Tuesday, April 13, 2021

A birthday and more …

 Beyond Eastrod (again): So be it when I shall grow old on the yellow brick road.

So there …

 … Experts Are Super Smart And 100% Reliable, Experts Confirm | The Babylon Bee.

Something to think on …

It is, I believe, the primary charm of poetry to give the lesson of mirage, that is, to show the fragile and vibrant movement of creation, in which the word is in a certain way human quintessence, prayer.
— J. M. G. Le Clézio, born on this date  in 1940

A little bit of science …

… Facemasks in the COVID-19 era: A health hypothesis. (Hata tip, Dave Lull.)

Conclusion

The existing scientific evidences challenge the safety and efficacy of wearing facemask as preventive intervention for COVID-19. The data suggest that both medical and non-medical facemasks are ineffective to block human-to-human transmission of viral and infectious disease such SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, supporting against the usage of facemasks. Wearing facemasks has been demonstrated to have substantial adverse physiological and psychological effects. These include hypoxia, hypercapnia, shortness of breath, increased acidity and toxicity, activation of fear and stress response, rise in stress hormones, immunosuppression, fatigue, headaches, decline in cognitive performance, predisposition for viral and infectious illnesses, chronic stress, anxiety and depression. Long-term consequences of wearing facemask can cause health deterioration, developing and progression of chronic diseases and premature death. Governments, policy makers and health organizations should utilize prosper and scientific evidence-based approach with respect to wearing facemasks, when the latter is considered as preventive intervention for public health.

Source of inspiration …

… The Haunted Imagination of Alfred Hitchcock | The New Republic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

There was Alfred Hitchcock the lower–middle-class lad from the East End of London who from earliest days was obsessed by the shadow play of three-dimensional images on a two-dimensional screen, and then there was “Alfred Hitchcock,” a balding fat man in a double-breasted suit with a protruding lower lip and an instantly recognizable profile, who made a fortune in Hollywood by playing to, and playing upon, our deepest fears and phobias. Which was the real man, if there was one?

John Banvillle says in this piece that “It’s unlikely that he held on to his faith.” But a Jesuit priest, Mark Henninger, who got to know Hitchcock when the director was an old man recounted in a Wall Street Journal article some years ago that  “Hitchcock had been away from the church for some time, and he answered the responses in Latin the old way. But the most remarkable sight was that after receiving communion, he silently cried, tears rolling down his huge cheeks.” He certainly had a Catholic funeral.

In case you wondered …

 Did Shakespeare Base His Masterpieces on Works by an Obscure Elizabethan Playwright? | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian Magazine. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

New research suggests that a long-forgotten playwright might be the source of some of Shakespeare’s most memorable works. As journalist Michael Blandingargues in North by Shakespeare: A Rogue Scholar’s Quest for the Truth Behind the Bard’s WorkSir Thomas North, who was born nearly 30 years before the Bard, may have penned early versions of All’s Well That Ends WellOthelloRichard IIA Winter’s TaleHenry VIII and several other plays later adapted by the better-known dramatist.

Belonging …

… The Ragged and the Beautiful. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Word of the Day …

… Esculent | Word Genius.

Monday, April 12, 2021

April Poetry at North of Oxford …

 … Three Poems by Eric Fisher Stone.

… Two Poems by Lillo Way.

 Beauty Rises From Flame by Mark J. Mitchell.

… Electrocuted by Alexander P. Garza.

… Two Poems by Lee Landeau.

… Wild by Paul Ilechko.

Sad …

 The tragic tale of Monica Jones, Philip Larkin's girlfriend - The Oldie. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Above all, she hated herself, and however much gin she swallowed, she could not die. In the lonely fifteen years which followed her lover’s death, she lasted and lasted.


And another …

 … Madame Bovary’s sensational trial and style.

Anniversary …

 Flannery O’Connor’s baptism and “The River”.

Master at work …

 Collapsing Time: On John Fuller’s “Asleep and Awake”. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
Ultimately, for all his shrewd constructions, his enviable ear, it’s the quality of Fuller’s description that most recommends him. The book glitters with memorable phrase-making and seemingly effortless coinages, images at once surprising and inevitable, casting their light back and forth within the atmosphere of frail mortality and ebullient living: a grandfather clock is a “coffin for time,” parents in rain ponchos are “[u]pright as bears in holiday attire,” remembered fathers are “spruce acrobats” or “tender-hearted dandies.”

