Sunday, September 20, 2020

Terrific …

Around and about …

… First Known When Lost: Awake.


Now is the all-sufficing all
Wherein to love the lovely well,
Whate'er befall.

RIP …

… Winston Groom, author of 'Forrest Gump' dies at 77.

Odd anniversary …

… Chester Arthur becomes third president to serve in one year - HISTORY.

A healthy dose of science …

… Growing concern about Lockdown from doctors in Belgium | Dr. Malcolm Kendrick. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



This a must-read. A sample:

The use of the non-specific PCR test, which produces many false positives, showed an exponential picture. This test was rushed through with an emergency procedure and was never seriously self-tested.
The creator expressly warned that this test was intended for research and not for diagnostics.7

The PCR test works with cycles of amplification of genetic material – a piece of genome is amplified each time. Any contamination (e.g. other viruses, debris from old virus genomes) can possibly result in false positives.8 
The test does not measure how many viruses are present in the sample. A real viral infection means a massive presence of viruses, the so-called virus load. If someone tests positive, this does not mean that that person is actually clinically infected, is ill or is going to become ill. Koch’s postulate was not fulfilled (“The pure agent found in a patient with complaints can provoke the same complaints in a healthy person”).


It can also be seen here. https://docs4opendebate.be/en/open-letter/ 

Reason and truth …

 The Enlightenment’s Critics | The Russell Kirk Center. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The tendency to apply the scientific method to otherwise unconnected spheres of life is what we typically mean by “scientism.” This tendency toward scientism is the theme of several of the essays in this volume, and is treated best in those essays on Polanyi and Heidegger. The reduction of our categories of the world merely to what can be measured, counted, or quantified, narrows our understanding. For Heidegger, truth is aletheia, “un-concealing,” and science is merely one mechanism for the world to disclose itself. By restricting our encounter with the world to the purely scientistic, or technological, we conceal from ourselves a more authentic encounter with it. 

The holier-than-everyone clowns strike again …

… Man and Underman at RADA | City Journal. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

If every person commemorated for exceptional achievement is to be pulled down from his plinth because he is subsequently found to have been less than a saint (according to current conceptions of sanctity), we shall end up honoring no one except ourselves. We shall not allow performances of Shakespeare because, in his will, he left his wife his second-best bed, thereby revealing (we suppose) his deep misogyny.
 The students appear to be self-righteously stupid, but the administrators are contemptible cowards. And I’ve always thought that Shaw, while a great playwright, was himself something of an ass.

Portrait of a self …

… Zealotry of Guerin: Svetlana Reflects Herself in the Mirror (Karl Briullov), Sonnet #530.

Word of the Day …

… Hardscape | Word Genius.

Something to think on …

The Divine Thing that made itself the foundation of the Church does not seem, to judge by his comments on the religious leadership of his day, to have hoped much from officers of a church.
— Charles Williams, born on this date in 1886

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Books in the time of Covid …

… Melted - Perfect Duluth Day. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

For 72 hours, the jumbled books hang in limbo, neither well nor sick, welcome but not admitted, the romances discreetly smoldering, poetry tautly observing, YA sullenly pouting, memoirs pointedly recounting, board books happily clapping, references clinically mapping, fantasies wildly conjuring, mysteries slyly twisting.
Laced throughout, there are murderous thrillers, their pages potentially hosting death.

The lack of manners …

… In 2020, We Have Forgotten How To Leave People Alone – Reason.com.



Sooner or later, such a group is going to pick on the wrong people.

Not the Babylon Bee …

… German soccer team thrashed 37-0 after socially distancing from opponent. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

These days …

… Playin’ in the Rain | City Journal. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

It is eerie. Non-musicians don’t realize how bad it is out there: basically, no work. 

Word of the Day …

… Miscellany | Word Genius.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Women’s Advocate at High Court, Dies at 87 - Bloomberg

… Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Women’s Advocate at High Court, Dies at 87 - Bloomberg.

I think she was a principled jurist, which does not mean I always agreed with her. But who the hell do you always agree with.

In case you wondered …

 … Lancaster Solved Its Rioting Problem In One Day. Here’s How They Did It.

It is not as though the Lancaster Police Department has access to more tools and resources than the police in Portland or Seattle. The difference here is that the people in positions of power actually wanted the law enforced, and took basic steps to see that it was done. The police were allowed to do their jobs, and suspects, once arrested, faced real and life changing consequences. It was that simple.

The essence of style …

… Style Reveals the Man by Joseph Epstein | Articles | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

All the chapters in Style refer back to and fill out the early chapter, “The Foundation of Style—Character,” which gives the book its overarching theme and makes the work unique. In this chapter, Lucas introduces the radical, but quite sensible, notion that character is at the center of good writing, no matter what the form.

Word of the Day …

… Surrey | Word Genius.

Appreciation …

… Brooklin celebrates author, editor Roger Angell | Community News | Penobscot Bay Press.

Something to think on …

It is not in the nature of politics that the best men should be elected. The best men do not want to govern their fellowmen.
— George MacDonald, who died on this date in 1905

Hmm …

… 'Confounding': Covid may have already peaked in many African countries | Global health | The Guardian.

