Thursday, July 29, 2021
By Lopate's definition,there’s no better essayist than Annie Dillard. Her thoughts go places no one else can see. Following in her path, you can sip the cold fire of eternity, cheat death in a stunt plane, or trace God’s name in sand, salt, or cloud. She didn’t invent the essay. Her most famous work isn’t classified as an essay. But in the cosmos of essayists, there’s Annie Dillard, and there’s everyone else.
Montaigne's pretty good, too.
The "reject" status and review notes were removed by mid-morning and replaced with "posted," suggesting Nature had approved the paper without revisions, which drew controversy on Twitter. The notes were quickly restored and status changed to "revise," bearing the same date — July 9 — as the original "reject" status.
Rejection, it turns out, is tiered. The difference between a standard rejection and a tiered rejection is encouragement.
Many, many years ago, I submitted a poem to the New Yorker. I got a rejection slip. Oddly, there was a short hand-written addition: the word Sorry. I took it to be an example of New Yorker humor. I used to carry it in my wallet. Decades later I learned that it was probably a word of encouragement.
I guess the Iraqi government, though this story gives no indication as to what they plan to do with it. This seems to me to be something that should be left to civil courts. Why my tax dollars should be spent on it eludes me.
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
It’s Rahm Emanuel time now and forever: never let a good crisis go waste, he advised, and rest assured, they — the alphabet-soup pod-people who we put in charge of our lives — they have run with it big time. A couple of days ago, the White House (how long before they change the insulting name of that edifice) announced that because of the ‘Delta variant’ they would not be lifting travel restrictions ‘at this point’. They hope, of course, that they can maintain, and perhaps stiffen, the restriction indefinitely, maybe forever. After all, as the White House press secretary demanded a week or two back, ‘Why do you need to have that information?’
…as more and more once-affluent magazines and newspapers are going belly up or seeking other ways to finance themselves, I am feeling pretty good about how I decided to finance The American Spectator when I was still a graduate student at Indiana University decades ago. The latest group to go the nonprofit route is the legendary Baltimore Sun. Yes, that 184-year-old newspaper, the fabled home of H. L. Mencken and a dozen or so lesser giants of journalism, will now be owned by the nonprofit Sunlight for All Institute.
Well, The Inquirer has been owned by a nonprofit since 2014, the last year it won a Pulitzer Prize.
In her latest, The Nice Dream Truck (Harper, 2021), best-selling author Beth Ferry likens going to sleep to meeting an ice cream truck with delicious sweet dreams for any taste, all done up in tasty rhyming text and inviting light and airy illustrations that float across delish double-page spreads by artist Brigette Barrager.
I have always wondered when this phrase – I just didn’t fall in love – became a standard well-accepted way of politely rejecting querying writers? Why evoke such a crazy intense, intimate and emotional scenario when a more cool and objective one would suffice?
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
A few days later, Hamels and left-handed reliever Jake Diekman were traded to the Texas Rangers for six players (one was a salary dump), and is believed to be the first time in MLB history a pitcher was traded immediately after throwing a no-hitter.
The collapse of personal autonomy and individual agency in the face of an onslaught of punitive, soul-corroding COVID-19 restrictions has been perhaps the most frightening and depressing development in modern American history. Given its minuscule—barely a blip above normal—death toll, COVID-19 is as close to a hoax as can be imagined. Advertised relentlessly as the second coming of the Black Death, it is instead the New Coke of viral diseases.
Want to wear a mask? Go right ahead. Just don’t bother me.
It has been discovered that with a dull urban population, all formed under a mechanical system of State education, a suggestion or command, however senseless and unreasoned, will be obeyed if it be sufficiently repeated.— Hilaire Belloc, born on this date in 1870
Monday, July 26, 2021
It comprises mostly UK-based journalists working at newspapers, broadcasters, and PR companies as staffers or freelancers.The members were interviewed by Press Gazette, with most preferring to remain anonymous for fear of retribution from their employers.
Of course, if you’re one of those — and it seems there are many — predisposed to kiss the government’s behind, you will not sympathize with these people. I sympathize with them because I am a journalist of the old school, given to questioning the government at every opportunity, since it is not to be reflexively trusted.
I thought Edward Fox was wonderful in the movie.
Called or not called, the god will be there.
What needs to be canceled is Cancel Culture.
The truth is that if we were treating vaccines like other drugs, we would include the “partially” vaccinated cases in the “vaccinated” category because they have occurred AFTER treatment has begun.
The United States does the opposite. When it reports statistics on vaccine hospitalizations or deaths, it ignores partly vaccinated people. They are lumped with those who have never received a dose as “unvaccinated.”
This trick is particularly galling now that the vaccine companies and the government have acknowledged the fact that the mRNA shots begin to lose their protective effect in a matter of months and that many people will need boosters soon.