Something to think on …

My favorite books are a constantly changing list, but one favorite has remained constant: the dictionary. Is the word I want to use spelled practice or practise? The dictionary knows. The dictionary also slows down my writing because it is such interesting reading that I am distracted.
— Beverly Cleary, born on this date in 1916

No Mr. Niceguy …

Novelist James Jones Showed Grace in the Face of Hemingway’s Cruelty. (Hat tip, Jon Caroulis.)

… In 1950, the publisher Charles Scribner sent galleys of my father’s first novel, From Here to Eternity, to Hemingway, hoping for an endorsement. What Scribner got back was a letter so vile, so cruel, so ugly, it is still hard for me to believe Hemingway wrote it. He compares my father’s writing to snot, he calls him a phony and a coward (a wounded combat veteran of Guadalcanal!), and Hemingway ends by saying he hopes my father kills himself.

Worth considering …

… Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes — A true friend.

Hmm …

 21 must-read books that defined the 20th century | Kobo Blog. (Hat tip, Jon Caroulis.)

Word of the Day …

… Winkle | Word Genius.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

What an ass …

… David Hogg quits progressive pillow company, Twitter reactions - TheBlaze.

Do us all a favor, kid: Go the hell away.

Sad anniversary …

… Beyond 15135: President dies of massive cerebral hemorrhage.

Author's secrets …

 … Barbara Pym’s secret sexual awakening.

… The Adventures of Miss Barbara Pym by Paula Byrne – the ‘modern Jane Austen’?


(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I hope they win …

… Team Of Lawyers Suing WHO And Related Orgs. For Misleading World About COVID - The Lid.

Begging to differ …

 PEVEAR AND VOLOKHONSKY ARE INDEED OVERRATED: MY TWO ROUBLES. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

P&V seem to pride themselves on sticking close to the original. But the reason so many celebrated translators do not do so as diligently as they do is that languages differ in what means they use to convey concepts. This language conveys something with an adjective while that language needs a phrase for it. This language conveys something with a quiet resonance from a word while that language nails that something with an explicit suffix. This language expresses something which, rendered in that other language, sounds hopelessly affected or insincere and you have to work around it.

Hmm …

… Two extravagant exceptions among Mark Twain’s novels.

Word of the Day …

 Sockdolager | Word Genius.

Something to think on …

Money can't buy happiness, but neither can poverty.
— Leo Rosten, born on this date in 1908

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Ah, yes …

Our Flexible, Malleable Media.

While Trump was in office, it was all “kids in cages!” all the damn time. Now the kids in cages are back, but since it’s Biden, it’s not a bad thing anymore. In fact, it doesn’t seem to be a thing at all. Even Democrat politicians are publicly stating how bad and crowded things are, especially at the Donna facility in Texas. But Jen Psaki will have to “circle back” to that topic. Ted Cruz went down to see for himself (he is one of two senators from Texas, this is one of his areas of responsibility) and the Biden administration, excuse me, the Biden-HARRIS administration, sent some PR chick down to stand in front of Cruz’s phone as he was videoing the kids in cages. She tried to make it all his fault by repeating the intended-to-be-guilt-inducing mantra of “this isn’t a zoo, sir. Please have respect for the people.” All the while standing in front of literal cages with people laid out under space blankets looking like so many giant baked potatoes. Yep, lots of respect for their humanity there!

Worth considering …

 Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes — Never too old.

A strumming author …

… Beyond 15135: The story of Mark Twain and a Martin acoustic guitar.

And some more …

 

 Apr 8, 2021

COVID-19: Are Vaccines Amazing? Then Why the Hesitancy?

 Dear Frank​:

 With all adults soon to be eligible to get a “free vaccine,” and large efficient distribution centers in many areas, what are you waiting for?

 “Amazing” is the word that Dr. Monica Gandhi used in her 13-minute presentation on COVID-19 vaccines. Dr. Gandhi is a professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco and director of the UCSF Center for AIDS Research.