Prof Francesco Checchi, a specialist in epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told MPs it was “broadly” true that coronavirus had not behaved in expected ways in African countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan and Somalia.
“We are certainly observing a pattern that confounds us a little,” he told the UK’s international development committee’s inquiry into the impact of Covid on humanitarian crises.
“In a few important case studies – Kenya, for example – what seems to be happening is the epidemic may be peaking earlier than our naive models predicted.”

Thursday, September 17, 2020

I hope he sues …

… An Online Student Attended a Rooftop Party. He Was Reported to NYU and Suspended Indefinitely. – Reason.com.



On Sunday, August 23—a day after the party—NYU Director of Student Conduct Craig Jolley sent an email to Andy accusing him of "threatening the health and safety of the NYU Community." By 5:00 p.m. on Monday, NYU had suspended him indefinitely: To return to campus in 2021, Andy will need to write a reflection paper and beg for readmission. Resuming his education might be impossible, anyway, since he relies on a full-tuition scholarship that is now threatened by his disciplinary status.
Andy thinks NYU treated him unfairly. It's hard to disagree. Importantly, he didn't actually put anyone on campus in danger, because he had no plans to set foot on NYU property: He lives off campus, and all his classes were online.

Q&A …

… The Patient Ambition of John Milton: A Conversation with Thom Satterlee - Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I suppose it should have been daunting — and at times it was daunting — to invent words and actions for one of the greatest poets of all time. To try to bring Milton to life on the page. I know I struggled in early drafts. I discarded … I don’t know how many, a couple hundred pages, some of which were written as if Milton were telling his life story. 
What helped me push through was inventing the fictional character of Reverend Theodore Wesson, the Anglican priest who narrates the novel and tells about the time when he met Milton and they had a sort of friendship in the latter half of 1665. I was able to see Milton through this narrator — or at least that’s how it felt

Expect more stories like this …

… Instapundit — WHEN YOU CAN’T TRUST THE NUMBERS: Bombshell: Nashville mayor’s office deliberately kept vital CO…

And the winners are …

… Soak In Award-Winning Astrophotography from Prestigious Contest. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Hmm …

… The Lie of Viktor Frankl - Tablet Magazine. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)


In The Doctor and the Soul, written soon after his release from the camps, Frankl argues that Freud was reductive and low-minded, a common charge among those who, like Frankl, call themselves existential humanists. They prefer to talk about the soaring human spirit, unlike Freud with his grubby interest in fetishes, perversions, and the like. But Freud is a permanent wisdom writer, who sways us with even his wrongheaded ideas. Freud can teach you something about almost any human subject: love, death, culture, war, religion, growing up. Whenever you reread him, you come away with a new insight.
I heard enough about Freud by the time I was in high school that I felt obligated to read him. I tried. I just didn’t find it credible (to put it politely). I read Man’s Search for Meaning shortly after it came out. It was recommended to me by my Jesuit mentor, Father Gannon, whose specialty was existential phenomenology, which has shaped my thinking throughout my life. But while I may be an existentialist of sorts, neither Father Gannon nor I could be called “existential humanists.” Like Father Gannon, I am a Christian existentialist (like Gabriel Marcel).  
As for Freud, about the only thing he ever said that I agree with is that “A man who has been the indisputable favorite of his mother keeps for life the feeling of a conqueror.” I agree with it because I know from experience that it is true. Viktor Frankl obviously had some serious flaws. But Man’s Search for Meaning — which I still have around here someplace — is in my view better than anything Freud ever wrote.

Good …

… Georgia Tech to pay $50K, improve free speech policy in legal ‘win’ for pro-life students | The College Fix.

The lawsuit was filed after the student government refused to fund a pro-life event featuring Dr. Alveda King, niece of civil-rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.

Word of the Day …

… Buck-And-Wing | Word Genius.

Something to think on …

We cannot live in a world that is not our own, in a world that is interpreted for us by others. An interpreted world is not a home. Part of the terror is to take back our own listening, to use our own voice, to see our own light.
— Hildegard von Bingen, who died on this date in 1179

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

RIP …

…. Stanley Crouch, Towering Jazz Critic, Dead At 74 : NPR. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Time for a chuckle …

… Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Humor: The Mob Boss, The Lawyer And The Bookkeeper.

Just so you know …

The Diabolical Side of Karl Marx.
Kengor highlights another feature of Marx ignored by his followers. This feature of Marxism should be disturbing to Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who said that she and her fellow organizers are “trained Marxists.” I wonder whether she shares Marx’s views on race. Marx’s son-in-law, Paul Lafargue, was viewed as having Negro blood in his veins. Marx denigrated him as “Negillo” and “The Gorilla.”
Marx had similar hate for Jews. He referred to his fellow socialist labor organizer Ferdinand Lassalle as a “greasy Jew,” “the little kike,” “water polack jew,” and “Jewish n—-r.” In 1844, Marx wrote an essay titled “The Jewish Question” in which he asks, “What is the worldly cult of the Jew?” His answer: “Haggling. What is his worldly god? Money.”

