Thursday, April 09, 2020

A saint to remember …

… Lessons from History on the Coronavirus Pandemic – Catholic World Report.

The ultimate admonishment was a call for the heroism of holiness: “Do not be so forgetful of your priesthood as to prefer a late death to a holy one.” With such a holy and heroic leader, the priests began to rally to his side and to the sides of the thousands of sick and dying Milanese. The secular priests were the first to rally but the Capuchins were perhaps the most heroic, devoting themselves to working with the afflicted souls in the leperhouse. Astonishingly, none of the Archbishop’s companions caught the plague and the only religious house stricken with it was one which held aloof, in spite of the Archbishop’s pleas, refusing to help. As for Charles’ own heroism, we have the testimony of a Capuchin, Brother James:
 He often goes to the lazar house [i.e. leperhouse] to console the sick … into huts and private houses to speak to the sick and comfort them, as well as providing for all their needs. He fears nothing. It is useless to try and frighten him. It is true that he exposes himself much to danger but as so far he has been preserved by the special grace of God, he says he cannot do otherwise. Indeed the city has no other help and consolation.


The seminary of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is named after him. Someone should remind the current Archbishop.

Time for a chuckle …

… Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Humor: Margaret's Report Card.

Hmm …

… Beyond Eastrod : The ontological paradox: life improved by death.

Something to think on …

A man's style should be like his dress. It should be as unobtrusive and should attract as little attention as possible.
— C. E. M. Joad, who died on this date in 1953

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Haiku …



Twilight in April.
Spring’s asserting itself now.
Why does the heart ache?

Hmm …

… Bible publishers reporting jump in sales amid coronavirus fears - The Christian Post. (Hat tip, Tim Davis.)

What an ass …

… Pope Says Virus Is Nature's Response to the Climate Crisis | News and Politics.

I wish he and others in the hierarchy had as much faith in the faith they profess as they have in fashionable opinion. 

Elizabeth Bowen


I've just finished The Death of the Heart -- and frankly, I'm not sure what to say. This is a celebrated novel of the interwar period, and Bowen is herself regarded as one of the lasting stylists of the twentieth century.

Part of the challenge, for me, is exactly that: Bowen's style. I found Death to be a real challenge to read: Bowen's syntax is complex, meandering. It's not Victorian in its density, but it's not far from it. And there's the matter of her characters, too: again, for me, the drama depicted in Death unravels in a fashion that's so painfully bourgeois. None of these characters -- neither men nor women -- appear likable: even Portia Quayne, whose awakening serves as the foundation for the novel, appears needy and naive. If is she mistreated by family and friends, that mistreatment failed to generate a sense of sympathy or emotion. Indeed, I was not sure whether this amounted to mistreatment at all -- or whether was, instead, the normal course of life. 

Ultimately, the question, I think, is whether young people -- around sixteen, say -- can experience a 'death of the heart.' Bowen seems to think this is possible, but I, again, have my doubts: certainly, they can experience profound emotions (and I would not seek to minimize or demean that). But to commit a novel of this length to what amounts to one or two moments of disappointment or confusion is trying. In the end, I found myself rooting for no one in particular: I simply wanted all of the thinking to end, and a more sensible version of life to emerge. 

Thinking for herself …

… and saying as much: Jan Morris, at 93, meditates on what it means to be old | The Spectator. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

‘I am well past my sell-by date,’ she claims with a wink. But then, ‘humanity is hardening’, she adds, as she rages against ‘these cyber-days’ and the ‘disadvantages’ of old age. ‘Never get old!’ If old age was once a bit of a joke, ‘grist to a writer’s mill’, it is also a very serious business indeed. Elizabeth has developed dementia, and Morris recounts with blistering honesty her own clumsy reactions to dementia’s challenges. Often she is irritated, then remorseful. She may be urbane, droll and commendably cheerful, but she is human.

Poet as sage and teacher …

… The Letters of Robert Frost: Volume Two review - The TLS. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The best discovery of the workshop format he devised was his idea of getting beyond mere grading and marking. This mechanical part he believed should be left to a corps of grammar policemen, always on hand and decently paid to make local comments and corrections. But conversation of a special kind was what the rarer talents deserved. “The experienced older painter allows inexperienced younger painters to set up their easels alongside of his for what they can get out of his example, stimulation, and shop-talk” – so too with the experienced writer. 

Listen in …

 COVID Check-In with Henry Wessells – The Virtual Memories Show.

“One of the great lines from AJ Liebling, which I wish I had known when I was 25, is, ‘Often alone, but seldom lonely.'”

Something to think on …

We would be in a nasty position indeed if empirical science were the only kind of science possible.
— Edmund Husserl, born on this date in 1859

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

RIP …

… Americana Legend John Prine Dies at Age 73 Due to Coronavirus | Billboard.

Lady Day

Billie Holiday was born on this date in 1915. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Pulling no punches …

… Time to put China on lockdown for its dishonesty amid coronavirus crisis.

