Thursday, December 05, 2019

Hmm …

… Beyond Eastrod : Flannery O'Connor's Catholicism.

I am a Catholic, and I think the reason O’Connor’s work affects people — even people who are not Catholic — so powerfully is that she presents the world and life from a strictly Catholic perspective, but without any preaching or doctrine, and that perspective resonates with many readers because it is rooted in Western culture.

Macro-aggressive gibberish …

… Lefty Lingo | Harper's Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The whole lexicon is of a piece. Its usage advertises that one has bought into a set menu of opinions—about race, gender, climate change, abortion, tax policy, #MeToo, Trump, Brexit, Brett Kavanaugh, probably Israel, and a great deal else. Reflexive resort to this argot therefore implies not that you think the same way as others of your political disposition but that you don’t think. You have ordered the prix fixe; you’re not in the kitchen cooking dinner for yourself. “The seductions of this shorthand,” writes Daum, are that there is “no need to sort out facts or wrestle with contradictions when just using certain buzzwords” grants “automatic entry into a group of ostensibly like-minded peers.” This vocabulary is lazy.

So cheer up …

… On Poetry: Happiness searches for us even when we hide from it | Lifestyles | record-eagle.com. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Postmortem …

John Simon’s double edge. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A masked heart …

… Elizabeth Smart Died in 1986. Her Work Still Haunts Me | The Walrus. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

What far fewer people know about Elizabeth Smart—and what she declined to mention during the years I knew her in the 1980s—is that she spent much of her working life in London selling carpets, tiaras, and transistor radios as a witty fashion and advertising copywriter. She was reputed, at one point, to be the highest-paid commercial writer in England.
Read the whole thing. It is wonderful. By the way, this is Smart as she looked when was involved with Barker:

Something to think on …

Were there no God, we would be in this glorious world with grateful hearts, and no one to thank.
— Christina Rosetti, born on this date in 1830

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

A classic Jesuit …

 Fr Schall: The man who launched a thousand libraries | Catholic Herald. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In an essay titled “On the Reasonableness of Hell”, Schall wrote: “If the human soul is not immortal – that is, if nothing passes beyond this life – it follows that injustice and justice have the same results. Great crimes of injustice are gotten away with and great examples of courage or generosity are unrewarded. If either of these results is the case, then the world is made in injustice. It is rationally incoherent. It was this frightening alternative that Plato fought against, as we also do.”

From our new paper of recotd …

… Narwhal Tusk Surrender Bins Installed Throughout The UK | The Babylon Bee.

Bryan Appleyard on Clive James …

 Remembering Clive James: “Dying turned out to be just what he needed.” | The Book Haven.

Ah, yes …

 The "Learning Together" London Bridge irony was forecasted by Evelyn Waugh in 1928, by Steve Sailer - The Unz Review. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In case you wondered …

… Paul Davis On Crime: DEA Take Down Of Drug Lord Pablo Escobar: My Washington Times Review of 'Manhunters: How We Took Down Pablo Escobar'.

Hmm …

… Why we need religion | Prospect Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

[Asma] now views religion—his focus is primarily on Christianity and Buddhism, but much of what he says applies more widely—as natural, beneficial, humanising, and, indeed, indispensable.
Hard to square that, it seems to me, if none of its underlying assumptions is true?

Listen in …

 Episode 352 – Robb Armstrong – The Virtual Memories Show.

“These marks that the artist makes are our signature, our footprint. They have to stay.”

Something to think on …

Do not be embarrassed by your mistakes. Nothing can teach us better than our understanding of them. This is one of the best ways of self-education.
— Thomas Carlyle, born on this date in 1795

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Appreciation …

Remembering Clive James: “Dying turned out to be just what he needed.” | The Book Haven.

This just in …

… New Greta On The Shelf Doll Will Track Your Climate Sins | The Babylon Bee.

Appreciation …

… On Brian Doyle's Mystical, Genre-Exploding Work | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

 During his final years, BD bravely bore intimations of an early departure from this life. During the same years he experienced ever more frequent visitations of what I can only call epiphanic joys. In the last lines of his last book, Eight Whopping Lies and Other Stories of Bruised Grace, BD summons his combined desperation and joy when he does not merely quote but lives  à Kempis’s recommended imitation, making Jesus’s words in the Gospel of Thomas his own, praying to become, as a posthumous mystery, an unending prayer for his family. What greater gift can a mortal father possibly offer?
Meister Eckhart, by the way, was never excommunicated. A 1992 letter from the Vatican to the Master of Dominicans explains: “We tried to have the censure lifted on Eckhart [...] and were told that there was really no need since he had never been condemned by name, just some propositions which he was supposed to have held, and so we are perfectly free to say that he is a good and orthodox theologian.”

Pathetic …

… Baltimore Will Have Bought-a-Less: The City's Museum of Art Announces it Won't Buy Any Works if They're Made by Men.