Sunday, July 25, 2021
The study of Classics endures to this day quite simply because the eternal verities at the heart of the human condition have not changed one iota since the days of Homer, Sophocles, Euripides, Virgil, Ovid, Horace and Catullus, et al. To be sure, the way we live now has changed immeasurably over the last 2500 years, what with jet planes, the internet and iPhones, but the fundamental nuts and bolts of the thorny existential conundrum that is our brief terrestrial sojourn have not.
Saturday, July 24, 2021
This new knowledge of quantum fractals could provide the foundations for scientists to experimentally test the theory of quantum consciousness. If quantum measurements are one day taken from the human brain, they could be compared against our results to definitely decide whether consciousness is a classical or a quantum phenomenon.
… The Poetry of Elizabeth Daryush by Donald Davie. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
To have the poet-laureate for one’s father is a grievous disadvantage for any poet to labour under. And there can be no doubt that the shadow which has eclipsed Elizabeth Daryush is the shadow of Robert Bridges.
… this mad megalomaniac convinced women that sexual morality was hurting them. Women were told if they just gave men all the sex they desired, without consequences, women would be “liberated” in becoming just like men. Brilliant! Suddenly men got all the nookie they wanted and women were left alone and heartbroken.
Shaw's technique of scansion is minimal and flexible (he often provides alternate ways a line could be scanned), consisting of “x” for an unstressed syllable, “/” for a stressed one, with “\” for an “intermediate” degree of stress (xi). But he knows, as does anyone with an ear, that one da- is different from another da-—that, in another good formulation, “not all iambs are created equal” (16). His opening chapter, “The Sounds of Blank Verse,” usefully distinguishes the form from both rhyming verse and free verse, also from prose. The last distinction is an important one since the notion is still around that blank verse is a “blood-relative” to prose (11). One recalls that when Frost published North of Boston (1914), some of his critics thought the blank verse of many of the poems “free” enough so that it was indistinguishable from prose, from conversational talk. And any teacher of college students will find many of them cheerfully calling blank verse “free verse,” while at other times speaking of blank verse as “prose.”
I’m not saying anything here about how effective the vaccines are. What I’m saying is that this administration, and the many media outlets that are catering to it, and not being truthful.
This particular typewriter came from his mother, and Kennedy wrote the first five novels of his renowned Albany cycle on it. In particular, he wrote Ironweed on it, and that’s the book that brought him a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. The photo with the typewriter was taken in 1950, when he would have been 22 – only two years older than the typewriter – and a budding reporter at the Albany Times Union.
Friday, July 23, 2021
Today many young priests celebrate the traditional Mass daily. Ancient taped-up pamphlet missals have been replaced with expensive leatherbound volumes. Austere half-hour celebrations have given way in some parishes to regular solemn Masses that require a master of ceremonies, priest, deacon and subdeacon. The liturgical standards in some parishes now may be higher than they were before the Second Vatican Council.
My own parish celebrated the Latin Mass for several years. That changed after the pastor was reassigned. So then I had to walk quite a distance to another church. Then it moved far enough away that I had to hitch a ride with someone. Finally, it was too far for me to go to. The English Mass is hopelessly pedestrian. They should have adapted the Anglican Mass. It has some style. As for Pope Francis, the less said of him the better.
Thursday, July 22, 2021
When I was a kid my family shopped along Kensington Avenue. In a Woolworth’s there I got my first Classics Illustrated. Looks like the neighborhood has turned into a shit hole.
Like Glenn Greenwald or Tucker Carlson, Kolchak has been fired from several places, “all presumably for trying to get the truth past his editors.” Kolchak, who is “hell bent on getting the last laugh and coming back in style,” is “a charismatic grab bag full of contradictions, panache, [and] bad taste.” He doesn’t like authority but has “an all-American love for the goddam capital-T Truth.”
Kleinhenz writes: “For centuries the sonnet has remained the most popular and the most difficult poetic form in Western literature,” with few canonical poets since the Renaissance completely avoiding them. The endurance of the fourteen lines is startling, though a return to its complex origins almost a millennium ago provides a fuller understanding of its appeal. The sonnet, as it turns out, is many things; not least of which is a lesson in the complexity of societies and souls.
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Svetlana Likhanova was born in Yurga, a town in the northwest of the Kuzbass. For the past seven years, she has not parted with her camera. The main focus of her photography is the disappearing Russian countryside -- specifically, the villages of the Kuzbass.
Well, I started life in North Philly and my family drummed into me how important it was to be careful when crossing the street. I noticed that when my daughter Jennifer's two sons were younger and would meet me in Center City (they live outside the city) that they didn't even look at traffic lights. I have also noticed that one must be especially careful these days, what with drivers gabbing on their phones and sometimes even texting while driving. A couple of years ago, I was crossing the street not far from where I live and a guy making a turn didn't even notice me until the person sitting next to him alerted him. More people should be ticketed for blocking crosswalks. I could go one, but I think everybody will get the idea,
For concerned parents, Kinnett says the most important way they can push back on movements like #DisruptTexts is not advocacy. It’s engaging with kids at home.