 COVID rates and deaths are decreasing—good news. Is it because of the warp-speed vaccine rollout? More than 168 million doses have been given in the U.S., and 18 percent of Americans are considered ”fully vaccinated” as of Apr 7.

 There are several potential reasons for falling rates of a respiratory disease: (1) springtime warmer temperatures and more sunlight; (2) Farr’s Law (epidemics rise and fall in roughly a bell-shaped curve); (3) herd immunity (a sufficient number of immune persons in the population likely to be exposed); (4) adoption of early effective treatment (mostly outside the U.S. and Western Europe).

 The shape of the curves of COVID-19 deaths in Israel (55% vaccinated) and South Africa (0.3% vaccinated) is roughly the same, as the first graphic shows).

 “Shocking” is the word others use for what they consider a mass experiment on the whole world without adequate consent, which would include the fact that long-term health consequences cannot yet be known.

 There is a spike in the number of post-vaccination deaths reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) as the graphic and chart show. Since 2011, 2,749 deaths associated with ALL vaccines have been reported, and nearly 64% of them have occurred soon after a COVID-19 jab. The CDC, however, does not find a causal relationship. People die or have strokes every day.

 The AstraZeneca vaccine has been paused, restarted, and then restricted to younger populations because of a rare type of clotting problem. The UK’s Yellow Card system shows that this problem has been associated far more frequently with the AstraZeneca vaccine than with the Pfizer product. All the COVID-19 vaccines are associated with reports of pulmonary emboli, brain bleeds, strokes, low platelets, other blood disorders, and many other adverse effects.

 NONE of these are listed on the “Fact Sheets” distributed at the time of vaccination.

 All these effects can occur with the COVID illness, so the argument is that the disease is worse than the vaccine. Therefore, people should protect themselves, and also altruistically protect others. Vaccines are supposed to do that, and Dr. Gandhi says that these do. The CDC, however, does not make this claim, stating that: “We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19.”

 There are many unknowns. But in making their decisions, people might consider that deaths from COVID are declining, and reports of deaths after vaccination are increasing. One particularly interesting experience is deaths in Irish nursing homes before, during, and after the vaccination campaign (see graphic below).

 

  

Jane M. Orient, M.D.

Executive Director, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons


Some facts …

 Apr 7, 2021

COVID-19: Is Your Mask Safe?

 Dear Frank​:

 Do you know what your mask is made of?

 Your mask will keep you from inhaling at least some infected droplets that are too large to get through the gaps, but at the price of inhaling whatever tiny particles are coming from the mask itself.

 Some worry that mask components may be the new asbestos, inhaled all day long from a source right in front of your nose.

 Health Canada has issued a warning about blue and gray disposable face masks, which contain an asbestos-like substance associated with “early pulmonary toxicity.” The SNN200642 masks, which are made in China and sold and distributed by a Quebec-based company called Métallifer, had been part of Canada’s public school reopening plan.

 The masks contain microscopic graphene particles. Graphene is a strong, very thin material. Some daycare educators had expressed concerns when children complained that they felt they were swallowing cat hair.

 A similar disposable mask, known as MC9501, was likewise recalled throughout Canada after 31.1 million had been distributed by government.

 Nearly all face masks increase the daily intake of microplastic fibers. Scientists first discovered microplastics in the lung tissue of some patients who died of lung cancer in the 1990s. Plastic degrades slowly, so once in the lungs it tends to stay there and build up. Some studies have found that the immune system can attack these foreign objects, causing prolonged inflammation that can lead to diseases such as cancer. Reused masks produced more loosened fibers.

 The nonwoven material in disposable surgical masks is melt-blown polypropylene plastic, which the masks can be shown to shed when examined under a microscope. Virus adhering to these microparticles can survive for days. The symptoms a surgeon experienced after wearing one such mask for four hours were like those he had had when working with fiberglass.

 Some masks contain fiberglass. One anesthesiologist said she can feel the fiberglass in the disposables and now only wears flimsy nylon masks.

 The mask that your child may be forced to wear likely does not meet National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) safety standards. What might it be doing to his little lungs?

 

 For more information on masks, see https://aapsonline.org/mask-facts/.

Jane M. Orient, M.D.