I used to like the Baltimore Museum. Won’t set foot in it now. 

So near to our times …

 Peace In a Plastic World | Joshua Hren | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Because the “services” offered by the Department of Euthanasia are “essential,” Plastic has no feast on “Santa Claus Day” (December 25). After work he walks to the hospital to visit his lover Clara, who is with child, and finds “the hall porter . . .  engrossed in the television, which was performing an old obscure folk play which past generations had performed on Santa Claus Day, and was now revived and revised as a matter of historical interest.” The porter’s interest, Plastic supposes, is “professional,” for the show “dealt with maternity services before the days of Welfare.” The porter cannot look away from “the strange spectacle of an ox and an ass, an old man with a lantern, and a young mother.” “‘People here are always complaining,’” the porter says. “‘They ought to realize what things were like before Progress.’”

A fantastic format …

… Book Review: “Broadsword Calling Danny Boy: Watching Where Eagles Dare" | Bill Peschel. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Taking his title from the radio call sign used throughout the movie, Dyer simply relates the plot of the movie, stopping frequently to riff on whatever seemingly comes to mind.

Just so you know …

… Wise Men Actually Just Sent Gifts Using Free Prime Shipping, Scholars Now Believe | The Babylon Bee.

Ongoing …

… Top Historians Slam NYT ‘1619 Project’ As It Infiltrates Public School Curriculum | The Daily Caller.

Some overlooked Nabokov …

… Donald Rayfield - Pride, Prejudice & Pushkin | Literary Review | Issue 482. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… unlike the embarrassingly jejune fragments of his novels, such as The Original of Laura, that have been published posthumously, this collection includes some of his sharpest prose, as well as his most cursory. It spans Nabokov’s career, from juvenilia to senilia.

Something to think on …

It is the mark of an inexperienced man not to believe in luck.
— Joseph Conrad, born on this date in 1857

Monday, December 02, 2019

in case you wondered …

… An Advent villanelle from Philadelphia’s Frank Wilson: “one of those memories that are like photographs” | The Book Haven.

Very nice of Cynthia to post that.

Decisions …

… Beyond Eastrod : Resolution — No more time torn off unused.

Patterns …

… A Closer Look at Ties: An Microscopic Introduction to Woven and Printed Textiles - Virginia Postrel. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Listen in …

 The Biblio File hosted by Nigel Beale: New Editor Meghan O'Rourke on what's ahead for the Yale Review.

Farewell …

… Clive James: the last interview | Culture | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Loving vs. liking, sin vs. symptom …

… Confession & Love of Neighbor: A Ramble — Maureen Mullarkey. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A man who has been told that everything is a symptom never need accuse or judge himself or ask to be judged. (Fulton Sheen)
I think that one of the better definition s\of sin was formulated by Philip Larkin in "Aubade"

The good not done, the love not given, time
Torn off unused …

Increasingly ubiquitous …

 Beyond Eastrod : Flannery O’Connor and Thomas Merton — reading recommendations.

Something to think on …

One of the things that puzzles me is that so few people want to look at life as a totality and to recognize that death is no more extraordinary than birth. When they say it's the end of everything they don't seem to recognize that we came from somewhere and it would be very, very strange indeed to suppose that we're not going somewhere.
— Robertson Davies, who died on this date in 1995

Sunday, December 01, 2019

RIP …

… Mariss Jansons obituary | Music | The Guardian.

Time for a chuckle …

… Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Humor: The Young And Old Doctor.

The song is us …

… What Makes a Song? It's the Same Recipe in Every Culture - Scientific American. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Humans everywhere bring together pitch, tempo and the like in a similar fashion.

December Reviews at North of Oxford …

… Misguided Behavior by Leah Mueller.

 We Are Beat, National Poetry Festival Anthology.

… A Slow Boiling Beach by Rauan Klassnik.

… The City of Folding Faces by Jayinee Basu.

… Venusberg by Anthony Powell.

Another one …

… An interview with historian James Oakes on the New York Times’ 1619 Project - World Socialist Web Site.

 Slavery made the slaveholders rich. But it made the South poor. And it didn’t make the North rich. The wealth of the North was based on the emerging, capitalist internal market that allowed the North to win the Civil War. It’s true that cotton dominated the export market. But it’s only something like 5 percent of GDP. It’s really the wealth of the internal northern market that’s decisive. That depends on a fairly widespread distribution of wealth, and that doesn’t exist in the South. There’s a lot of evidence from western Virginia, for example, that non-slaveholders were angry at the slaveholders for blocking the railroads and things like that that would allow them to take advantage of the internal market. So the legacy of slavery is poverty, not wealth. The slave societies of the New World were comparatively impoverished. To say things like, the entire wealth of “the white world” is based on slavery seems to me to ignore the enormous levels of poverty among whites as well as blacks.

Congratulations!

 Happy birthday to the Book Haven! We’re ten years old! | The Book Haven.