But wherever the virus came from, China’s response was inept, dishonest and utterly inconsiderate of the rest of the world. A competent, honest response would have placed the world on notice much earlier. A China that cared about the rest of the world would have halted flights abroad while this disease was spreading, instead of allowing its citizens to spread willy-nilly around the globe.

And that's some splendor …

… Beyond Eastrod : Ontological Splendor: Flannery OConnor in the Protestant South.

In case you wondered …

… How to Read Moby-Dick While Quarantined - InsideHook. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



I just read it through, in college, as assigned, and thought it was great. Wish I'd thought of the scotch, though.

Very interesting …

 Justice, finally. – Catholic World Report.

 As a citizen of Vatican City, Cardinal Pell did not have abandon his work in Rome to return to Australia for trial. The thought of appealing to his diplomatic immunity never occurred to him, though. For he was determined to defend his honor and that of the Australian Church, which he had led in addressing the crimes and sins of sexual abuse (and in many other ways) for years. George Pell placed his bet on the essential fairness of his countrymen. The High Court’s decision has vindicated that wager, finally. The reception of the court’s decision will tell a lot about whether the Australian media and the Australian people have learned anything from all of this.

Our vital star …

… Beyond Eastrod : I have thoughts that are fed by the sun ...

Something to think on …

The education of circumstances is superior to that of tuition.
— William Wordsworth, born on this date in 1770

He was on to something …

… The World Is Too Much With Us by William Wordsworth| Poetry Foundation. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)


Monday, April 06, 2020

Haiku …



Cloudless pale blue sky.
Men and women wearing masks.
He wishes them well.

Death, where is thy sting?

… Celebrating a life | About Last Night. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A good point …

 Some Much-Needed Coronavirus Perspective – Issues & Insights.

RIP …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Honor Blackman, Who Portrayed James Bond's Pussy Galore in 'Goldfinger,' Dies At 94.

Do as you're told …

… Everyone Jumps Off Bridge After New Government Order Telling Everyone To Jump Off Bridge | The Babylon Bee.

Checking out reality …

… If you imagine that a local business making surgical face masks is working 24/7, guess again.

The story of Bowen’s unhappiness is a cautionary tale about what can happen if Americans searching for cheaper prices send entire industries offshore to countries like Mexico and China.
Everything Bowen has warned about has come true. He warned that allowing another country to serve as our main supplier of personal protection equipment has the potential to become a national security nightmare.

A bee and dreams …

… Beyond Eastrod : Dickinson surfaces and seduces me.

Here's a song to go with this:

The song for these days …

Worth noting …

… Coronavirus outbreak in the US is predicted to peak in 10 days | Daily Mail Online.

The estimated peak day of the US outbreak is expected to occur in 10 days on April 16 with a projected 3,130 deaths that day, the data shows. 


I'll be checking this site to see how this prophecy plays out.

Something to think on …

You must accept the truth from whatever source it comes.
— Maimonides, born on this date in 1135

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Well, well …

… COVID-19 Mortality Statistics | IP4PI – Independent Physicians for Patient independence. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Like essentially every American with a pulse, I have spent countless hours over the past weeks listening to both politicians and “experts” reporting the “data” and “statistics” on COVID19. Most people now appreciate that testing has been spotty at best and fraught with false negatives, and that therefore, we have likely woefully under-estimate the true number of cases of the virus.
That said, one of the numbers most frequently reported (daily) — and the one piece of data most commonly cited as a veritable certainty — is the number of deaths from COVID. Well here’s the sobering reality: The numbers being reported by the CDC are wrong. In fact, they are very, very wrong …

Yes!

Have a listen …

… Replay: Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring | About Last Night.

See also: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1246474394106560520.html. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Music — and more — for the lockdown …

… A Conductor Offers a Sublime Online Show During Covid-19 Quarantine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Anniversary …

… Beyond Eastrod : 1992 April 05 Abortion advocates march on Washington.

Blind of mind …

… ‘I have no mind’s eye’: what is it like being an author with aphantasia? | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Decades ago, my wife began visualisation for meditation. I couldn’t do it. Not only could I not see an imaginary orange, I couldn’t see a circle or the colour orange. But I understood visualisation to be a special skill that you worked on. Rather like juggling. And I was sure that with practice I could accomplish either one of those.
Then a year ago, I read an article online about aphantasia and all at once I understood that pretty much everyone visualised their thoughts all the time!

Something to think on …

Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.
— Booker T. Washington, born on this date in 1856

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Hmm …

 the post-truth thought leaders at work – Snakes and Ladders.



Well, as I have said elsewhere, if life comes down to nothing more than not being dead, then it really doesn't amount to much. And, as a Christian, Jacobs surely believes that there are some things more important than life. I presume he has heard of martyrdom. Perhaps he is secretly in love with despotism.

Influences …

… Richard Bissell - Major Influence on Elmore.

More here: Remembering Dubuque’s Shakespeare, Richard Bissell - He Had a Great Influence on Elmore.

