myself. This idea of not wanting to interview famous people, that’s one of the things that led to the work I’m doing today. I knew in my twenties, while at NPR, that the thing I wanted to do was document regular people’s lives. The question then was, “How do you do that?”

Anniversary and more …

… On the Water - JAMES MATTHEW WILSON. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Q&A …

… Alexandra Oliver finds poetry in old films, the loneliness of parenthood and the aftermath of disaster | CBC Radio. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

To a certain extent, and I'd love to make films of my poems. But when I moved to the suburbs with my husband and my son when he was very small, I remember thinking, "gosh, here I am." But I went through this period of poem-making where I would go out into the world, into ordinary waiting rooms, malls, wherever. You go out, and you think, 'What if I thought of myself as a camera? What if I walked amongst people, and I looked at people, and I imagined what they were thinking and I imagined how they were interacting?' 

He’s back …

… Mike Hammer Lives : The Booklist Reader. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

 In reading Spillane, it’s important, Collins emphasizes, to “consider the era.” He explains, “Mike Hammer was a returning World War II vet who learned to kill in the jungle islands of the South Pacific. He was now going to deal with criminals the way he dealt with the enemy in war, bringing a combat soldier’s approach to crime fighting. This connected him with an audience of veterans returning to a postwar world that was not living up to its billing.”

The quest for meaning …

… Human evolution and soul – Mark Vernon.



 … there are activities our ancestors must have experienced as having intrinsic value, and that these activities are prior to those that delivered the instrumental benefits. Early humans must have wanted to engage with reality in a quest for connection and truths.

Listen in …

 The faith of the Inklings, with Malcolm Guite – Mark Vernon. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Just so you know …

… Libraries can have 3-D printers but they are still about books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



The news isn’t that library services and programs have moved beyond books, it’s that public libraries are still very much about books.

Anniversary…

 RTs Reviews and Marginalia : Louise Bogan — “Knowledge”.

Something to think on …

God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission.
— John Henry Newman, who died on this date in 1890


Saturday, August 10, 2019

Hmm …

… Study: Physically Weak Men More Likely To Be Socialists | Daily Wire.

Worth noting …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Note to China, Russia, Iran And North Korea: US Aircraft Carriers Are Almost Unsinkable Giants Of The Ocean.

What about Socratic irony?

Overcoming Bias : Against Irony. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Irony has been around for a long time. I think what is being talked about here is the currently fashionable in-crowd faux irony.

Learned whizbangs …

 'Questioning Minds': Guy Davenport & Hugh Kenner's Letters Book Review | National Review. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

For 30 years — between roughly 1960 and 1990 — two of the best-read people of the past century regularly exchanged ideas, gossip, drafts of work in progress, commentary on the books they liked and the people they disliked, scholarly discoveries, complaints about publishers, and charming verbal snapshots of their private lives. These 1,800 pages may well represent the last brilliant flowering of paper-based epistolary culture, what early-modern historians punningly refer to as the “republic of letters.” 

‘Twas ever thus …

… Zealotry of Guerin: Alexander Confronts The Headless People (The Talbot Shrewsbury Book), Sonnet #469.

Hmm …

… Walt Whitman Not America's Greatest Poet | National Review. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

This is a rant, and like most such long on passion, short on reasoning. “Whitman, whose professional self-promotion was pretty much as relentless as his literary self-glorification — the two are almost indistinguishable — looks to me less like the father of the American spirit than the father of empty American celebrity: the Kardashians, mommy bloggers, the “creative writing” and identity-study industries, the whole mutually trampling stampede of ineffable individual specialness.”
OK. Well, here’s D. H. Lawrence:

Whitman, the great poet, has meant so much to me. Whitman, the one man breaking a way ahead. Whitman, the one pioneer. And only Whitman. No English pioneers, no French. No European pioneer-poets. In Europe the would-be pioneers are mere innovators. The same in America. Ahead of Whitman, nothing. Ahead of all poets, pioneering into the wilderness of unopened life, Whitman. Beyond him, none. His wide, strange camp at the end of the great high-road. And lots of new little poets camping on Whitman’s camping ground now. But none going really beyond. … The true democracy, where soul meets soul, in the open road. Democracy. American democracy where all journey down the open road, and where a soul is known at once in its going. Not by its clothes or appearance. Whitman did away with that. … The love of man and woman: a recognition of souls, and a communion of worship. The love of comrades: a recognition of souls, and a communion of worship. Democracy: a recognition of souls, all down the open road, and a great soul seen in its greatness, as it travels on foot among the rest, down the common way of the living. … The only riches, the great souls.