Worth remembering …

… Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation: Still Brilliant After a Half Century | National Review. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

 Like or dislike Clark, concur with or approve of, or not, his aesthetic evaluations; but fairness and accuracy require that one see and hear and read, and recognize, a moralist at work. The artwork Civilisation, films and book, is the master example of a new genre possible only in the era of high-technological audiovisual expertise. The work also offsets or mitigates the extreme and extravagant aesthetic tendencies of today, which are no longer hierarchical, backward-looking, or class-based but now vulgarly demotic, obscene, pornographic, or ironic: a very low culture for which ridiculously high claims are made, and whose noisy, nonstop regimen is constant and nearly inescapable.

Faith and language …

… Breviary notes : Essays in Idleness. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
The whole of English literature, in its breadth and insularity, is compact with this Anglican “vision” of Our Lord, so that most of it will be lost on the reader without knowledge of that Anglican KJV and BCP. Behind this, Shakespeare himself, Chaucer and his predecessors, going back to Anglo-Saxons, are riddled with Biblical allusions, and the signs and symbols of religious devotion.
 All of this is lost on the contemporary university reader, for the entire field of the humanities has been defoliated — defiled and stripped bare — by the poison of “political correctness.”

Yeoman’s work …

… A List of Music Cues in Ducks, Newburyport – Reluctant Habits.

Anniversary …

… Beyond Eastrod : Great expectations and other encounters with Dickens.

Something to think on …

You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was Dostoevsky and Dickens who taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who ever had been alive. Only if we face these open wounds in ourselves can we understand them in other people.
— James Baldwin, who died on this date in 1987

For the season

Today is the first day of Advent. So here, as usual, is my Advent villanelle: 


Advent


The leaves are fallen, but the sky is clear
(Though winter’s scheduling an arctic flight).
The rumor is a rendezvous draws near.

Some say a telling sign will soon appear,
Though evidence this may be so is slight:
The leaves are fallen, but the sky is clear.

Pale skeptics may be perfectly sincere
To postulate no ground for hope, despite
The rumor that a rendezvous draws near.

More enterprising souls may shed a tear
And, looking up, behold a striking light:
The leaves are fallen, but the sky is clear.

The king, his courtiers, and priests, all fear
Arrival of a challenge to their might:
The rumor is a rendezvous draws near.

The wise in search of something all can cheer
May not rely on ordinary sight:
The leaves are fallen, but the sky is clear.

Within a common place may rest one dear
To all who yearn to see the world made right.
The leaves are fallen, but the sky is clear.
The rumor is a rendezvous draws near.



Saturday, November 30, 2019

Worth keeping an eye on …

Philosophers ask the big questions about religion.

Better than they knew…

… Review: “The Spectra Hoax” by William Jay Smith | Form in Formless Times. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Once again, in case you wondered …

… Who killed the American arts? | Spectator USA. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
By the end of the Sixties, students and administrators had arrived at a Westphalian peace. The students permitted the university to stay in the business of training specialists and technicians. The university let the students redefine the humanistic curriculum. Henceforth, the purpose of liberal education was to prevent the education of classical liberals.

Happy birthday, Mr. Clemens …

 Beyond Eastrod : Mark Twain Revisited.

On the other hand, in case you wondered …

… Why Mister Rogers Is More Relevant than Ever — Strong Towns. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

You know who comes to mind is the character of Lady Elaine, in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. Lady Elaine was ornery. Most real-life neighborhoods have a character like that too. But if you’re committed to a place, you’re not going to pull up stakes when things get tough. You have to figure out how to be a good neighbor to the “Lady Elaines.” One of the things I most admired about Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was that there was this very difficult character, and the other characters had to do the hard work of learning how to love her.
This seems about right:

He seems very simple, gentle, and sweet; some of his friends even described him as androgynous, not masculine in the traditional sense of being aggressive. And yet he became a very strong person. Everybody I talked to who worked with Fred described him as a wonderfully loving and caring friend, but also somebody who was as tough as nails. He knew exactly what he wanted to accomplish, and how he wanted to go about doing it.

Hear, hear …

… Edward Feser: Against candy-ass Christianity. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… my point is not to criticize Rogers himself, who I’m sure was a decent fellow, and who was, after all, simply hosting a children’s program.  I don’t know anything about his personal theological opinions, and I don’t know whether the movie accurately represents them or even refers to them at all.  The point is to comment on the idea that an inoffensive “niceness” is somehow the essence of the true Christian, or at least of any Christian worthy of the liberal’s respect.  For it is an idea that even a great many churchmen seem to have bought into. 
The aim in life should never be to win the approval of the fashionable.

So much at stake …

… Zealotry of Guerin: Card Players and Girl (Paul Cezanne), Sonnet #486.