Famed writer of the 1950s-1970s, author of “7½ Cents” (“The Pajama Game”), Dick Bissell was a river rat his entire life beginning at birth in 1913 until his death in 1977.
(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Hmm …

… The Power of Absence: Reading Graham Greene during Lent - Image Journal. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I agree that suspending Mass is a moral imperative. But that doesn’t make it easy. We are in the middle of Lent—an already solemn season—and the absence of the Eucharist hurts.
I don't agree. And I think the government should keep out of it. Would I risk my life to take the Eucharist? Yes. For once I am in agreement with Pope Francis. And I am inclined to think that the bishops are careerists who really don't take what they profess to believe seriously. And I communicated that to my own archbishop.

See also: When our churches open again... (Hat tip, Rich Lloret.)

When the pandemic crisis eases, and the world heads back into its normal routines, Catholic bishops will have some explaining to do.
Indeed. 

In case you missed them …

… The COVID-19 Sessions – The Virtual Memories Show.

Anniversary …

… Beyond Eastrod : 4 April 1949 — the beginning of protection against Soviets.

Something to think on …

Get rid of things or you'll spend your whole life tidying up.
— Marguerite Duras, born on this date in 1914

Friday, April 03, 2020

Indeed …

… Giorgio Agamben on coronavirus: “The enemy is not outside, it is within us.” | The Book Haven.

Bare life — and the danger of losing it — is not something that unites people, but blinds and separates them. Other human beings, as in the plague described in Alessandro Manzoni’s novel, are now seen solely as possible spreaders of the plague whom one must avoid at all costs and from whom one needs to keep oneself at a distance of at least a meter. The dead — our dead — do not have a right to a funeral and it is not clear what will happen to the bodies of our loved ones. Our neighbor has been cancelled and it is curious that churches remain silent on the subject. What do human relationships become in a country that habituates itself to live in this way for who knows how long? And what is a society that has no value other than survival?

Appreciation …

 “Best known through refraction”: Ellis Marsalis remembered by biographer Frank Barrett | The Book Haven.

Haiku …



White blossom flurries.
A plastic bag surfs the wind.
A cusp of being.

Anniversary …

 Beyond Eastrod : Truman, the Marshall Plan, and a kid from the Mon valley.

I am old enough to remember newscasts showing President Truman taking his constitutional (walking all the way around the White House actually) at a speed that had the reporters covering him running to keep up. I also remember the attempt on his life that was made in 1950.

Hmm …

… More good news? Citizen reporters go & do what the media won't! (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A sweet farewell …

… Joy in the afternoon | About Last Night. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Appreciation …

… Bruce Dawe's passing is a great loss but his remarkable, socially aware poetry will remain relevant | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

For decades, when you went into a second-hand bookshop in Australia, even if there was no poetry section, you’d find at least one book of poetry, and that book would be Bruce Dawe’s Sometimes Gladness. It wasn’t simply about a discarded book looking for a new owner, but the inevitable circulation of a school standard across the country. Innumerable copies of the many (updated) editions of this timeless classic were in high-school kids’ bags, lockers, bookcases, desks and maybe scattered on their floors after a heavy study session.

Cause for worry …

… The longer lockdown continues, the more imperiled we become | Spectator USA. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

We live in factional times, so scientists and commentators are dividing into COVID camps, though allying with the smaller skeptics crowd can be dangerous. (Some contrarians are getting death threats.) Yet even the establishment Imperial College London has reduced its projections of COVID-19’s UK mortality from 500,000 to under 20,000 — roughly the annual deaths from seasonal flu. No one knows yet for sure, but evidence abounds that the lethality of this virus may be in line with flu’s 0.1 percent, and possibly as low as 0.01 percent. The disease overwhelmingly fells the elderly with often-multiple co-morbidities. I don’t mean old people don’t matter. But absent this pandemic, a large portion of this ailing cohort would have been sadly slain by other illnesses in short order. As Dr John Lee noted last week, too, fatality figures fail to distinguish dying from COVID and merely dying with it.

A not-so-fine romance …

… We Love Big Brother | Peter Hitchens | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I fear so …

… During Covid-19 Lockdown, Crime Still Flourishes In Philadelphia. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

These policies will perpetuate Philadelphia’s violent-crime problems. Last week, a shooting targeted a man at a birthday party. Those shot included a one-year-old, 14-year-old, and four others. The reports of daily shootings continue, some in traditionally safe neighborhoods. It seems like violent crime is the only “business” surging in Philadelphia during the Covid-19 crisis.

Something to consider …

… The Sacred Cow Slaughterhouse —  The Severity of the CoVID-19 Epidemic is Not as Bad as You Think, According to the Numbers.

Something to think on …

Some minds seem almost to create themselves, springing up under every disadvantage and working their solitary but irresistible way through a thousand obstacles.
— Washington Irving, born on this date in 1783

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Neat …

… David Hockney shares exclusive art from Normandy, as 'a respite from the news' - BBC News.



Just one glance at Ruby and you can tell that she is on top of things.