Anniversary …

… RTs Reviews and Marginalia : Laurence Binyon — birthday remembrance.

Appreciation …

… Remembering David Bevington | The Chicago Blog | The Chicago Blog. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

David Bevington’s influence as an editor and interpreter of medieval and Renaissance literature is plain to see: his Bantam paperback editions of Shakespeare’s plays are classroom favorites, and several of his scholarly books have become critical classics. But the fond reminiscences that filled social media after David’s death highlighted a different theme: his extraordinary generosity toward younger scholars. He continued to attend conferences and campus talks well past his retirement, following the work of the latest generation and dispensing encouragement.

Unsettled science …

… which is as it should be: Finnish Scientists: Effect of human activity on climate change insignificant.

This article covers all the bases, though I would say that the critics have rebutted, not refuted the findings. The Japanese researchers seem to be offering evidence to support Hendrik Svensmark’s theories regarding cosmic rays and climate. The business near the end about the earth flipping its magnetic bears looking into.

Something to think on …

I like the condition of being an outsider, just passing through.
— Barry Unsworth, born on this date in 1930

Friday, August 09, 2019

It’s the 1930s all over again …

… Europe Poised to Put Warning Labels on Jewish-Made Products.

Ideas without evidence …

 “And the prize for speculation goes to…” How physics went down a post-empirical dead end | Prospect Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Just awful …

… West African slavery lives on, 400 years after transatlantic trade began - Reuters.

Writers talk about a favorite …

… 11 Famous Writers on the Genius and Influence of Shirley Jackson | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Better late …

… Nine Newly Discovered Proust Stories to Be Published | Smart News | Smithsonian. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

‘Twill be interesting to see how this one flies …

… Let fat people die to save NHS money, says Michael Buerk | News | The Times.

On the other hand: How Sumo Taught Me to Love the Gym.

Arrgh, me hearties …

… Paul Davis On Crime: My Washington Times Review Of 'The Last Pirate of New York: A Ghost Ship, A Killer, And The Birth Of A Gangster Nation'.

Anniversary …

… RTs Reviews and Marginalia : Philip Larkin — going on beyond the melancholy.



I am very fond of Larkin's Aubade.

"The good not done, the love not given, time / Torn off unused" is as good a description of sin as I can think of.

Then they're not Catholics …

 New survey: Only one-third of Catholics believe in Real Presence. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)


“About six-in-ten (63 percent) of the most observant Catholics - those who attend Mass at least once a week - accept the Church’s teaching about transubstantiation. Still, even among this most observant group of Catholics, roughly one-third (37 percent) don’t believe that the Communion bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Christ (including 23 percent who don’t know the Church’s teaching and 14 percent who know the Church’s teaching but don’t believe it). And among Catholics who do not attend Mass weekly, large majorities say they believe the bread and wine are symbolic and do not actually become the body and blood of Jesus,” the organization states. 

The literal translation of what Jesus said in Aramaic when he blessed and broke the bread at the last supper  is "This is me."
 Guess Catholic education is worth the money. It was obviously much better back when it cost virtually nothing.

Hmm …

… Statistics Confirm Bleak Prospects For Local Print Newspapers. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I just finished looking through this morning's edition of the paper I was employed at for 28 years. The only thing I read was the piece about the Phillies, and the one about the Eagles.
For the rest, I understood that I should disapprove of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency for doing what its title indicates it is supposed to do, that guns are the problem not people with problems (no mention that I saw of yesterday's stabbing spree in California).
What I want from a newspaper is dispassionate reporting (which is hard to do). Just the facts, Ma'am. I'll make up own mind about them. But everybody these days seems to have gone into journalism in order to change the world.They don't seem to realize how much they and we would learn if they just tried to find out as much about things from as many different angles as possible. 
"Democracy dies in darkness." "Community dies in darkness." Forget the slogans. Replace the bulbs.

Something to think on …

The motive, principle, and end of the religious life is to make an absolute gift of self to God in a self-forgetting love, to end one's own life in order to make room for God's life.
— Edith Stein, who died on this date (in Auschwitz) in 1942

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Begging to differ …

… Misrepresenting Woodstock | Power Line.