Something to think on …

Except among those whose education has been in the minimalist style, it is understood that hasty moral judgments about the past are a form of injustice.
— Jacques Barzun, born on this date in 1907

Friday, November 29, 2019

Blogging note …

I must be out and about today ± and soon. Blogging will resume later.

Not a bad idea …

 Eastrod Revisited and Beyond: C. S. Lewis invites us to start reading fairy tales again.

Weighing in …

… All Book Marks reviews for One Long River of Song: Notes on Wonder by Brian Doyle. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Listen in …

… Replay: Stephen Hough plays Chopin on Queen Victoria’s piano | About Last Night.

Good idea …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Project Guardian Will Enforce Current Gun Laws To Combat Gun Crime: My Washington Times Piece On Strict Enforcement Of Existing Gun Laws Rather Than New Gun Control Laws.



It does seem rational to enforce the laws you already have on the books before passing new ones.

Meaning the real thing …

… In defense of journalism | Spectator USA. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The chosen …

… Books of the Year 2019 - TLS. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Apologia pro vita sua …

… Critics & criticism by John Simon | The New Criterion. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Criticism should also be comprehensible, which is to say not written by Frenchmen with esoteric theories and befuddling jargon. And it should not present itself as written on Mosaic tablets by the likes of Harold Bloom. Above all, it should not be the voice of a publisher or editor or anybody else, but independently the critic’s own.

Something to think on …

The greatest evils in the world will not be carried out by men with guns, but by men in suits sitting behind desks.
— C. S. Lewis, born on this date in 1898

Thursday, November 28, 2019

In case you wondered …

 How to be a Good Person | Stand Firm. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

 The point is to first to find something to be grateful about, and then someone to be grateful to.

How to give thanks …

… Remembrance of Past Mercies, by John Henry Newman - The Catholic Thing. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

It would be well if we were in the habit of looking at all we have as God’s gift, undeservedly given, and day by day continued to us solely by His mercy. 

Learning to swim …

… Faith by Frances Anne Kemble | Poetry Foundation. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)



Yesterday was Fanny Kemble's 210th birthday.

Take a look at these …

… Cig Harvey: State Of Being - Digital Photo Pro. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sweet at last …

… The Writer's Almanac for Friday, November 22, 2019 — "Local Obits"| Garrison Keillor. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

For all us cornballs and squares …

 Laudator Temporis Acti: Happy Thanksgiving. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The New York Times lineup linked to there is the best evidence yet of what a rag that paper has become.

Mark thy calendar …

One of the surprise artists is my friend Penny Emory. That's her ceramic rabbit.


Hmm …

 Bruce Charlton's Notions: John Butler - Christian 'Zen' (not Zen Christianity). (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



I wonder if Butler even wonders t\i ego may plays a part in his outlook.

Happy birthday …

… Beyond Eastrod : Giving thanks to William Blake.

Something to think on …

There is nothing more vindictive, nothing more underhanded, than a little world that would like to be a big one.
— Stefan Zweig, born on this date in 1881

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

… Thanksgiving Proclamation, 3 October 1789. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Welcome back to that 1930s …

… 'Victims Becoming the Perpetrators': Remarks about Jews at Elite Private School Spark Outrage.

RIP …

… Sir Jonathan Miller obituary | Stage | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

listen in …

… Clive James Bonus Episode – The Virtual Memories Show.

Clive James passed away on Sunday.

Vibrant scholarship …

A review of mine: Word Awake is a masterful study of Michael O’Brien’s apocalyptic novels – Catholic World Report.

FYI …

 Meat, Saturated Fat, and Long Life - Rogue Health and Fitness.

Honoring his bicentenary …

… Smelling sweet in our dust by Christoph Irmscher | The New Criterion. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

This is not, to be sure, the version of Melville most of us remember from high school or college classes, not the dark-timbred author of Moby-Dick or “Benito Cereno.” But while there’s a world of difference between a white kitten (“Blanche”) and a white whale, it’s not far-fetched to say that Melville’s light-hearted Montaigne poem also explores one of his most cherished themes: the much-needed demotion of the human point of view from its position of unearned superiority. Think of Starbuck in Moby-Dick, the Pequod’s first mate, who, unable and unwilling to challenge his unhinged captain, on the third day of chasing the whale suddenly sees what Ahab can’t or won’t, namely that Moby Dick has no interest in humans, that all he wants is to be left alone: “Moby Dick seeks thee not.”

RIP …

… Clive James, writer, broadcaster and TV critic, dies aged 80 | Culture | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Don’t know much about history …

… Impeachment hearings prompt media references to heroic-journalist myth of Watergate | Media Myth Alert.



Or, as Bob Woodward put it, To say that the press brought down Nixon, that’s horseshit.”