Holocaust deniers …

… Nearly two-thirds of US young adults unaware 6m Jews killed in the Holocaust | World news | The Guardian.

I guess these are the same ignoramuses who protest “mostly peacefully” in support of their “progressive”  views while claiming to be “anti-fascist.”

Q&A …

… Worlds of Wonder: In Conversation with Marly Youmans on her New Novel  Kenyon Review Blog. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

If I were to make a novel in which, say, a current English professor at Sarah Lawrence or Oberlin or some other elite private college proceeded to recount Charis’s story, I could hardly avoid writing about “racial supremacists dispossessing indigenous people.” But she is not of our time. Charis has complicated feelings about the colony and the tribes with their various alliances, but I don’t wish to write a book with characters who wear old-fashioned dress but reveal new-fashioned minds. Where is the truth in such stories? Instead, I aim to leap into the place, the time, and the mental world of my characters. To fail to do so is to fail the craft we practice.

Word of the Day …

… Astrolatry | Word Genius.

Is it worthwhile?

… Fame - Joseph Epstein, Commentary Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I am not often recognized and have never come close to being hounded. I am mildly pleased on the rare occasions when I am. The other day in my local Whole Foods, a woman in the checkout line in front of me said, “I know who you are,” though nothing more. When I am recognized, I often respond by saying, “Damn, I guess this disguise didn’t work.”


Like the English comedian Spike Milligan, I would like to have had the chance to prove that great wealth would not corrupt me. But fame? I pretty much don't see its appeal. I also don’t find today’s celebrities very interesting. Cary Grant seemed interesting. Leonardo DiCaprio? Not so much.

And the winners are …

… Winning poems for 2020 August : IBPC.



The Judge’s Page.



(Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Something to think on …

Civilized people can talk about anything. For them no subject is taboo.... In civilized societies there will be no intellectual bogeys at sight of which great grownup babies are expected to hide their eyes.
— Clive Bell, born on this date in 1881

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

A dubious figure …

… which is not to say uninteresting: Paul Davis On Crime: Richard Sorge And Agent Sonya: A Legendary Spy's Unusual Recruitment In 1930S Shanghai.

The Word of the Day …

 … Chambray | Word Genius.

Pen and trowel …

… Garden Writing is About More than Plants | by Eric Scheske | Books Are Our Superpower | Sep, 2020 | Medium. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

“Many traditional gardening tasks are unnecessary interventions that are both laborious and counterproductive. .. . We should dare to not do on part of the planting. This requires objectivity and humility.” Carol Deppe
What might those tasks be?

Strange bedfellows …

… Musings and Reviews: In the name of the father: Washington’s legacy.

Q&A …

… Jay Parini’s “Borges and Me”: Beyond Just a Memoir – The Middlebury Campus. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

 In many ways, I tried to make this tour of three or four days a tour through the major stories of Borges. So, when they stop at the [Carnegie] library, I’m kind of referencing the “Library of Babel,” one of Borges’ main stories. When Borges falls, hits his head and goes into the hospital, he himself alludes to an accident that had happened to him in 1938, which led to the writing of his famous story “Funes The Memorious.” I keep referencing the great essay “Pierre Manard, Author of the Quixote,” because I believe I got from Borges the idea that we’re all just rewriting literature. So I’m rewriting Borges’ story by writing my story.

But is THE science really science?

… Coronavirus Update XXXI: THE Science Cannot Be Questioned, Denier! – William M. Briggs. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Science is about evidence.
Here is my review of  Tycho and Kepler.

Something to think on …

Most of the arguments to which I am party fall somewhat short of being impressive, owing to the fact that neither I nor my opponent knows what we are talking about.
— Robert Benchley, born on this date in 1889

Good …

… Pennsylvania: Judge Rules Wolf, Levine's Shutdown Orders Unconstitutional. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Wolf is responsible for the deaths of thousands he ordered sent to nursing home. He is despicable.

Dealing with scolds …

… Anecdotal Evidence: 'The Disapproval of the Dietarily Correct'. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



Asparagine, a nutrient found in meat, eggs, and dairy products, is essential for healthy brain development. Red meat is rich in vitamin B-12, which is not found in most vegetables and cannot be produced by the body. Doesn’t mean you should live on Big Macs, but an occasional helping of  boeuf bourguignon is good for you.

Monday, September 14, 2020

September Poetry at North of Oxford …

… Bad Things Happened by Holly Day.

… Hollywood Rain by Scott Laudati.

… The Cave by Rustin Larson.

… Supermarket by Lou Gallo.

… New From The Poetry Editor.

Q&A …

… Paul Davis On Crime: My Q&A With Former Police Chief Mike Chitwood.

I couldn’t agree more …

… Mike Ditka to Newsmax TV: Protesting at NFL Games 'Makes No Sense to Me' | Newsmax.com.

"If you can't respect this country, get the hell out of it," Ditka said …
God knows, they can certainly afford to live elsewhere, and why live someplace that you loathe?

Word of the Day …

… Haven | Word Genius.

Sadness and laughter …

… Musings and Reviews: Serving Up Fish and Kudzu with Grace.