I don’t think I quite qualify as Woodstock generation. I turned 28 in 1969. I was born in 1941.WWII was on, but we weren’t in it yet. (By the end of the year we were.) But I was certainly hip enough to know what was going on in 1969. And I pretty much agree with this assessment.

In case you wondered …

… They Will Still Hate You Even If You Disarm.

I do not plan to disarm. I had guns — real ones, a 22 and a shotgun — when I was a kid.

Truth and beauty …

… Friedrich Schiller on Beauty and Aesthetics - Philosopher of the Month | OUPblog. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Schiller was disappointed with Kant’s theory which demoted beauty to a subjective quality and wanted to establish the objective concept of beauty.

‘Twas ever thus …

… Medievalists excited at parchment fragment of 'vagina monologue' | World news | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

In the poem, a virgin woman (junkfrouwe) argues in a free-flowing, often witty dialogue, with her speaking vulva (fud) about which of them is held in the higher regard by men.

Bicentenary news …

… Baltimore’s role in reviving Herman Melville (and his whale of a tale) - Baltimore Sun. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Whatever your view of Melville, Baltimore can take pride in helping rescue his reputation from near-obscurity a century ago. While we’ll always associate Melville with New York and New England, it was a Baltimore native who, on assignment for The Nation magazine, ignited the “Melville Revival” of the 1920s and prodded many of us eventually to consider him America’s greatest writer.

in case you wondered …

… How social media influences culture and politics. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Conversation clubs …

… Always more to say | The New Criterion. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Readers here will know of Leo Damrosch’s The Club, a superb account of the eponymous group of high achievers who met at the Turk’s Head Tavern, Gerrard Street, Soho, during the second half of the eighteenth century. Among others, the group included Joshua Reynolds, David Garrick, Adam Smith, Edward Gibbon, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Edmund Burke, James Boswell, and, of course, Samuel Johnson. The requirement for membership was that one be good company.

It deserves subtler translation …

… How "Carpe Diem" Got Lost in Translation | JSTOR Daily. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I suspect that harvest is the best word. 

How about that …

… Data-mining reveals that 80% of books published 1924-63 never had their copyrights renewed and are now in the public domain / Boing Boing. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Blogging note …

I have to run some errands. Blogging will resume when I get back

Anniversary …

… RTs Reviews and Marginalia : Sara Teasdale cannot escape death on her birthday.

Tackling a masterpiece …

… Jay Parini - Battle Lines | Literary Review | Issue 478. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

There is nothing systematic about his book, which consists of bits and pieces, quotes from other authors, reflections on Sansom’s own life in relation to Auden’s, as well as fiercely intelligent readings of individual lines and stanzas. For me, the book’s best moments are when Sansom is most critical of Auden: ‘Auden had a tendency throughout his career to reflect upon and attempt to solve and explain problems using the simplifying logic of the child.’ That is bold but accurate, though it also points to a strength in Auden that has always struck me: his ability to speak in abstract terms in a way that seems memorable in part because it has a childlike simplicity, one that can seem naive but nevertheless strikes at truth, as in: ‘Hunger allows no choice/To the citizen or the police:/We must love one another or die.’

Good for them …

… Libraries are fighting to preserve your right to borrow e-books (opinion) - CNN. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
 Public libraries in the United States purchase a lot of e-books, and circulate e-books a lot. According to the Public Library Association, electronic material circulation in libraries has been expanding at a rate of 30% per year; and public libraries offered over 391 million e-books to their patrons in 2017. Those library users also buy books; over 60% of frequent library users have also bought a book written by an author they first discovered in a library, according to Pew. Libraries offer free display space for books in over 16,000 locations nationwide. Even Macmillan admits that "Library reads are currently 45% of our total digital book reads." But instead of finding a way to work with libraries on an equitable win-win solution, Macmillan implemented a new and confusing model and blamed libraries for being successful at encouraging people to read their books.
Looks as if book publishers may be as dumb as newspaper owners.

A master …

… Jazz Profiles: Erroll Garner on Verve Jazz Masters. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

“When Erroll Garner died early in 1977 at the age of 53, the British music magazine Jazz Journal noted what Art Tatum once had told Oscar Peterson. Tatum no doubt expected Peterson to succeed him as the reigning virtuoso of jazz piano. But after hearing Garner one night during a New York visit, according to the magazine, the Old Lion took his cub aside and warned him: "Beware of the little man." I don't know, of course, if that story is true. It does have the faint aroma of legend about it. But if it isn't true, it ought to be.