Something to think on …

You've got to bear it in mind that nobody that ever lived is specially privileged; the axe can fall at any moment, on any neck, without any warning or any regard for justice.
—James Agee, born on this date in 1909

Indeed …

… Francis: An Unworthy Householder — Maureen Mullarkey. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Reuters called it “a dramatic gesture.” Indeed. It was also a dishonest one, a self-aggrandizing, theatrical simulacra of humility by a well-protected man in the security of his own apartments. Moreover, having one’s shoes smooched is not a quotidian rite for visitors to the papal digs. Try to imagine Francis on his knees caressing the shoes of any Western leader in a plea for reconciliation of political divisions. President Trump’s shoes, you think?

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

And the winner is …

 Literary giant Edna O'Brien has won a 40,000 pound lifetime achievement award. | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Begging to differ …

… An interview with historian James McPherson on the New York Times’ 1619 Project - World Socialist Web Site.

I’d say that, almost from the outset, I was disturbed by what seemed like a very unbalanced, one-sided account, which lacked context and perspective on the complexity of slavery, which was clearly, obviously, not an exclusively American institution, but existed throughout history. And slavery in the United States was only a small part of a larger world process that unfolded over many centuries. And in the United States, too, there was not only slavery but also an antislavery movement. So I thought the account, which emphasized American racism—which is obviously a major part of the history, no question about it—but it focused so narrowly on that part of the story that it left most of the history out.

The fate of poets …

… Nigeness: 'A warming to us all'. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Listen in …

… Episode 351 – Annie Koyama – The Virtual Memories Show.

“More and more in this society, if you have more than other people, you have a duty to share it.”

Something much needed these days …

… A Recital Reaffirms Our Common Humanity in an Age of Tribalism. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



A few markers of our present moment: every arts institution in the United States is under pressure to discard meritocratic standards in collections, programming, and personnel, in favor of race and gender preferences. When the Museum of Modern Art opened its renovated headquarters in New York City this October, a Wall Street Journal art critic noted that the new MoMA had been able to “correct, and even make reparations for, its heretofore almost exclusive parade of white male superstars.”Gender and race bean-counting is now the key to evaluating a collection’s worth. 
 When Christian Gerhaher and his long-time accompanist, Gerard Huber, stepped onto the stage of Alice Tully Hall on October 29, in other words, they were entering what university precincts call a “contested” space. Their featured composer—Gustav Mahler—is a dead white male; Gerhaher and Huber are themselves white and male. And they were offering works that represent the pinnacle of a civilization routinely denounced in the academy and the political arena as the font of the world’s racism and sexism. Gerhaher and Huber demonstrated why the preservation of that inheritance is the most pressing imperative of our time.
If they're so embarrassed by the masterpieces in their possession, why not just give them away — first come, first serve? What could be more inclusive than that?

Hmm …

… The Bus Ticket Theory of Genius. (Hat ti, Dave Lull.)

If I had to put the recipe for genius into one sentence, that might be it: to have a disinterested obsession with something that matters.

Bravo!

… No easy mark: Female bodybuilder, 82, clobbers intruder – WATE 6 On Your Side.

For the season …

 RT’s Reviews & Marginalia : Among the Rocks.

Something to think on …

It is a lesson we all need — to let alone the things that do not concern us. He has other ways for others to follow Him; all do not go by the same path. It is for each of us to learn the path by which He requires us to follow Him, and to follow Him in that path.
— Katharine Drexel, born on this date in 1858

Sounds good …

… New Wodehouse book: ‘This is jolly old Fame’ by Paul Kent hits the spot – Plumtopia. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… Kent makes points which had never occurred to me, setting my thoughts in a multitude of new directions. He draws on an impressive array of literary sources and opinions, but doesn’t hold back from giving his own – firmly, but respectfully questioning some of the ideas many of us seem to have accepted as lore when it comes to discussing Wodehouse and his work. This is the sort of thinking and writing the world of Wodehouse appreciation needs – and gives the rest of us plenty to talk about.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Timely surprises …

… First Known When Lost: Our Place.

… this afternoon, walking beneath the spacious empty branches of a long row of trees, I wondered about my grieving.  The day was windless and the trees were absolutely silent.  The silence was breathtaking.  As was the look of the declining yellow light on the trunks of the trees, on the thousands and thousands of twigs and branches.  The World was aglow.  Silent and aglow.

RIP …

… Critic John Simon Dies at Age 94 | Playbill. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Hmm …

… The Logistical and Evangelical Challenges of the Archbishop Sheen Beatification. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The accelerated beatification constitutes a massive missed evangelical opportunity. Consequently, the Diocese of Peoria and the U.S. bishops will have to quickly plan a compensatory program — perhaps a “Year of Blessed Fulton Sheen” or some such initiative. That the announcement from Peoria came only days after the U.S. bishops concluded their plenary meeting in Baltimore meant that an opportunity there was missed to discuss how to cope with the accelerated beatification timeline.

Mark thy calendar …

… SRO: HOMING launches - New Door Books.