In case you wondered …

… Why this crisis is a turning point in history. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

How much of their freedom people will want back when the pandemic has peaked is an open question. They show little taste for the enforced solidarity of socialism, but they may happily accept a regime of bio-surveillance for the sake of better protection of their health. Digging ourselves out of the pit will demand more state intervention not less, and of a highly inventive kind. Governments will have to do a lot more in underwriting scientific research and technological innovation. Though the state may not always be larger its influence will be pervasive, and by old-world standards more intrusive. Post-liberal government will be the norm for the foreseeable future.


Well, if so, we had better hope for a better class of politician than we have seen in recent decades.

Blogging note …

I have to go to the Reading Terminal Market for some things I cant get elsewhere. Blogging will resume sometime after I get back.

The Times and end times …

… Beyond Eastrod : The apocalypse and the New York Times.

Something to think on …

I attacked those Western playwrights who use their influence and affluence to preach to the world the nihilistic doctrine that life is pointless and irrationally destructive, and that there is nothing we can do about it. Until everyone is fed, clothed, housed and taught, until human beings have equal leisure to contemplate the overwhelming fact of mortality, we should not (I argued) indulge in the luxury of "privileged despair."
— Kenneth Tynan, born on this date in 1927

Beautiful …

… Let These Photos Take You on a Peaceful Paddle in Minnesota's Boundary Waters | Travel | Smithsonian Magazine. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Lovely …

… Farewell, Mrs. T | The American Conservative.

Here’s the thing: I have never met Terry, but have only known him through correspondence and text messaging over the years. And I never exchanged even that much communication with Mrs. T., as Terry called her. But to have been Terry’s reader on his blog and his Twitter feed was to have known this couple as if they were old friends. As Mrs. T.’s conditioned worsened over the past week, Terry let me and his readers know. I would fall asleep at night praying for her, and wake up praying for her. This says exactly nothing about my sanctity, and everything about how much I love these two people, whom I’ve never met.

Imagine that …

… China Concealed Extent of Virus Outbreak, U.S. Intelligence Says.

Some science …

… Estimates of the severity of coronavirus disease 2019: a model-based analysis - The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

 If I am reading this correctly, the overall fatality ratio seems to be 0·657%.

For these times …

… Beyond Eastrod : This is the Hour of Lead.

We have been warned …

… Teachers Urge Government To Reopen Schools Before Students Learn To Think For Themselves | The Babylon Bee.

April Poetry and Videos and The Lou McKee's at North of Oxford …

…  Getting to Philadelphia: New and Selected Poems by Thomas Devaney.

… Tricks of Light – New and Selected Poems by Thaddeus Rutkowski.

… The In(ter)vention of the Hay(na)ku – Selected Tercets 1996-2019 by Eileen R. Tabios.

… In Salem by Catherine Corman.

… I Have The Answer by Kelly Fordon.

… In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado.

… Poetry Videos to Get You Through April.

… The Lou McKee’s.

… Submissions are Open.

Appreciation …

… How G. E. M. Anscombe revolutionised 20th-century western philosophy | OUPblog. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Throughout her life, Anscombe was inspired by many philosophers, ancient and modern. Aristotle, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Thomas Aquinas were three key sources of inspiration. However, she created new and original work which revolutionised action theory and moral, religious and ethical philosophy.


This piece could have used some proofing. It's Literae Humaniores, not Literae Humanities. And I hardly think we need to be reminded that the late Aristotle was an ancient philosopher.

Something to think on …

I do not know any way to explain why God's grace touches a man who seems unworthy of it.
— Whittaker Chambers, born on this date in 1901

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Oh, my …

… how terribly, terribly sad: Hilary Teachout, R.I.P. | About Last Night. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



Let us keep Terry in our prayers. 

Hmm …

… LaurenceJarvikOnline: China, the World Health Organization, and Communism.



I have long been suspicious of WHO. The current situation has done nothing to change that.

Confinement need not be solitary …

… books are companions: Beyond Eastrod : A guide to distraction for those of us who need to think about something other than the apocalypse.



By the time I was in grade school, my mother, my grandmother, and my older brother, were already leaving the house early in the morning, the first two to their factories, my brother to high school. So I learned early how to get along by myself. I made my own breakfast and lunch, read lots (no kids books, though), wandered the woods that surrounded our house, watching birds, learning the names of trees and flowers. I had a grand time. And, as Oscar Wilde said, "to fall in love with oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance."

Writing poetry …

 The Joy Of Play: Every Writer Has A Thousand Faces (10th Anniversary Ed.) By David Biespiel - The Rumpus.net. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



I write mine in my head. I only write it down when it sounds right. In the case of longer poems, of course, that means in bits and pieces. Sort of like Wallace Stevens composing in his head as he walked home from the office. Poetry is better found outside than indoors.

Opportunists …

… Mountain goats take over Welsh town in coronavirus lockdown | Metro News.



They do look like solid citizens, though.

The power of light …

Beyond Eastrod : I’ll tell you how the sun rose —.