Abandoned …

… The Lost Desert Libraries of Chinguetti. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Something to think on …

The state incurs debts for politics, war, and other higher causes and 'progress'. . . . The assumption is that the future will honour this relationship in perpetuity. The state has learned from the merchants and industrialists how to exploit credit; it defies the nation ever to let it go into bankruptcy. Alongside all swindlers the state now stands there as swindler-in-chief. 
— Jacob Burckhardt, who died on this date in 1897

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Apart from some prefatory details, it’s a fine job of reporting …

Black families once lived off their southern farmland. Their descendants are struggling to hold onto it. - The Washington Post.

The sounds of words …

… Poem: “Eight Legs” | Form in Formless Times.

Finding the time …

… RTs Reviews and Marginalia : Now I can do what I really want to do ....

I always find a good reason to do what I have to do, and I thank God for the opportunity.

Appreciation …

 InterLibrary Loan Will Change Your Life | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Although it has evolved since Rowell’s early days, InterLibrary Loan continues to be an essential resource—even in the digital era. It is comforting to delude ourselves that everything is available online, but there’s a wealth of significant material that remains only in print. The Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), which maintains WorldCat, reported 280 million ILL requests since the organization began in 1967, including 6.9 million in 2018 alone. Last year’s top-requested titles included books by Tara Westover, Jordan Peterson, and Celeste Ng.

To fight or not …

… Paul Davis On Crime: My Washington Times Piece On Fighting The Scourge Of Drugs: El Chapo Rots In Prison, But The War On Drugs Must Go On.

A useful reminder …

… America Is Not Rome. It Just Thinks It Is | by Tom Holland | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… At various points in American history, various reasons have been advanced to explain why the United States is bound to join the Roman Empire in oblivion. In 1919, in the wake of the Russian Revolution, The New York Times warned that the Huns and the Vandals were massing again. “The Roman Empire and its civilization were destroyed by barbarian hordes coming from the East—and it is from the east that comes the wind.” Thirty years earlier, visiting the abandoned Roman city at Baalbek in Lebanon, Brooks Adams—the great-grandson of John Adams—had been inspired by the spectacle of shattered greatness to dread that his own country’s gilded age was bound to end in similar ruin. In the decades before the Civil War, opponents of slavery repeatedly cited the fall of Rome as a warning of what might happen to a slave-owning society. In the 1830s, opponents of Andrew Jackson cast him as a dictator and a demagogue whose tyranny would inevitably bring the infant republic to share in the fate of the ancient empire. Present anxieties that Trump’s presidency portends America’s decline and fall are the contemporary expression of a tradition quite as venerable as the United States itself. 
It is always wise to take with a grain of salt the “lessons from history” advanced by partisan hacks of whatever stripe.

The progress of dehumanization …

… The Dying Art of Instruction in the Digital Classroom | by Tim Parks | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
The idea of a relationship between teacher and class, professor and students, is consequently eroded. The student can rapidly check on his or her smartphone whether the professor is right, or indeed whether there isn’t some other authority offering an entirely different approach. With the erosion of that relationship goes the environment that nurtured it: the segregated space of the classroom where, for an hour or so, all attention was focused on a single person who brought all of his or her experience to the service of the group.

I remain grateful for having been blessed with several outstanding teachers, especially Miss Parkinson, Mother Holmes, and Father Gannon. I an who I am largely thanks to them.
It is also worth remembering that information is not knowledge. Knowledge is information within its proper context.

RIP …

…  Classic Jazz Reedman Bob Wilber has Died – The Syncopated Times. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

The problem is not how to wipe out all differences, but how to unite with all differences intact.
— Rabindranath Tagore, who died on this date in 1941

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Good :

… Throwing cold water on extreme heat hype.
How dumb do you have to be to not notice it’s hot out?

Listen in …

… Episode 331 – Liniers – The Virtual Memories Show.

“In my mind, I thought, ‘Maybe if I can get my comic strip to Uruguay, my father will believe this is a real job.’ I’d be an international success. Montevideo was as far as my imagination could go.”

Propaganda disguised as journalism …

… WHO HIRES THESE REPORTERS? THIS IS REALLY INCOMPETENT: “Washington Post Glibly Dismisses Mental Illness as Cause of Mass Shootings.”

Ah, yes …

… statistical modeling: Are supercentenarians mostly superfrauds? — Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.