… you'll have another chance soon: Mark will be reading at Narberth Bookshop on Thursday, December 5, 7 p.m. If you like celery and carrots, we'd especially like to see you, since your cohort was underrepresented the first time.

In case you wondered …

… Why Apocalyptic Claims About Climate Change Are Wrong.

Journalists and activists alike have an obligation to describe environmental problems honestly and accurately, even if they fear doing so will reduce their news value or salience with the public. There is good evidence that the catastrophist framing of climate change is self-defeating because it alienates and polarizes many people. And exaggerating climate change risks distracting us from other important issues including ones we might have more near-term control over.

What the hell?

… West Virginia Inmates Will Be Charged by the Minute to Read E-Books on Tablets – Reason.com. (Hat tip, Virginia Kerr.)

Under a 2019 contract between the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (WVDCR) and Global Tel Link (GTL), the company that is providing electronic multimedia tablets to 10 West Virginia prisons, inmates will be charged 3 cents a minute to read books, even though the books all come from Project Gutenberg, a free online library of more than 60,000 texts in the public domain.

Ah, yes…

… RT’s Reviews & Marginalia : Judge tenderly — Emily Dickinson’s letter to the world.

Words fail …

… The move to cancel Gauguin could kill off Western culture.


Another school to ignore …

… davidthompson: It Was Monday And So There Was Psychodrama.
  1. When I was editor of my college newspaper, I got a letter from Gus Hall, the head  of the CPUSA, complaining about a demonstration by Nazis (real ones) outside a speech he had given. I thought it might be nice to get a letter as well from George Lincoln Rockwell, the head of the American Nazi Party as well, and run them side by side. I was over-ruled by the Jesuit moderator of the paper, who thought it better to ignore both. Seemed reasonable. I 

Caught up in a real resistance …

… BOOK REVIEW: 'Under Occupation' - Washington Times.

Based on actual history, as Mr. Furst notes, the German Occupation Authority rounded up Poles who were electricians, welders and machinists, and forced them into slave labor at the German U-Boats naval yards in Germany. The Poles fought back by stealing technical information about the U-Boats and smuggled the valuable information to Paris, where it was forwarded to the British Secret Intelligence Service.  

Autumn …

… The Poets' Favorite Season | Dan Hitchens | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

Security depends not so much upon how much you have, as upon how much you can do without.
— Joseph Wood Krutch, born on this date in 1893

In case you wondered …

… Machine learning has revealed exactly how much of a Shakespeare play was written by someone else.

Huh?

… Anyone Can Identify as Black, Lecturers Union Says - National File.

A pilgrimage on native ground …

… Anecdotal Evidence: 'Hence the Beauty of Our Finest Monuments'. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

My copy of Nige’s book just arrived. I plan to start reading it in a few days, after I meet a deadline for a review that is due.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Have a look …

… Nigeness: More Tate.

I especially like the Wallis and the Sickert.

Not a bad idea …

… Climate Change Protesters Target Harvard-Yale Game, So Abolish the Ivy League.

Of course, I’m Jesuit-trained. So the Ivy League has never meant anything to me.

Belated congratulations to our friend Dave Lull …

… Updike society honors retired librarian | THE JOHN UPDIKE SOCIETY.

God knows where this blog would be were it not for Dave’s yeoman's service on its behalf. Probably in oblivion.

Art and faith …

… Anthony Esolen, in Praise of Poetry. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

FYI …

… Ten Most Read Poets – North of Oxford 2019 | North of Oxford.

Something to think on …

As long as you have a garden you have a future and as long as you have a future you are alive.
— Frances Hodgson Burnett, born on this date in 1849

Saturday, November 23, 2019

A lesser light …

… RT’s Reviews & Marginalia : Birthday celebration for Hawthorne’s classmate.

In case you wondered …

… The American Scholar: 10 of the Most Influential Literary Characters of All Time. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The poodles have it …

 The wonderful world of community theater | Spectator USA. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I go to the theater almost never these days. Jesus Hopped the A Train cured me forever of dramatized op-eds. I would love to see Strindberg, Ibsen, Pirandello, Anouilh, Giraudoux, and yes, Maxwell Anderson and William Inge. But no one seems to stage the classics anymore.

The art of collision

… Zealotry of Guerin: Death on the Ridge Road (Grant Wood), Sonnet #485.

Anniversary …

… Rediscovering a Master Composer - WSJ.

In the violently passionate Piano Sonata, his masterpiece, and “The Lament of Ian the Proud” (both 1918), the finest of his songs, it is clear that had it not been for his tragically untimely death, Griffes would have accumulated a body of first-class work large enough to cause him to be spoken of in the same breath as Copland and Samuel Barber.

Well, it is becoming the paper of record …

… (1) Kyle Mann on Twitter: "Trump now taking cues from The Babylon Bee https://t.co/TjVJMATthB" / Twitter.