Something to think on…

Another reason I think the novel will survive is that the reader has to work in a novel. In a film, you are presented with someone else's imagination exactly bodied out. The marvelous thing about a novel is that every reader will imagine even the very simplest sentence slightly differently.
— John Fowles, born on this date in 1926

Monday, March 30, 2020

Keep on praying …

… Reason to believe | About Last Night. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Read and listen …

… The Writer's Almanac for Monday, March 30, 2020 | Garrison Keillor.

Just so you know …

 Hong Kong Police Arrest Opposition Politician Under Colonial-Era Law - WSJ.



But don't you dare criticize the Chinese government.

Hmm …

… Beyond Eastrod : Faith and microscopes.

I agree with Tim. The Freedom From Religion Foundation is certainly entitled to its lack of faith, but it shouldn’t appropriate Emily Dickinson, about whom it apparently know nothing, on behalf of its cause.

De gustibis non est disputandum …

… The Tin Cannoisseur: The Road back to normal life will be a long one... (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

If you haven't read The Road,  now probably isn't the best time. It's astonishing writing, certainly, but goodness me, it's bleak. "Emotionally shattering", "terrifying and beautiful", "a work of such terrible beauty that you will struggle to look away", said the critics.
Not this reviewer, however. I actually didn't review it. I wrote about it because my boss asked me to. It had just won the Pulitzer and the paperback of it had just come into my office. I was paging through it and making unflattering comments.  As it happens the review I ran — by whom I forget — was not favorable. Anyway here is the piece I wrote.


Listen in …

… The COVID-19 Sessions – The Virtual Memories Show.

They strike again …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Babylon Bee: Chick-Fil-A Temporarily Changes Slogan To 'Eat Fewer Bats'.

Roundup …

Make of these what you will. They come a wide variety of sources and seem to me worth considering.

… from The Atlantic: China Is Avoiding Blame by Trolling the World.
Beijing is successfully dodging culpability for its role in spreading the coronavirus.
… from The Guardian: Life after lockdown: has China really beaten coronavirus?
Residents and analysts doubt the near-zero transmission rate as restrictions are eased.
… from The Diplomat: Can China’s COVID-19 Statistics Be Trusted?
From GDP figures to coronavirus counts, China’s government has a long history of manipulating data for political gain.


Boris Johnson's government is furious with China and believes it could have 40 times the number of coronavirus cases it says.

The Comprehensive Timeline of China’s COVID-19 Lies.

Very interesting indeed …

… Dr. Vladimir Zelenko has now treated 699 coronavirus patients with 100% success using Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate, Zinc and Z-Pak [UPDATES] | Tech News | Startups News. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

FYI …

… New Liturgical Movement: Collecting Information about Live-Streamed Masses. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Staying alive …

… Coronavirus Diary: New York, March 28–29 | R. R. Reno | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I can see, now, the tragic point of a joke going around in Israel. It runs something like this: Your grandfathers faced down the Nazis. Your fathers stood against the Arabs in war after war, paved roads, and drained swamps. You’re being asked to sit on your butts and watch Netflix. Do you think you can do this without screwing up?

Something to think on …

While it is true that commercial art is always in danger of ending up as a prostitute, it is equally true that noncommercial art is always in danger of ending up as an old maid.
— Erwin Panofsky, born on this date in 1892

Sunday, March 29, 2020

For Sunday …

 Holy Eucharist March 29th 2020 - St Albans Episcopal Church.

Many happy returns …

… Ted Gioia on Twitter — Happy 80th birthday to Astrud Gilberto. (Hat tip, Dave Lull)

Anniversary and appreciation …

… Get Shorty at 30: Dennis Lehane on Elmore Leonard's Hollywood satire | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… I hung out with him twice, once in a bar in the midwest (a recovering alcoholic, he drank O’Doul’s with gusto), and the other time at a literary festival in a small town in Italy. Both times I was struck by what a dude he was. Cooler than almost anyone I’ve ever met. As cool as Chili Palmer, Raylan Givens, Ernest Stickley Jr or Vincent Mora – to name just a few of the laconic badasses who took centre stage at one time or another in his novels. The books were like the man – wry and observant, contemptuous of navel-gazing.
I met him twice, both times when introducing him at the Free Library. He was indeed as cool as anybody I have ever met.

Here is my review of Mr. Paradise. And here's a piece I wrote about him: Crime paid this writer, in dollars and honors.

Just so you know …

… Beyond Eastrod : Here and now will not matter in a hundred years.

Roundup …

… LITERATURE Letters from Latin America | Morning Star. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Lest we forget …

 Paul Davis On Crime: Vietnam War Veterans Day 2020.

Amen, brother …

… Obiter Scripta, no. 81 – A Sunday of Liberty. (Hat tip, Dave :Lull.)



We have certainly seen this demonstrated in recent days.

Words and music …

William Walton was born on this date in 1902.

One can only hope …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Bent Not Broken: Tested By Wars, Storms And Terrorists, America Always Survives.