Executive Director, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons

The miracle of reading

… Zealotry of Guerin: Poetry and Fiction by Christopher Guerin: The Bookworm (Georg Schafer), Sonnet #558.

A genuine outsider …

… This Rare Spirit: A Life of Charlotte Mew by Julia Copus - review by Joanna Kavenna. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

She disliked literary parties, rebuffed influential people, including Ottoline Morrell, and had ‘an abhorrence of self-promotion’. She lived in Gordon Square without ever knowing her close neighbour Virginia Woolf or other members of the Bloomsbury Group.

The virtues of reading …

… The Literature of Wisdom and Enjoyment | The Russell Kirk Center. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… Prior organizes her book based on twelve essential virtues, calling to mind a sort of literature-based Nichomachean Ethics. It is this organizational structure that sets her book above standard literary criticism. Prior has paired polemics and narrative to both instruct and persuade. In each chapter, she uses a work of narrative fiction to extol and analyze the nature of each virtue, resulting in a work both entertaining and edifying.

You can read much of what Prior has to say about Cormac McCarthy’s The Road here (which Dave also sent along). As my review of  The Road indicates, I do not share her view.

Something to think on …

Rules and models destroy genius and art.
— William Hazlitt, born on this date in 1778

Word of the Day …

… Heuristic | Word Genius.

Friday, April 09, 2021

Very worth reading …

 … Open Letter: Call for a Full and Unrestricted International Forensic Investigation into the Origins of COVID-19.

“No solid justification is provided for why a ‘lab-related accident’ … should be considered ‘extremely unlikely,’” according to the scientists’ letter. “It is at best unclear whether the Chinese joint study team members had the leeway to express their fair evaluation of all hypotheses in the presence of Chinese government minders.”


Naturally, the Chinese government has denounced them.

An interesting Elizabethan …

… Nigeness: William Herbert.

Playful thought …

 ‘The Letters of Robert Frost’ Review: Poetry and Pressure. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

 What’s most continuous with earlier letters is a predilection for the playful, a term Frost himself endorsed: “Great thought, delicate thought, sinister thought, but in any case playful thought. It must be a play of thought to be a poem.” At times the play is pure, untouched by anything delicate or sinister, as when he assures the author of a guidebook to Vermont that he has read about every town once, and some twice, and advises him: “Next time put in more elevations. Nothing is so uplifting as the heights of small towns. The height of Peacham did me good.”

The poor dears …

… Students protest plan to stage Sartre’s classic ‘No Exit’ play: ‘it doesn’t allow us to feel safe’.

RIP …

… In Memoriam: James Yerkes | THE JOHN UPDIKE SOCIETY. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Not a license to fly …

 23 year old fellow from Missouri gets his pilot’s license.

Worth pondering

 Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes — The best way out …

Something to think on …

The person who’s in love with their vision of community will destroy community. But the person who loves the people around them will create community everywhere they go.
— Dierich Bonhoeffer, who died on this date in 1945

Happy birthday …

… The Ragpickers' Wine by Charles Baudelaire | Poetry Foundation. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Baudelaire was born 200 years ago today.

Word of the Day …

… Synecdoche | Word Genius.

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Worth pondering …

… Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes.

Q&A …

IN GOOD TASTE: MARILYN STASIO ON A LIFETIME OF BOOK REVIEWS GOOD TASTE: MARILYN STASIO. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

Even after being unceremoniously fired from her position (a move falsely announced as a retirement) in February, she remains buoyant when discussing books and writers she loves. Her knowledge of noir is encyclopedic, and it’s no wonder than her interest in crime began with her family’s set of encyclopedias. In our conversation, she was frank about how reviewing has changed, when to find beauty in the ugly, and why Agatha Christie is still the greatest.

Crime and Covid …

… Paul Davis On Crime: My Philadelphia Weekly 'Crime Beat' Column On The FBI And Cyber Crime.

Sounds about right …

… All-Star Game Moved From Atlanta To Uyghur Prison Camp Yard | The Babylon Bee. (Hat tip, Tim Davis.)

Plus ça change …

… Swift’s (and our) world: Complex and challenging.

Just so you know …

April 10 is Slow Art Day. Establishment Art Can’t Stand Up to Such Scrutiny.