Just so you know …

Volcanic ash may have a bigger impact on the climate than we thought.

In case you wondered

 PJ O'Rourke: This is why millennials adore socialism. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)



How times change. My first job upon leaving college — which I started just days after leaving college —  paid $200 a week. Adjusted for inflation, that’s $1,676.89. Not bad.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Self-reliance and it complications …

… Musings and Reviews: Learning to love those universal terrors of the heart.

Facing the truth …

… Bookings to Utopia by Peter Hitchens | Articles | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Now you may be in the intelligentsia, and be rude about Stalin, as well as rude about the U.S.A. and the British Empire. Anti-Stalinism has become not just respectable on the left but almost obligatory. Mainstream publishing houses that once would have regarded anti-­Soviet books as close to fascism fall over themselves to publish volumes about how evil Stalin was. The Gulag is admitted to have been really quite bad. Even Western novelists, such as the modish Martin Amis (Koba the Dread and The House of Meetings) and the intelligent thriller-writer Robert ­Harris (Archangel), have joined in. This sort of thing will never rival the vast literary and historical industry devoted to Nazi Germany, but beyond doubt something has changed. One man who deserves a great deal of the credit for this transformation is Vasily Grossman (1905–1964). He has become the left-wing Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a bridge across which former sympathizers of Soviet power have travelled to a renewed and cleansed version of their utopian faith. Leftists hated the conservatism and Christianity of the author of The Gulag Archipelago. They did not want to have their dreams trodden on by such a person. So, they hated what he said, even though it was true, because he was the one saying it. But now, almost all thinking radicals have finally rejected the Soviet experiment, or think they have. The generation of 1968 is convinced that its version of utopianism has no risks.

Here is my review of Martin Amis's Koba the Dread. And here is my review of  House of Meetings.

Seeing all the way to here …

… Chekhov’s 2020 vision by Kyle Smith | The New Criterion. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A condition of widespread contempt for one’s own way of living is a sign of a weak, defenseless, decadent culture. Today’s Yashas pick up a copy of TheNew York Times that spreads the claim that America always was, and is today, defined by racism, and think, “Bravissimo, it’s about time someone stood up and told the truth about how immoral we are. What time is our dinner reservation?” Cultural elites cheer as the symbols of our heritage are torn off their pedestals and introduced to the bottom of the nearest river. A brief video, much shared this summer of unrest, showed a young white fellow in an apartment filming himself giving a thumbs up sign to a passing mob, only to be rewarded by having a brick thrown through his window: “Holy shit, we’re on your side,” someone in the apartment calls out, as a second projectile breaks another window. Pure Chekhov, that.

Judging the past …

… On Reading Badly | Stand Firm. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… it is very bad to go back and read modern virtues into the past, holding the long-dead accountable for sins they didn’t imagine to be sins. Though, I would say, doing that is what we do. We always judge the past, just as we will be judged, and it’s one reason literature goes out of fashion, and notes have to be made at the end of the page, and children have to learn how to read books and walk the delicate line between empathy and judgement. But it is also very bad, if not worse, to not see the nuance in a book for what it is, to assume some sin, where a more careful reading would show there is not, in fact, sin. It is as bad as doing it to a real live person—assuming that the person is saying or meaning something they are not saying or meaning, because they haven’t used the correct terminology of the day, or don’t see all the contours of acceptable tastes of the moment.

Hmm …

… Christopher Rufo, Hero | The American Conservative. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Man and mystery …

… Zealotry of Guerin: The Monk by the Sea (Caspar David Friedrich), Sonnet #529.

Hard truths …

… Musings and Reviews: “Wisdom through the awful grace of God”.

Word of the Day …

… Gonzo | Word Genius.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Hear, hear …

… The Coin of the Academic World – A Sunday of Liberty. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Everything about this annoys me. It annoys me that ‘intellectuals’ are so goddamned predictable. Here we have an intellectual idiot like deBoer, the sort of man who has spent his entire adult life in academia — and it shows — holding to puerile fantasies about communism that no small business owner could entertain for a minute. Here we have Sullivan thoughtfully stroking his chin and furrowing his brow as he insults his readers’ intelligence by pretending that this sort of academic gibberish is worth taking seriously and praising. Taxing the ultra-wealthy alone, even if it were politically feasible, which it isn’t, still wouldn’t cover the cost of these hallucinogenic social-democratic visions. There is even less appetite for taxing the middle class to the extent required to approach some Scandinavian welfare-state fantasy. So! Are we done here, then? Why are we even talking about this? Is there no such thing as natural selection in the hermetically-sealed intellectual environment? Is there no such thing as an idea too stupid to live? Do they just go on breeding indefinitely, producing ever-more mutant offspring, safe from predators in their academic zoo?
See today’s Something to think on … post. It really is time to subject the universities to the relentless ridicule they increasingly so richly deserve.

The university clown show …

… Chinese alumni compare USC to Mao for removing professor over Chinese word that sounds like n-word | The College Fix.