Helpful hints …

… Making the most of isolation: Works of Mercy in an age of social distancing - Catholic Herald. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Our pastor has opened our church for private prayer. A friend and I went there this morning. Regarding this piece, as my Jesuit mentor used to say, it’s all about being good and kind, which sounds like something you would put into needlepoint, but in reality isn’t always that easy to do.

Growing wise …

 Nigeness: 'Where meaning has been found before'. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… being truly conservative, it is only 'a doctrine of a kind', not fully fledged dogma or ideology (true conservatism is the least political of political philosophies).

Singularity …

… First Known When Lost: Light.



Everything changes.  Every thing changes.  Nothing changes.

RIP …

… Influential composer Krzysztof Penderecki dies aged 86 | Music | The Guardian.

Good for them …

… Savannah’s Flannery O’Connor fans celebrate author’s birthday with online parade in spite of coronavirus - News - Savannah Morning News - Savannah, GA. (Hat tip, Tim Davis.)

What else is new?

… Corporate Socialism: The Government is Bailing Out Investors & Managers Not You. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

I look upon life as a gift from God. I did nothing to earn it. Now that the time is coming to give it back, I have no right to complain.
— Joyce Cary, who died on this date in 1957

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Be careful …

… Paul Davis On Crime: U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain Warns About Fraud Related To The Coronavirus Crisis And Provides Tips To The Public.

Bravo …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Real Superheroes During The COVID-19 Crisis.

Laughing in the dark …

… Laugh in the time of Corona: Favourite funny books.

See also: The 12 Funniest Exploration Books.

(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A golden age …

… Beyond Eastrod : American Bloomsbury Revisited.

Connections …

 [If every life is four-dimensional] —Justin Rigamonti | Zócalo Public Square. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Have a look …

… Top Shots: October 25, 2020 | National Review. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

On the bright side …

… Book sales surge as self-isolating readers buy ‘bucket list’ novels | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

The old-fashioned way …

… Say “No” to Death’s Dominion | R. R. Reno | First Things.

 … the mass shutdown of society to fight the spread of COVID-19 creates a perverse, even demonic atmosphere. Governor Cuomo and other officials insist that death’s power must rule our actions. Religious leaders have accepted this decree, suspending the proclamation of the gospel and the distribution of the Bread of Life. They signal by their actions that they, too, accept death’s dominion.
“A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once. It seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.”
 — W. Shakespeare 
 

Q&A …

… Tucker Carlson: ‘We aren’t very good at talking about death’ | Spectator USA. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
… what bothered me, what enraged me, back in January was we had all these reports out of eastern China, out of Wuhan, that there was this kind of transformative thing happening. They shut down a city of 11 million people — bigger than New York. And they still couldn’t control it. And the obvious conclusion that anyone paying attention would draw is, if the most sophisticated authoritarian government in history can’t control the spread of this disease. And simultaneously, we have hourly capital-to-capital jet travel. Maybe this is something we should be paying attention to. I mean, with just that fact set alone, you could conclude we need to tell our viewers about this. And almost nobody did because they thought, you know, Trump was the most important thing. It’s really dereliction. When this is over. I really hope that we can learn something useful and corrective. I really do.

Strike up the band …

… Zealotry of Guerin: The Dance of Life (Edvard Munch), Sonnet #504.

Very interesting …

… Frightened by Coronavirus, Many of U.K.’s Poles Are Heading Home - The New York Times.

Nor does Britain’s overstretched National Health Service inspire confidence, even if Britons sometimes seem to fret that foreigners exploit it. “Let’s be honest, it’s not fantastic,” said Mr. Bacdorf. “I used the National Health Service once and it was a terrible experience.” … “Paracetamol for everything — that’s my impression of what you get from the British health service,” he added, referring to the pain reliever Americans generally know as acetaminophen or Tylenol.

What we seem to know so far …

… Covid-19 — Navigating the Uncharted | NEJM. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

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 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 has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.2

Something to think on …

I learned to read at the age of five, in Brother Justiniano's class at the De la Salle Academy in Cochabamba, Bolivia. It is the most important thing that has ever happened to me. Almost seventy years later I remember clearly how the magic of translating the words in books into images enriched my life, breaking the barriers of time and space.
— Mario Vargas Llosa, born on this date in 1936

Friday, March 27, 2020

The king of the birds …

… Marly Youmans / The Palace at 2:00 a.m. / poems, stories, novels: Peacock-thoughts for a Pandemic Sunday. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Paintings or mosaic work with peacocks appears as early as the third century A. D. in Roman catacombs. Part of this seems to be bound to the earlier idea that the flesh of the bird does not decay and holds some sort of immortality; that thought becomes a symbol wandering into regions of eternal life and resurrection. Part must be bound to the idea of leaving the earthly body and receiving a glorified body and soul, for the peacock in his fully revealed green and bronze and cobalt pomp and magnificence is an image of radiance and splendor. This sumptuousness finds its culmination in the peacock as symbol of Christ, who did not decay in the tomb and is transfigured and glorified.
Is the hemlock tree ordinarily confused with the poison hemlock that killed Socrates?