The visual arts are in a crisis of relevance, largely due to dire mismanagement by our cultural institutions. Instead of being encouraged as a communion for all, for over a century many art administrators have favored art as a divider, an opportunity to flaunt elitist attitudes. Officially sanctioned art often emphasizes theoretical formal matters and sociological notions designed to exclude, rather than engage, the general public.

Recommended …

The best recent poetry – review roundup. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

RIP …

Denis Donoghue obituary: One of the world’s foremost scholars of modern literature. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

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

Hmm …

… Libertarian sci-fi author predicted current progressive-induced cultural failures over 60 years ago | The College Fix.

The society which Heinlein imagines in the book came about due to processes we see happening today: politicians who couldn’t care less about their constituents while enriching themselves, who use the military as cannon fodder for every conceivable non-military purpose, and a party which claims to care about “science” all the while relying on preposterous theories … the results of which have made society more dangerous.

Still posting after all these years …

… First Known When Lost: Poetry.

Today I discovered that this is my thousandth post.  Imagine that.  All of these poems, paintings, and stray thoughts sent out into the ether for eleven years.  To what end?  The beautiful particulars of the World noted in passing, and with gratitude.  And, speaking of gratitude: thank you, dear readers.

 No, thank you.

Word of the Day …

… Inosculate | Word Genius.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

And the finalists are

… The Finalists of the Bird Photographer of the Year 2021 Are Announced. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

These really are impressive.

Q&A …

 Ken Burns and Lynn Novick smash mythologies in 'Hemingway'. (Hat tip, Jon Caroulis.)

Listen in …

… Dana Gioia on Becoming an Information Billionaire (Ep. 119) | Conversations with Tyler. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Anniversary …

… ‘Tis time again for a celebration.

Recommended …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Hemingway: A Writer - Part-One Of The Three-Part Ken Burns and Lyn Kovick Documentary Series On Ernest Hemingway.

Something to think on …

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

Word of the Day …

… Staccato | Word Genius.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

In case you wondered …

 What's the truth about John's Gospel? | The Spectator. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… the gospel most beloved among laymen is also the most contested among scholars. For some, it is a uniquely illuminating, intimate piece of reportage on Christ’s life and passion. For others, it is a patchwork of evolved fabrications – eloquent, to be sure, but offering small tangible comfort. As one new worktreats in depth, even some evangelicals have fallen into the habit of treating John as the red-headed stepchild of gospels scholarship. To the cautious sceptic who asks where the truth of the matter lies, I would reply that while the case in John’s favour may be out of academic fashion, it nonetheless merits a fair hearfing.

Good …

… Councilman Squilla, 47 Italian-American Organizations File Civil Rights Suit Against Mayor Kenney Alleging Ethnic Discrimination | Big Trial | Philadelphia Trial Blog. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

Dim Kenney may well be the dumbest mayor in America.

Appreciation …

Translating Brodsky: On the Undeniable Legacy of George L. Kline (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)


Cynthia L. Haven Celebrates the Life and Work of an Unsung Translator and Intellectual

He was obviously not a superstar poet—such as Richard Wilbur, or Seamus Heaney, or Anthony Hecht, who also translated Brodsky’s poetry although they didn’t know Russian—but rather a Slavic scholar with a serious interest in poetry. This book shows how deep this philosopher’s commitment was, and that these poems were not the whimsy of a dilettante. His translations were important not only because they were the first, but because they tried to preserve, as Brodsky wished, the metrical and rhyme schemes of the original, often with surprising sensitivity and success.


Something to thing on …

The secret of my vigor and activity is that I have managed to have a lot of fun.
— Lowell Thomas, born on this date in 1892

Remembering …

… Meet me at Mary’s Place… (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Word of the Day …

… Fettle | Word Genius.

Appreciation …

Bye-bye, NY. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

… I’ve long held a torch for Mathews’s poetry, which I first encountered through Armenian Papers: Poems 1954-84 and a pamphlet from 1974, The Planisphere. The early poems are filtered through a Mediterranean dazzle, featuring a pastoral locus amoenus closely associated with marriage, as in ‘The Pines at Son Beltran’, where ‘the high pines bend/Seaward in slow acknowledgment of mountain wind’ and a ‘square stone’ table is ‘set with blue figs’. 