Something to think on …

Art is always the replacement of indifference by attention.
— Guy Davenport, born on this date in 1927

A different sort of player …

… BOOK REVIEW: 'The Siberian Dilemma' - Washington Times.

“Arkady was an Investigator of Special Cases, and if a bear running loose in the heart of Moscow was not a special case, he didn’t know what was.”     

Giving the sacred its proper voice …

… Prayer in English - The Catholic Thing. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The time for a worthy English version of the Mass has arrived, by several unexpected channels.

But it will be a disaster if the Catholic faith does not resume its place at the heart of this development.

Worth remembering …

… The Story of Erroll Garner, the First Artist to Sue a Major and Win – Variety. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

It was a landmark case that has been largely forgotten. “The Erroll Garner story is an important one,” says UCLA history professor and author Robin D.G. Kelley. “The context is the ‘50s at the height of Garner’s power. He was winning DownBeat polls and other international prizes. He was at the top of his game, and his manager, Martha Glaser (pictured above, right, with Garner), had worked out a contract with Columbia with an unprecedented clause giving Erroll the right to approve the release of any of his recorded music.”

Friday, November 22, 2019

The world just became less funny …

… Gahan Wilson, Macabre Cartoonist, Dead at 89 – Multiversity Comics. (Hat tip, Dave Lull..)

God, he was a great cartoonist. 

Read and listen …

… Amy Barone reads from We Became Summer - Don Yorty.



Here is my review of We Became Summer.

Grim anniversary …

 RT’s Reviews & Marginalia : President assassinated in Dallas.

Yeah, I remember where I was when I heard the news. I was a college senior flirting with the pretty girl at the switchboard.

Bicentenary …

… I Grant You Ample Leave by George Eliot | Poetry Foundation. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Today is the 200th anniversary of George Eliot's birth.

Not just the thing with feathers …

… Hope As a Natural Virtue | Peter J. Leithart | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

 Clark inverts the common picture to demonstrate how reason, knowledge, and virtue are founded on faith, hope, and love.

Shouldn't it be phrase of the year?

… and isn't it just a rhetorical ploy? Oxford Dictionaries declares 'climate emergency' the word of 2019 | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)




Poetry to read at your own risk …

 Truth or consequences by William Logan | The New Criterion. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Anniversary …

… CS Lewis: A Sonnet | Malcolm Guite. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less.
— C. S. Lewis, who died on this date in 1963

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Hmm …

… Meat, Saturated Fat, and Long Life - Rogue Health and Fitness.

The one thing needful …

… Enough Nones-sense—let’s settle for nothing but Truth – Catholic World Report.



… we need to insist on the ancient and perennial questions: What is truth? Do I desire it? How can I find it?

Much in what he says …

… Up Their Assets | Wirkman Comment. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)


Faith encounter …

… An Icon of St. Margaret by Marly Youmans | Articles | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Someone wekk worth getting to know …

… The Woman Who Brought Dostoevsky and Chekhov to English Readers | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Garnett made Dostoyevsky a household name, and he did the same for her. Ernest Hemingway was one of many who admired her Dostoyevskys, as well as her Tolstoys. “I remember,” he told a friend, “how many times I tried to read War and Peace until I got the Constance Garnett translation.” Not everyone shared his opinion. One critic described her Chekhov as a Victorian death rattle. Nabokov jumped in to damn her versions. But compare his translation of Gogol’s sleighbells in Dead Souls to Garnett’s. Chudnym zvonom zalivayetsya kolokolchik becomes:
Garnett: “The ringing of the bells melts into music.”
Nabokov: “The middle bell trills out in a dream its liquid soliloquy.”
Who, do you think, has the tin ear?

The art of writing …

 on Essays: One by Lydia Davis – On the Seawall. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In the craft essays that make up the bulk of Lydia Davis’ collection Essays: One, the pleasure is always immediate, the joy near at hand. Perhaps this peculiar but welcome sensibility comes from Davis’ affinity for the short story, which in her case is often as short as a sentence. Perhaps it stems from her work as a translator, where she engaged phrase-by-phrase with triumphs by Proust and Flaubert. (The forthcoming Essays: Two deals directly with translation.) Whatever the reason, Davis’ writing on writing possesses a candor and warmth that are rare in the genre, even while she demands an unusual amount of rigor.
Here is an excerpt: Lydia Davis: Ten of My Recommendations for Good Writing Habits.

Tyranny alert …

… Myanmar judge extends sentences for poets jailed for mocking military - Reuters. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Another place where speaking truth to power comes at a price.

A fleeting glimpse …

… “A Baker Swept By,” by Edward Hirsch | The New Yorker.

In case you wondered …

… The Writer's Almanac for Wednesday, November 20, 2019 | How to Foretell a Change in the Weather. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Nice to know …

 RT’s Reviews & Marginalia : The Man Who Rescued Hawthorne From Obscurity.