#DisruptTexts may want your kids to skip reading Orwell, but judging by their website, they sure have mastered doublethink.
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
I don’t wish to be over-optimistic. All is not well. A great deal is broken. We’re stumbling, not striding; limping, not marching. But society’s total mobilization against the coronavirus—which I opposed as unwise and damaging—has accelerated existing trends and started new ones. We saw as much in June 2020, when cities were aflame with protests. No doubt our churches and our souls have been affected as well, perhaps for the better. Something is stirring.
[The Latin Mass] made me bitter and arrogant. It made me think I had the more ancient, therefore holier, therefore better way to practice my faith. I would make jokes about the “Novus Ordo” and speculate about the day the church might even do away with vernacular liturgy, considering it a failed experiment.
The Latin Mass didn't make you do anything. You chose to feel as you did. I grew up with the Latin Mass. It happens to be better crafted than the Novus Ordo, which is as pedestrian as it gets. If they wanted the Mass in English, well it was translated in plenty of missals. And "It is truly meet and just, right and availing unto salvation" is a hell of lot better than "It is right and just."
In 1976, an overhaul of the Copyright Act enshrined stronger protections. Today, artists generally receive copyrights to their works by default; after they die, the protections pass to their heirs for seventy years. During that period, whether you’ve purchased a negative for pennies at an estate sale or a print for millions at Christie’s, simply owning a physical image does not entitle you to reproduce it in any form.
Monday, July 19, 2021
In Peter France has made all the right choices. He wisely declined to attempt to precisely reproduce Mandelstam’s use of rhyme and meter—a near-certain road to disaster for those translating Russian poetry into English, even poetry much less complex and supersaturated with metaphor than Mandelstam’s.
Critics can continue to fight over the question of whether Greene was a Catholic writer or rather what he called himself: an author who “happened to be Catholic.” Some of his characters were good Catholics; many were not. And as Richard Greene reminds us, Graham had a lot of trouble practicing the faith he never quite abandoned. The late Polish poet Adam Zagajewski once said about himself, “I am a failed Catholic, but still a Catholic.” Greene could have said the same thing.
I fear that the only Catholics — including myself — who are not failed Catholics are the saints. Hence our faith in “the strangeness of the mercy of God.”
When drug companies have gotten a drug approved, and move on to market the drug, they will studiously avoid mentioning the fact that large segments of the population were excluded from the trials. When drug reps show their flashy powerpoints to gatherings of doctors, say for a new drug to lower blood pressure, they will always present impressive looking graphs of benefit, and they will of course point out how safe their drug was shown to be in the trials. Not once will they mention that the groups of patients the doctors will primarily be prescribing the drug to weren’t even included in the trials.
I am by no means an anti-vaxxer. I thought I didn’t need a shingles shot because I had never had chicken pox. I was wrong. I got the shot.
Sunday, July 18, 2021
You cannot run the model, wait for the output, run to your Governor and say “The latest model says social distancing works.” If your Governor had any sense he would say, “Didn’t you write the model code? And didn’t the code say somewhere that social distancing worked?”
It is very hard to be a libertarian, since libertarians oppose so much of what modern states do, and how half the population lives. Intellectuals yearn to be treated with respect. One way to do this is grant to statists their good intentions. But these libertarians forget that this grant is best seen as merely a dialectical convention, or a show of manners. And thus they pretend that the state really isn’t that bad, and its participants just misinformed. Nonsense, of course.
I was actually a registered libertarian for a couple of years. The vacuous ineffectiveness was soon obvious.
Saturday, July 17, 2021
… a bad prelate merits honor only because of the office he holds. When we pretend his personal faults are not real, strain to attribute good motives to manifestly unjust acts or hidden wisdom to manifestly foolish utterances, we are like someone who fixates on an image and pretends that the many flaws and limitations it contains as a mere piece of matter must somehow really be divine.
Even the director’s fiercest detractors will find it hard to dismiss the evidence he has assembled about the JFK assassination in the new documentary. Once I’d seen it and heard him hold forth, I came away thinking that only flat-earthers can possibly still believe that Lee Harvey Oswald shot President Kennedy all on his own. It’s that convincing.
Sure hope this doesn't bother anybody. But if it does, tough.
“Lear” asks so much of its star, especially in the storm scene, that the role is normally played by a much younger man. Mr. Lloyd, to be sure, is no longer able to shake the rafters, for which reason the storm has been dialed back in sonic intensity. But he is still a magnificent performer who effortlessly projects his lines all the way to the back row of the amphitheater—which is where I sat—and it is unutterably pitiable to watch him lose his reason and descend into a cloud of unknowing from which Cordelia ( Jasmine Cheri Rush ), Lear’s only loyal daughter, and the Earl of Kent ( Jonathan Epstein ), who is as true to him as Gloucester and Cordelia, are unable to rescue him.