UCLA’s Volokh criticized USC leaders for failing to teach students that “they should not be upset by such accidents of language,” and for implying that “Chinese speakers should watch what they say, not just in examples but in ordinary conversation that could be overheard.”
Forcing faculty to avoid certain Mandarin words would be “oddly Anglocentric” and offensive to Mandarin speakers, Volokh wrote in a sample letter that he said Garrett should have written.

Something to think on …

It is the classic fallacy of our time that a moron run through a university and decorated with a Ph.D. will thereby cease to be a moron.
— H. L. Mencken, born on this date in 1880

Safe and sound …

… Universal Horror by Boris Dralyuk | Articles | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A prayer for us all …

… Dark Mercy by Cynthia Erlandson | Articles | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Friday, September 11, 2020

Changing of the guard …

… Kwame Dawes named successor for national "American Life in Poetry" column | KHGI. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

In case you wondered …

… Poem of the week: How Poems Arrive by Anne Stevenson | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

The man and the controversy …

… Anders Tegnell and the Swedish Covid experiment | Free to read. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Our meeting comes as things appear to be going his way. As coronavirus cases rise in pretty much all other European countries, leading to fears of a second wave including in the UK, they have been sinking all summer in Sweden. On a per capita basis, they are now 90 per cent below their peak in late June and under Norway’s and Denmark’s for the first time in five months. Tegnell had told me the first time we spoke in the spring that it would be in the autumn when it became more apparent how successful each country had been.

Historical moment, fictional imagination …

… Musings and Reviews: An elegy for 9/11 and lost innocence.



I was at home, recovering from an operation that day. I had come downstairs, made some coffee and turned on the TV to watch the news. I called up to Debbie and said, "You may want to come down and see this. I think it's going to be a very big news day." I am given to understatment.

Word of the day …

… Organza | Word Genius.

Something to think on …

Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools. And their grandchildren are once more slaves.
— D. H. Lawrence, born on this date in 1885

Frightening …

… The Burning – Idlings. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In defense of ignorance …

 ‘Dismantling anti-black linguistic racism in Shakespeare’ guide earns support from academia | The College Fix.

“The language that may be accessible to you isn’t necessarily accessible to everybody else, and … your community isn’t the one that might be harmed by it.”
No language is accessible to you until you learn it. Learning things that you don’t already know is called education.

 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Read and watch …

… The Clearest and Best Video Explanation of the Virus, the Lockdowns, and the Impact – AIER. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Just so you nbow …

… America’s 1984: Welcome to the Hate – AIER.



A cell does not reflect or judge. This is why the Hate escalates. And because our culture, like Orwell’s 1984, is bent on rewriting or canceling history, we are losing the sources that would enable us to fight this trend morally as well as politically. 

Hmm …

… Unconscious learning fosters belief in God, study finds - UPI.com.
When I was maybe 15, on one of the long solitary hikes I was wont to take the, I had an experience of what Wordsworth recounts in “ Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey”:
… a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. 

The experience has guided my being ever since.

Angling among life’s choices …

… Musings and Reviews: Not just another fish story on the Gulf coast of Texas.

Good for him …

… Nick Sandmann fires back at ACLU official who decried his college admission, shreds cancel culture - TheBlaze.

Fre speech means free speech even for those who disagree, Apparently, a good number of people these days have a hard time grasping.

Word of the Day …

… Microclimate | Word Genius.

Mrs. Peel passes …

… Acting legend Dame Diana Rigg dies aged 82 | Daily Mail Online.

Other September birthday poets and poems …

… Horace, Ode XI. Lib. I, by Robert Fergusson, b. September5, 1750.

… A Crowded Trolley Car, by Elinor Wylie, b. September 7, 1885.

… The Heart of a Woman, by Georgia Douglas Johnson, b. September 10, 1880.

(Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Hmm …

… Terrorism by Arson | Wirkman Comment. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

RIP …

 Kool & the Gang co-founder Ronald 'Khalis' Bell dies at 68 | Daily Mail Online.

Word of the day …

… Confabulate | Word Genius.

Something to think on …

Religion is the everlasting dialogue between humanity and God. Art is its soliloquy.
— Franz Werfel, born on this date in 1890

RIP …

… Ronald Harwood (1934-2020) | The Evelyn Waugh Society. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Learning how to perform …

… A Second Chance | by Janet Malcolm | The New York Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The second and most crucial part of the second-chance work was to make me faster on my feet under cross-examination, in fulfillment of the fantasy of saying what I should have said in the first trial instead of what I did say. Bostwick assumed that Morgan would repeat the questions that had served him so well, and he and I devised answers to them that brought l’esprit de l’escalier to a new level. At trial, Morgan did not disappoint us. He confidently asked the old questions and didn’t know what hit him when I produced my nimble new formulations. I remember one of the most satisfying moments. At the first trial Morgan had repeatedly tortured and humiliated me with the question: “He didn’t say that at Chez Panisse, did he?” I had wiggled and squirmed. Now I could answer him with crushing confidence.

Nature …

… Beside the Waterfall by Mary Oliver | Poetry Magazine. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Mary Oliver was born on September 10, 1935. Here is my review of Owls and Other Fantasies.