Blogging note …

I have to take off to get some shots in my knees (artificial synovial fluid). Back whenever.

RIP …

… Toni Morrison, a giant of American letters, has died at 88. | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Strange siblings …

… The Weil Conjectures by Karen Olsson review – maths and mysticism | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

André was the abstract thinker, by now a well-known mathematician, whose parents had taken away his writing materials as a small child, only for him to scratch equations into a cement pavement with a rock instead. Simone was the worldly one, devoted to alleviating the suffering of others. 

Hard to gauge …

 Orthodoxy and the Latin Mass | Audra Dugandzic | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I attended the Latin Mass as long as one was within a reasonable distance from my home. That is no longer the case. 
So I went back to my parish church and discovered thatFather Large, our pastor, gives excellent sermons bearing on how to live the faith. And I try to attend Mass every day. I am certainly the least among those who attend.

Acoustical panels …


Rus Bowden made these. The first is a photo of his friend Mary, who is a fine singer. The other is "a lens-baby shot of an electric guitar." Neat.

Brown eyes and leaves …

 Forgotten Poems #64: "Her Eyes," by Helen Hunt Jackson.

Speaking of Tennyson …

… Crossing the Bar by Alfred, Lord Tennyson | Poetry Foundation.







(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

His grandfather would doubtless be proud …

… Novelist Evelyn Waugh's grandson Alexander, 56, will stand for Brexit Party at next General Election | Daily Mail Online. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Anniversary …

… RTs Reviews and Marginalia : Tennyson — his birthday and one of my favorites.

Veteran marksman …

… Paul Davis On Crime: My Washington Times Review of 'Game Of Snipers: A Bob Lee Swagger Novel'.

Something to think on …

The fittest survive. What is meant by the fittest? Not the strongest; not the cleverest — weakness and stupidity everywhere survive. There is no way of determining fitness except in that a thing does survive. 'Fitness,' then, is only another name for 'survival.' Darwinism: That survivors survive.
— Charles Fort, born on this date in 1874

Monday, August 05, 2019

Science …

… Physicists Overturn a 100-Year-Old Assumption on How Brain Cells Work.

This potentially new way of describing what's known as spatial summation could lead to a novel method of categorising neurons, one that sorts them based on how they compute incoming signals or how fine their resolution is, based on a particular direction.

The courage of sanctity …

…. A “tough guy” priest, in the gulag and beyond – Catholic World Report.
“For each of us, salvation means no more and no less than taking up daily the same cross of Christ. … What it means, in practice, is spelled out as always by the poor old body.  It means getting up each morning and going to bed exhausted.It means the routine, not the spectacular.”
I once spent a good part of an afternoon chatting over coffee with Father Ciszek.

Hmm …

… Taleb’s Call to Duel | Joshua P. Hochschild | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… Taleb’s Twitter attack was a call to duel; the rude insult manifests the stakes of personal dignity. Lehmann understands this. In February, she quoted a passage about how in an honor culture insults are used to provoke a duel. She added: “Obviously @nntaleb’s Twitter feed is one of honor culture’s last holdouts.”

Worth paying attention to …

… in order to see if the  media takes much note of it: Connor Betts, Ohio gunman, was Elizabeth Warren supporter - Washington Times.



After all, who remembers James T. Hodgkinson?

A poem for these days …

… Enemies by Wendell Berry | Poetry Foundation. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Wendell Berry turns 85 today. Happy birthday!

Hmm …

… Exile by Conrad Aiken | Poetry Foundation. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Conrad Aiken — one of my favorite poets — was born on this date in 1889. Here is “Morning Song” from Senlin.

Us and our lives …

… RTs Reviews and Marginalia : Remembering (with) Wendell Berry.

Wow …

… Poem of the week: Story's End by Kathleen Raine | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Well, that gets it down for sure.

Blogging note …

I have to take Debbie to her exercise class. So blogging will resume later this morning.

Listen in …

… The Biblio File hosted by Nigel Beale: Mark Abley on why poet Duncan Campbell Scott's reputation is in tatters.



Although E.K. Brown, a highly admired literary critic, once called poet and bureaucrat Duncan Campbell Scott "one of the chief masters of Canadian literature," Scott's reputation today lies in tatters.
Mark Abley in his fascinating biography Conversations with a Dead ManThe Legacy of Duncan Campbell Scott, explains why.