Another blogging note …

I must go shopping for a bit. Will resume blogging sometime later.
I went to the Reading Terminal Market yesterday. Usually packed with people, it was virtually deserted. God willing, I didn't get infected with anything.

In case you wondered …

… Question for the coronavirus era: What’s the opposite of loneliness? It’s not company. | The Book Haven.



In an essay on “Personal Responsibility Under Dictatorship,” [Hannah Arendt] argued such “being-with-oneself” is connected with the sustained practice of examining issues, weighing contradictory thoughts, making up one’s own mind. She observed that those who resisted the Nazi call had the habit and experience of daring to judge for themselves:
“The precondition for this kind of judging is not a highly developed intelligence or sophistication in moral matters, but rather the disposition to live together explicitly with oneself, to have intercourse with oneself, that is, to be engaged in that silent dialogue between me and myself which, since Socrates and Plato, we usually call thinking.”

One of the truly great singers …

… a ver good actor, too, one of only six actors to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his first screen appearance:

A tale for these days …

… Isolation – a short story by Teresa Waugh - The Oldie. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Novelist Teresa Waugh tells the tale of an elderly lady, tormented by coronavirus-induced isolation.

Still working after all these years …

 Bob Dylan Releases 17-Minute Song About JFK Assassination – Variety. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

One strategy …

… Beyond Eastrod : Moving on to somewhere beyond the stupidity.

Blogging note …

Got up later than usual today because of caregiving obligations. Will do a little blogging once i get my coffee.

Something to think on …

True religion should be able to respond to the dark melodies, the faulty and hideous sounds that echo from the heart of men.
— Shūsaku Endō, born on this date in 1923

Thursday, March 26, 2020

What we can learn from nature …

Beyond Eastrod : A Bird, came down the Walk.

It was bound to happen …

… Government Accidentally Shuts Itself Down With Ban On Non-Essential Businesses | The Babylon Bee.

Well, good …

… Professors Worry Their Bias Will Be Exposed by Online Classes.



It ought to be exposed. Teaching requires keeping them under wraps.

How gracious of them …

… A Letter from Our CEO | Kirkus Reviews. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

These are great …

… Three Epigrams from Richard Crashaw, Epigrammata Sacra by John Talbot | Articles | First Things.  (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Crashaw was a favorite poet of min when I was in college. I must read him again.

When the focus really is on survival …

 Beyond Eastrod : An unfathomable nightmare of medieval proportions.

Who was also a great writer …

… The Seminal Novel About the 1918 Flu Pandemic Was Written by a Texan – Texas Monthly (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Pale Horse, Pale Rider’s enduring reputation perhaps stems from Porter’s willingness to look death in the face through a masterfully psychedelic fever sequence set in an overcrowded hospital. Writing for the New Yorker in 1944, the critic Edmund Wilson lauded Porter as “a first-rate artist,” with a literary project both sophisticated and subtle that “may be able, as in Pale Horse, Pale Rider, to assert itself only in the delirium that lights up at the edge of death.”

Kindred spirits in a time of heartbreak …

… Behind Their Lines: A quiet place apart. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I have heard Edward doubt if he was as brave as the bravest. But who was ever so completely himself right up to the verge of destruction, so sure of his thought, so sure of his word? He was the bravest and best and dearest man you and I have ever known….

Here' s a thought …

…  Episode 871 Scott Adams: It's Time to Stop Using an Obama Afghanistan Strategy Against a Virus.
(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Indeed …

… This is why everyone loathes Congress. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

You could be forgiven … for imagining that this would be a perfect opportunity for the legislative branch to do all the things members of both parties are always saying they want to do: to "put politics aside" and "reach across the aisle" — feel free to insert more of your favorite clichés — in order to "get something done" on behalf of the American people.

Something to think on …

Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.
— Robert Frost, born on this date in 1874

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

How wonderful …

… Guess who I talked to today? | About Last Night. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A call to reason …

… Blind fear of death should not guide policy | Catholic Culture. (Hat tip, Rich Lloret.)

… certainly there are some things worth taking a risk for. As much as we admire bravery in the face of danger, we despise timidity. No doubt you would be safer if you spent your life cowering at home, but what could you accomplish? “A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once,” Shakespeare tells us. To risk nothing is to accomplish nothing.

A very good idea …

… Learning Latin the Medieval Way ~ The Imaginative Conservative. (hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I would argue that Latin is the first victim of modernism, its decline analogous to the worst fears surrounding such educational reform as Common Core. The early modern period saw a break in tradition; the pedagogy of antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance gave way to modern techniques and innovations, and for the past two centuries we have let our students wallow in the mire they created.


I have been brushing up on my Latin and German by means of Duolingo. It has certainly helped, since I can now understand both languages when I hear them. But i also just ordered a Latin-English Vulgate to further my study.

Why am I not surprised?