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

A worthwhile reminder …

… Instapundit — SEEN ON FACEBOOK: (Yeah, I put it there. Come at me…)

Something to think on …

Surely there comes a time when counting the cost and paying the price aren't things to think about any more. All that matters is value — the ultimate value of what one does.
— James Hilton, born on this date in 1900

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Heroes …

… Paul Davis On Crime: See 12 Stunning Portraits Of World War II Veterans.

Word of the day …

… Helicoid | Word Genius.

The need for church …

… The Other Mary | Anne Kennedy. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.j

So anyway, I got the book, I opened it up, I was so excited, I read the first few paragraphs, and then I sat back and wept and continued to weep for the next many many weeks. Because this book is about how you—You, whoever you are—should go to church. And that was the very thing I desired to do.

Hemingway on screen …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Liev Schreiber To Lead Hemingway Adaptation ‘Across The River And Into The Trees’, Film To Shoot In Venice Next Month.

A different sort of literary memory …

… Musings and Reviews: When memory becomes the only intoxicant left in life.

Proust as radio drama …

In search of ‘English Proust’ | Christopher Prendergast | Standpoint. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The elephant in the room is of course that artistically difficult and complicated beast: the Narrator who is also a character evolving in the time of the narrative. The character “Marcel” (a naming that opens a whole can of worms) is divided between two actors, the boy Marcel and the older narrator. The former is unfortunately all too often stamped with (ha!) a Brideshead inflection; the childhood world of Combray is a cosseted one, but the boy didn’t attend Eton. The latter falls to one of our greatest living actors, Derek Jacobi, who brings his hugely versatile gifts to bear on two key dimensions of the narrating voice: rhythm and register. The key challenge is Proust’s notoriously elaborate syntax. Jacobi provides a master class in how to navigate these hypotactic structures.
I’ve not read Proust and the brevity of life suggests I may never. But I suppose listening to a radio adaptation would be worth a try. But will we be able to hear it on these shores?

The lowdown …

… Inside an Elite Cancel Culture Session, Where Leftists Met the Enemy and It Was ... One of Them | RealClearInvestigations.

The funny thing about the affair, but also telling, is that the 66-year-old Romano has for his long professional life been a quintessential liberal intellectual. He's critic-at-large for the Chronicle of Higher Education and teaches at the University of Pennsylvania. He was book critic at the Philadelphia Inquirer for 28 years and wrote “America the Philosophical,” a maverick interpretation of American thought noted for its breadth and inclusiveness – the Wall Street Journal called it “a roll call for identity politics.”
Carlin was still The Inquirer’s book critic when I was the paper’s book editor. He is not remotely racist and anyone suggesting otherwise would seem to lack the faculties necessary to be a member of an organization of book critics — You know, things like  skill in gathering and evaluating evidence, logical thinking, etc. The more of his accusers who resign the better off the NBCC will be.

Something to think on …

In actual life, every great enterprise begins with and takes its first forward step in faith.
— August Wilhelm Schlegel, born on this date in 1767

Monday, September 07, 2020

Pushing back …

… Washington Post Acknowledges They Misquoted Me, Buries Correction – OutKick.



The paper’s owner certainly has enough money to hire good journalists. I wonder why he doesn’t.

Word of the day …

… Cartomancy | Word Genius.

Lovely indeed …

 The Mysterious Beauty of Robert Frost's New England | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Poetry in a time of war …

… Robert Chandler - Comrade, Shed No Tears | Literary Review | Issue 489. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A vast amount of poetry was published in the Soviet Union during the war in journals, books and mass-circulation army and civilian newspapers. Poems were broadcast on the radio and quoted in speeches by frontline political commissars – and not all of these poems were mere propaganda. Some were both good and genuinely popular.

The art of cimbing and the art of life …

… The Mountain and the Meaning of Life: René Daumal’s Alpine Allegory of Courage and the Measure of Wisdom – Brain Pickings. (Hat tip, Virginia Kerr.)

There is an art to finding your way in the lower regions by the memory of what you have seen when you were higher up. When you can no longer see, you can at least still know.

Hmm …

… What Will Not Recover: Government – AIER.

In 2006, the great epidemiologist Donald Henderson warnedthat if government pursued coercive measures to control a virus, the result would be a “loss of confidence in government to manage the crisis.” The reason is that the measures do not work. Further, the attempt to make them work turns a manageable crisis into a catastrophe. 
Prophetic. 
Of course, Henderson was just the guy who directed the 10-year international effort that eradicated smallpox.

Garden magic …

… Lucy Ashe: a poem. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Hop aboard …

… 'The Socrates Express' takes readers on a ride through applied philosophy | MPR News. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

“The Socrates Express” defies classification. Yes, it is a book about philosophy, but it's also a book about being human, travelling, learning and — sometimes — coffee. Weiner, a former reporter for NPR and author of “The Geography of Bliss,” takes readers with him on a journey to understand the teachings of philosophers like Marcus Aurelius, Henry David Thoreau, Simone Weil, Confucius, Simone de Beauvoir, and Socrates. Along the way, he explores his relationship to their work, shows us how their ideas can help us improve our lives, and manages to sneak in a biography of each.