And the winners are …

… 2019 National Book Award Winners Announced - The Millions. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

We must believe in free will — we have no choice.
— Isaac Bashevis Singer, born on this date in 1902

Poetry in extremis …

You'll Need Me When They're Gone: The Poems We Reach For in Grief - The Millions. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

… poems about grief offer us language at times when we can’t come up with our own. This occurs on all levels of catastrophe.

Who knew?

… Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Hebrew Poet – Tablet Magazine. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

The Romantic poet’s underappreciated collaboration with the pioneering Hebrew scholar Hyman Hurwitz made him more of a Hebraist than most readers know.

Q&A …

First Draft of the King James Bible | National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In 2015, Jeffrey Alan Miller, an English professor at Montclair State University in New Jersey, stunned the academic world with his announcement, in the Times Literary Supplement, that he had discovered “the earliest known draft of any part of the King James Bible, unmistakably in the hand of one of the King James translators.” This year Miller was awarded an NEH research fellowship to bring out a critical edition of the draft, and, as we went to press, it was announced that he had won a MacArthur “genius” grant.

Q&A …

First Draft of the King James Bible | National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In 2015, Jeffrey Alan Miller, an English professor at Montclair State University in New Jersey, stunned the academic world with his announcement, in the Times Literary Supplement, that he had discovered “the earliest known draft of any part of the King James Bible, unmistakably in the hand of one of the King James translators.” This year Miller was awarded an NEH research fellowship to bring out a critical edition of the draft, and, as we went to press, it was announced that he had won a MacArthur “genius” grant.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The past has its surprises …

… RT’s Reviews & Marginalia : Reconsidering the past in order to understand the present.

Sad …

… Paul Davis On Crime: When Illegal Aliens Commit Crimes: My Washington Times Piece On California Governor Under Fire For Skipping Slain Deputy's Funeral.

In case you wondered …

 Every National Book Award for Fiction Winner of the 21st Century | Book Marks.



… Every National Book Award for Nonfiction Winner of the 21st Century.

Wonderful …

 Snapshot: Allegra Kent dances in George Balanchine’s Symphony in C | About Last Night.

About time …

… The Magnificent Tarkington. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
All three books cast doubt on [Thomas] Mallon’s verdict that Tarkington, in the “throes of nostalgia,” produced works “trapped in amber.” In truth, besides reminding us of what a splendid writer Tarkington was, they show that few American novelists have had a better intuitive grasp of human motivation and group dynamics. Tarkington was especially attuned to how human action and interaction were shaped, distorted, and poisoned by egotism, willfulness, and self-centeredness.

The Penrod books (not mentioned in this piece) were still popular when I was a boy

Well, maybe …

 The 50 best nonfiction books of past 25 years. (Hat tip, Virginia Kerr.)



Just off the top of my head, I would have found room for Thomas Nagel's Mind and Cosmos, which is a very important book, and also Auberon Waugh's Will This Do?, and Julian Barnes's Nothing to Be Frightened Of.

Something to think on …

The ways of Providence cannot be reasoned out by the finite mind ... I cannot fathom them, yet seeking to know them is the most satisfying thing in all the world.
— Selma Lagerlöf, born on this date in 1858

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Listen in, with sadness …

… Tom Spurgeon Bonus Episode – The Virtual Memories Show.

Following the unexpected death of Tom Spurgeon, my best friend and an inveterate supporter of the show, I’ve re-posted our 2012 conversation, along with a new (and emotional) introduction.

Hmm …

… Instapundit — SCIENCE, UNSETTLED: Unpublished data from Stanley Milgram’s experiments cast doubt on his claims …

Pretty near definitive …

Yesterday was Eugene Ormandy's birthday. I grew up seeing and listening to him conduct. I happen to think he is underrated. But I don't think anyone doubts that he was a great conductor of Rachmaninoff's music. Rachmaninoff certainly thought so.

Something else to listen to …

… Episode 350 – Ed Ward – The Virtual Memories Show.

“I don’t like nostalgia. I consider it destructive to a rational understanding of history.”

Listen in …

… Trinities – latest discussion with Rupert Sheldrake – Mark Vernon.

Watch and listen …

 iroon.com: Vlogs: Majid Naficy at Hammer Museum: "Barbad the Lute Player" 2nd Segment of "Ecstasy and the Persian Spirit". (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Tracking the decline …

 RT’s Reviews & Marginalia : “10 books about Emily Dickinson ... “

I got today the one Emily Dixkinson book everyone should have: Emily Dickinson’s Poems: As She Preserved Them.

Time for a chuckle

… Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Humor: Nair And The Schnauzer.

Getting to know him …

A motel room of one’s own. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
Edward Hopper and the American Hotel, a rich exhibition now at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, highlights the contrast between Hopper’s early, lesser-known years as a commercial illustrator and his later eminence as laconic American icon, the serious solitary who painted crumbling Victorian boarding houses, faded hotel lobbies and highway motels.