… Government Red Tape Delays the COVID-19 Response – Reason.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A few weeks ago, the government finally gave up its monopoly and said it was relaxing the rules. There would be quick "emergency use authorizations" replacing the months- or years-long wait for approval. But even that took so long that few independent tests were approved.
So President Donald Trump waived those rules, too.
Now tests are finally being made. But that delay killed people. It's still killing people.
Other needlessly repressive rules prevented doctors and hospitals from trying more efficient ways to treat patients.

Hmm …

… Hydroxychloroquine Showing Early Promise As Potential Treatment For Covid-19. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

It’s no exaggeration to say that this drug changed my life—and in a dramatically positive way—after I was diagnosed with arthritis in my thirties. Today, I’m completely pain-free and symptom-free, and I no longer require medication of any sort. Yet here’s the strangest part of the story: none of my doctors wanted me to use hydroxychloroquine, the amazing drug that brought about these results. They viewed it as an old and outdated medicine. One rheumatologist tried to convince me to use a newer, more “high-tech” treatment. “You are using a wimpy drug, and arthritis isn’t a wimpy disease,” he said.

Burdened …

… A Poet a Day: Rita Dove – BillMoyers.com. (hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

And the winners are …

… Winning Poems for 2020 February : IBPC. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)



The Judge's Page.

Watch and pray …

… Morning Prayer 3/25/20 - St Albans Episcopal Church. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Exquisite portrait …

… Beyond Eastrod : Review — Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor.

Flannery O’Connor was born on this date in 1925.

Something to think on …

Even in the life of a Christian, faith rises and falls like the tides of an invisible sea. It's there, even when he can't see it or feel it, if he wants it to be there. You realize, I think, that it is more valuable, more mysterious, altogether more immense than anything you can learn or decide upon. It will keep you free  — not free to do anything you please, but free to be formed by something larger than your own intellect or the intellects around you.
— Flannery O’Connor, born on this date in 1925

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

RIP …

… Playwright Terrence McNally, who wrote the musical Ragtime, has died from coronavirus. | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Well worth watching …

Eileen is a friend of mine. I asked her if I could post this, and she gave permission.

A blog every Philadelphian should read …

 Big Trial | Philadelphia Trial Blog.



Because you're sure in hell not going to see any of this in The Inquirer. I certainly couldn't find anything about Starson Audate and Kimberly Paynter when I did a search.

Sounds timely …

… Beyond Eastrod : Review — Judas Unchained.

Throughout the complex novel, readers will find themselves wondering, 'Who can be trusted? Who can be believed?

Wonderful …

 Portrait of Girl with Comic Book - Independent.ie. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden, who notes that Phyllis McGinley would have turned 115 on March 21.)

Showcasing art during...

...This trying time

The Role of Art History...

...In the modern world

Another clip for these times …

Related: Don't Cancel Easter.
Of course, we must think about the elderly or those with preexisting conditions, who are at a much higher risk of succumbing to COVID-19. But the aged and infirm are automatically dispensed from their Sunday obligation if attending public worship would be hazardous to their health. The bishops could have simply reminded us of that provision.
I am 78. I would have attended Mass this past Sunday if our timorous archbishop had allowed it. If, as a result, I shuffled off my mortal coil in the days that followed, that would be God's will. Life does, after all, have a termination date.

Something to think on …

Future historians will surely see us as having created in the media a Frankenstein monster whom no one knows how to control or direct, and marvel that we should have so meekly subjected ourselves to its destructive and often malign influence.
— Malcolm Muggeridge, born on this date in 1903

Monday, March 23, 2020

A great enlightenment …

… The Virus is Not Invincible, But It’s Exposing Who’s Irreplaceable - American Greatness.

But who now is more important than the trucker who drives 12-hours straight to deliver toilet paper to Costco? Or the mid-level manager of Target who calibrates supply and demand and is on the phone all day juggling deliveries before his store opens? Or the checker at the local supermarket who knows that the hundreds of customers inches away from her pose risks of infection, and yet she ensures that people walk out with food in their carts? The farmworker who is on the tractor all night to ensure that millions of carrots and lettuce don’t rot? The muddy frackers in West Texas who make it possible that natural gas reaches the home of the quarantined broker in Houston? The ER nurse on her fifth coronavirus of the day who matter-of-factly saves lives?
Do we really need to ask such questions of whether the presence of the czar for diversity and inclusion at Yale is missed as much as the often-caricatured cop on patrol at 2 a.m. in New Haven?

Listen in …

… Biblio File hosted by Nigel Beale: HUP Director George Andeou on how to Read, Write, Edit & Publish.

FYI …

… Martin Amis to publish novel inspired by death of Christopher Hitchens | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull)

Sherlock Kant …

… Beyond Eastrod : Review — Critique of Criminal Reason 

Rather a sad tale …

… though not without a trace of hope: The Art of Dying | The New Yorker. (Hat tip, Dave Lull,)

Death is like painting rather than like sculpture, because it’s seen from only one side. Monochrome—like the mausoleum-gray former Berlin Wall, which kids in West Berlin glamorized with graffiti. What I’m trying to do here.