Gathering intelligence …

… Musings and Reviews: Leaving no stone unturned in the American Revolution.

Something to think on …

It is part of the poet's work to show each man what he sees but does not know he sees.
— Edith Sitwell, born on this date in 1887

Sunday, September 06, 2020

Word of the day …

… Apiary | Word Genius.

How prophetic …

(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Cautionary tale …

… Timothy W Ryback - Bonfires of Reason | Literary Review | Issue 489. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Perhaps Ovenden’s finest achievement in Burning the Books is to demonstrate the importance and enduring power of preserved knowledge, whether in clay tablets, papyrus scrolls, bound codices, printed books or digital bytes. ‘Rulers wanted to have information that would help them to decide the optimal time to go to war, plant a crop, harvest a crop, and so on,’ Ovenden writes of the cuneiform tablets of ancient Mesopotamia. ‘Today, the future continues to be dependent on access to the knowledge of the past and will be even more so as digital technology changes the way we can predict what will happen.’

The essentials …

… The One and Only: Andrew Louth on a New History of the Orthodox Church - Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

 As a form of Christianity, “Eastern Orthodoxy” is both familiar and unfamiliar, not because it is an exotic Christianity, but rather the reverse: it is a form of Christianity not ashamed of its history and of the way it must still carry with it a lot of baggage from its long past. In the modern Western world, marked by forgetfulness of the past, the Orthodox Church must seem a bit like Borges’s Funes the Memorious, the one who cannot forget anything.

Little big man …

… Musings and Reviews: This singular 4’11” Scottish giant wore many hats well.

IN grade school and high school, I spent many a happy day in the Holmesburg library, one of the many Carnegie built.

Blogging note …

I have to take Debbie for a Covid-19 test, in preparation for a procedure on Wednesday. Blogging will resume later.

Sad anniversary …

… Musings and Reviews: End of the beginning, and beginning of the end.

The power of nature …

… Zealotry of Guerin: Lake Storm, Sonnet #528.

Something to think on …

Within ourselves is not very far and yet it is so far that one's whole life is not always long enough to get there.
— Julien Green, born on this date in 1900

Saturday, September 05, 2020

Word of the day …

… Endogenous | Word Genius.

Hard truths …

… Religion Book Review: Subversive: Christ, Culture, and the Shocking Dorothy L. Sayers by Crystal Downing. Broadleaf, $24.99 (200p) ISBN 978-1-5064-6275-2. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The man behind the mask …

… Musings and Reviews: On being intolerant of all the yahoos in this world.

I guess so …

… The Problem With Facebook and Shared Social Media ‘Spaces’ | The American Spectator. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I don’t have a Facebook account and have no intention of getting one. I do have a Twitter account. But I never use it. I just don’t have time for that sort of thing. Email is time-consuming enough. But at least it has a purpose beyond just shooting off one’s mouth. 

Something to think on …

The evils of mankind are caused, not by the primary aggressiveness of individuals, but by their self-transcending identification with groups whose common denominator is low intelligence and high emotionality.
— Arthur Koestler, born on this date in 1905

Odd couple …

… Orwell in the Waugh-zone – The Orwell Society. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

As David Lebedoff (2008) stresses, Orwell and Waugh can appear polar opposites: Orwell the dedicated socialist and anti-Catholic who was prepared to live with tramps in order to expiate his guilt of having worked for the ‘racket’ of the British Empire as an Imperial Policeman in Burma (1922-1927) and who always hated bullying. Waugh, in contrast, the bully, the Catholic and dedicated social climber. Yet both came to see the 20th century in a similar way – imperilled by ideologues, lies, cultural decadence and assaults on tradition. Orwell, the atheist, deplored the decline of religious faith as much as Waugh the Catholic convert.

Friday, September 04, 2020

Medieval crime …

… Musings and Reviews: 15th century nun navigates a deadly London labyrinth.

Word of the day …

… Beadle | Word Genius.

Pushing back …

… Black Pastors Demand Nike Drop Marxist Black Lives Matter.

“We the leaders of Conservative Clergy of Color have watched with sadness and frustration as the country we love has been torn apart by violence and looting,” the letter begins. “This civil terror, perpetrated and lead by the Black Lives Matter movement, has turned American against American and possibly set race relations back decades.”
“Black Lives Matter, a movement run by anti-Christian, self-proclaimed Marxists, hijacked legitimate calls for police reform and turned it to their own ends,” the letter explains. “This is not a group interested in constructive change; through their vicious campaign to defund police and silence anyone who disagrees with them, they have destroyed livelihoods and gotten innocent children killed. It is antithetical to the nonviolence that Dr. King and the Civil Rights movement stood for.”

Where we stand …

… COVID – why terminology really, really matters | Dr. Malcolm Kendrick. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

On the 28th February, yes that far back, the New England Journal of Medicine published a report by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD (A.S.F., H.C.L.); and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta. 
In this paper ‘Covid-19 — Navigating the Uncharted’ they stated the following:
‘On the basis of a case definition requiring a diagnosis of pneumonia, the currently reported case fatality rate is approximately 2%. In another article in the Journal, Guan et al. report mortality of 1.4% among 1099 patients with laboratory-confirmed Covid-19; these patients had a wide spectrum of disease severity. If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate (my underline) may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza.’ 
Which appears to be where we are headed.