Sounds interesting …

Medieval English society, culture, and politics come to life in this 2006 mystery: The Sempster’s Tale.

Monday, April 05, 2021

Get to work …

 

(Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

Blogging note …

 Your faithful blogger is not feeling well. No, not Covid. Cardiovascular problems. Am waiting to hear from my cardiologist.

Smiles and a wise decision …

… Beyond 15135: Benjamin Franklin, the open letter, and a postponement.

Something to think on …

Great men cultivate love...only little men cherish a spirit of hatred.
— Booker T. Washington, born on this date in 1856

Word of the Day …

… Vulgate | Word Genius.

Very interesting …

… Marly Youmans / The Palace at 2:00 a.m. / poems, stories, novels: Celebrating Easter with three makers--. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Just so you know …

… The Best Books on Virgil | Five Books Expert Recommendations. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Sunday, April 04, 2021

Blogging note …

 I am going to be spending the with my daughter Jennifer and her family. Blogging will resume maybe tonight.

Getting to know her …

Elizabeth Barrett Browning: your guide to the poet’s life, work and love. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.) 

Together at last …

Florida, Boo Bou, Mitch Kaplan, Michael Dirda…

In case you wondered …

… Beyond 15135: Why the rabbit could lay eggs (thanks to Eostre).

He is risen …

 

Emmaus
And it came to pass, whilst he was at table with them, he took bread, and blessed, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him: and he vanished out of their sight. 

He appeared to us that day to disappear 
The moment that he broke the bread,
A moment still encompassing our lives,
Drawing to itself, like a magnet at once
Minute and infinitely strong, our present,
Past and future, so that the choking dust
Along the road, the splinters on the benches
At the inn, the glare and scorching of the sun 
That afternoon have shaped and shaded
Every moment ever since. He disappeared
Into the moment, into the bread, into us,

Nourishing time with its absence.

Something to think on …

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.
— Maya Angelou, born on this date in 1928

Word of the Day …

… Simpatico | Word Genius.

Saturday, April 03, 2021

Indeed …

 … In defense of Flannery O’Connor. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

O’Connor let the skeletons out. Her stories skewered the bigotry around her but she didn’t spare herself. Her stories are just as confessional as they are judgmental, and doesn’t absolution follow from confession? Perhaps Fr Brian Linnane thinks some sins, like racism, are irredeemable. But if so, it’s not just O’Connor he’s denying, it’s Christ.


In case you wondered …

… Marcus DiPaola is Not a Journalist.

Mark thy calendar …

… Moonstone Poetry @PhillyCAM: The Spiritual in Poetry with Leonard Gontarek Tickets, Tue, Apr 6, 2021 at 6:30 PM | Eventbrite.

In time for Easter …

… Religious vision in Flannery O’Connor’s fiction.

RIP …

… April the giraffe who became internet sensation in 2017 euthanized after suffering from arthritis | Daily Mail Online.

Hmm …

Cynthia Ozick Calls the New Philip Roth Biography a ‘Narrative Masterwork’.  (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A biographer’s ingenuity, and certainly Bailey’s, is to mold mere chronology — a heap of undifferentiated facts and events — into more than trajectory: into coherent theme. As in a novel, what is seen at first to be casual chance is revealed at last to be a steady and powerfully demanding drive. A beginning attraction may be erotic happenstance; its fulfillment in marriage can be predictable hell, and for Roth not once but twice. The same holds for his most inflammatory fiction, as when the playfully priapic young Portnoy becomes in time the chaotically disintegrating satyr Mickey Sabbath of “Sabbath’s Theater.” It is Sabbath who personifies the meaning of Roth’s imagination: the will to “affront and affront and affront till there was no one on earth unaffronted.” Yet to apply platitudes such as épater la bourgeoisie as either a dominating motive or a defining motif of Roth’s work is to fall into undercooked language. His overriding intent is nothing less than to indict humanity’s archenemy, whose name is Nemesis (also the title of Roth’s final novel). “No,” Roth’s fictional avatar argues in “Operation Shylock,” “a man’s character isn’t his fate; a man’s fate is the joke that his life plays on his character.”