Plus ça change …

… First Known When Lost: Heraclitus in Japan.

Asukagawa means "Asuka River." However, McCullough translates it as: "the River of Tomorrow."  She provides this explanation:  "The first part of the river name Asuka is homophonous with asu ('tomorrow').  This famous poem made the Asuka and its vagrant channel a symbol of change."  (Ibid, page 205.)
"The River of Tomorrow" is quite lovely, isn't it? 

Something to think on …

There is no religion without mysteries. God Himself is the great secret of Nature.
— François-René de Chateaubriand, born on this date in 1768

Family secrets …

… C. S. Lewis and His Stepsons | Jonathon Van Maren | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

David died several years ago in a secure Swiss mental hospital, and Douglas has finally broken his silence about a hitherto unknown aspect of life at The Kilns. His earliest memories, he told me, were of his brother, who was later diagnosed as schizophrenic. “When I was a small child,” Douglas said, “he was continually trying to get rid of me. This went on into our teen years.” Douglas said he recalls “running like crazy or defending myself from my rather insane brother. . . I would never have said anything to harm him or upset him while he was alive, because oddly enough I still loved him as a brother. In fact, I wept when he died.”

Hmm …

… White US professor admits she has pretended to be Black for years | Race | The Guardian.

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Mary Oliver


There was something, well, something poetic about my first encounter with Mary Oliver. Today, as the fog cleared, and as the afternoon sun appeared, I found myself with a pile of books from the public library. One of those was Oliver's Blue Horses, a collection of her later poems.  

There was something poetic because Oliver -- in a quiet, tempered way -- celebrates the beauty around us, and reminders us to savor those small moments of wonder. Blue Horses is a collection with a purpose: to embrace what's given, to seek clarity in nature's splendor.

All of which is not to say that I'd consider Blue Horses a success. In my reading, Oliver's poems are almost too informal. There's not enough holding them together, not enough grounding them. And perhaps that levity is another of Oliver's objectives: to keep things light, even when they are solemn. But for me, these poems often felt unfinished, as if Oliver had penned them without revisiting them. In that sense, they're vignettes, reflections on the rote and routine. 

Despite the critique, I was happy to experience Oliver's writing as I did: at random, on a beautiful day, during an extended moment of silence. There was something about that, I think, which she not only would have appreciated, but indeed, would have celebrated.

Dutiful son …

 A famous misanthrope shows his heartwarming side - Daphne Merkin - Bookforum Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Was Eva really his “muse,” as James Booth suggests in his introduction, grounding him in the material of the mundane and the ordinary, the better that he might transform and set wing to it? “She is a muse,” Booth argues, “in the time-honored sense of being beyond the poet’s reach. Poetry is made of her, but she herself is unconscious of it.” This is certainly worth considering, especially given the fact that Larkin finished “Aubade,” his great poem about the pitiless, ungraspable inevitability of our own mortality—“Not to be here, / Not to be anywhere, / And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true”—just days after Eva died on November 17, 1977, and wrote very little after it. 

Blogging note …

I have to head into town to do some shopping. Blogging will resume sometime ;ater.

Word of the day …

… Beadle | Word Genius.

In case you wondered …

… Why the Words of Baptism Matter | Matthew Hood | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A man of letters indeed …

… Musings and Reviews: Revealing a side of the man not previously known.

One smart fellow …

… Gottfried Leibniz: the last universal genius | OUPblog. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Leibniz was a monumental mathematician who changed the field of mathematics when he invented the first, early calculating machine. He also created the modern-day mathematical notation for the differential and integral calculus, and invented binary code which he explained in his 1703 essay, “Explanation of the Binary Arithmetic.” This two-point number system is used to write computer programmes and data processors, meaning that Leibniz’s invention was pivotal to how we live now, over 300 years later.

As I recall, one of his key questions was why is there something rather than nothing.

Have a look …

… Top Shots: The Week's Most Compelling Photojournalism. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Prescient …

… The Advertiser by Eugene Field - Poems | Academy of American Poets. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)



Eugene Field was born on Sept. 2, 1850.

Something to think on …

It is a commonplace of all religious thought, even the most primitive, that the man seeking visions and insight must go apart from his fellows and love for a time in the wilderness.
— Loren Eiseley, born on this date in 1907

A reminder …

Charlie Hebdo Reprints Controversial Cartoons of Prophet Mohammad. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Still thinking after all these years …

… His Mind Forever Voyaging - NOEMA. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

“He is,” said the philosopher John Gray in one of the opening speeches, “one of the great thinkers of our time … a genius of a kind one would be lucky to meet in several lifetimes.”
Gray then gave everybody a route map into Lovelock’s mind. He said he relies “on a kind of mosaic thinking, in which a pattern of ideas surfaces in the mind and shows the way forward.” Mosaic thinking is the reason his ideas often sound, at first, confusing or just strange. He thinks like few other people. And the way he thinks cannot be separated from what he thinks.