Thursday, September 30, 2021

Sharing what they've seen …

… REVIEW: THREE GREAT ESSAY COLLECTIONS ILLUSTRATE THE POWER OF NOTICING THE WORLD. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Family matters …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Lessons From Dad: My Philadelphia Weekly Crime Beat Column On Republican Candidate For Philly DA Chuck Peruto And The Lessons Learned From His Father, A. Charles Peruto, Sr.

And the nominees are …

… The Petrona Award: The Petrona Award 2021 - Shortlist. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Catholic wong-balls …

… The American Pageant: The forgotten story of the Christian Front.

Coughlin was never spoken well of at any of the Catholic schools I attended. The attitudes I encountered ranged from embarrassment to outright hostility. I think that is still true.

Appreciation …

… Reading Walter de la Mare, edited by William Wootten book review. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

De la Mare … as Wootten argues, often seems to be “less interested in the thing itself than in the effect it happens to produce”, a Symbolist poetics that fosters mystery as a stylistic equivalent to the pervasive theme of otherness. Modernism might have seen poets like de la Mare as escapist, retreating from a direct engagement with objective reality, but as this often metaphysical poet illustrates, the imaginative world has its own veracity, seeking to offer not absolute truths but intuitive ones. Looked at like this, de la Mare’s fascination with childhood (and, in many cases, his desire to write poems that could be enjoyed by children and adults alike), seems less a regress than a deeply felt belief that this period was “the fullest of life”, one where “imagination and perception were more acute and alive than they could be again”. De la Mare might even be considered a discreet Surrealist, occasionally anachronistic but of a mind with André Breton’s claim that “childhood is the only reality”.

 

In case you wondered …

… Arguing about justice - If Marx or Freud had never lived? - Presses universitaires de Louvain.

We certainly wouldn't notice their absence.

An infamous day …

… The American Pageant: Of mice and men.

Something to think on …

Whenever you are alone, remind yourself that God has sent everyone else away so that there is only you and Him.
— Rumi, born on this date in 1207

Devoutly to be wished …

… Nigeness: 'To re-enchant the view'. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

One of the themes of Scruton's short but dense book, as it is of England: An Elegy, is 'enchantment'. For a people with a reputation for prosaic common sense, the English, he argues, have been peculiarly prone to investing the most commonplace realities with an air of magic, mystique, enchantment. In An Elegy, Scruton speaks frequently of 'the enchantment that lay over England' (note past tense). 

In case you wondered …

Q&A with Arika Okrent, author of Highly Irregular: Why Tough, Through, and Dough Don’t Rhyme—and Other Oddities of the English Language. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I think people generally know, and accept, that language changes, but a lot of the illogical bits in language come from the fact that language also stays the same. Certain parts resist the change around them and they become fossils, part of the language today, but stuck with the forms of a previous era. Language is two opposing things at once: an infinitely creative tool for expressing any kind of meaning that comes along in the world, and a very conservative tradition that must be stable enough to pass from one generation to the next. We are able to say things that have never been said before, while most of the time repeating the same things over and over again. The repetition embeds and entrenches habits. The creativity introduces departures from the habits. It needs to be both. It’s amazing that it’s both!

Wow …

Stunning Photographs of the Ocean Photography Awards 2021 Finalists. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Word of the Day …

… Erumpent | Word Genius.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

The past is present again …

… Hoovervilles across the nation — then and now.

Priceless …

New York Atheists Claim Religious Exemption From Vaccine After Governor Claims That It’s From God.

This is more than just worrisome …

YouTube is banning prominent anti-vaccine activists and blocking all anti-vaccine content.

Apparently YouTube thinks it need not obey the First Amendment. Twitter and Facebook and Google apparently feel the same way. Punitive action should be taken against all if them.


Maybe they should have gone on the air with him …

… and provided rational arguments against what he had to say: Campus Reform | PPU students petition to remove classmate from campus after Fox News interview.

Blogging note …

I have to take Debbie to a doctor's appointment. Blogging will resume whenever.

Going to college to become ignorant …

… Remembering what campus cancel culture has purged | The College Fix.

In case you wondered …

… Why you should read Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic story.

In praise of a master …

… A World Outside Time: Pico Iyer on the Deep Pleasure of Handel’s Chorale Music. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

  • Handel has been my unexpected companion, across several continents, for thirty years now. It feels strange to say that because if my friends were asked, they’d likely tell you that I listen to Jackson Browne and Joni Mitchell, to Springsteen and U2, and in recent times to my wife’s beloved Green Day. My colleagues recall how close I was to a boyhood hero who became in time a boon companion, Leonard Cohen, whose liner notes I used to write. But my private joy, known only to my wife, perhaps, is George Frideric Handel, and in particular the choral music.

The New Criterion after 40 years …

 … The Permanent War for Culture. (Hat tip,  Dave Lull.)

The Critical Temper contains four sections of essays: One excoriates venerated figures and notions, one celebrates artists who have divided opinion, one explores the importance of our Anglosphere patrimony, and one gathers pieces that do not quite fit into the other categories. Ayn Rand, kitsch, V. I. Lenin, and the 1619 Project get a proper seeing-to; Harry Flashman, Madame Bovary, P. G. Wodehouse, and Edmund Burke are heaped with laurels. 

Something to think on …

Fascism is cured by reading, and racism is cured by traveling.
— Miguel de Unamuno, born on this date in 1864

Word of the Day …

… Piedmont | Word Genius.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

We’re working on another …

The American Pageant: A shameful chapter in American history. As Mark Twain said: “Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”

Winner and finalists …

… Poem: “For the Celts”
This poem is the winner of Plough’s 2021 Rhina Espaillat Poetry Award.


Poem;   “The Hunger Winter, 1944–5”
(The Netherlands)

This poem was a finalist for Plough’s 2021 Rhina Espaillat Poetry Award:

Poem: “Wreathmaking”

This poem was a finalist for Plough’s 2021 Rhina Espaillat Poetry Award.

(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)




In search of Holmes …

… Miscellaneous Musings : On the trail of Sherlock Holmes.

How very sad …

… JazzProfiles: BILL EVANS: Suicide Was Painful. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Appearances are seldom deceiving to the clear-eyed observer, and Peter Pettinger writes frankly in his fine new biography of what was no secret to Evans's appalled colleagues: The most influential jazz pianist of the past half-century was addicted to drugs -- first heroin, then cocaine -- for much of his adult life. He picked up the habit in 1958 as a member of Miles Davis's sextet, and despite occasional interludes of sobriety, it stayed with him, finally leading to his death in 1980. Pettinger, who died last month, was an English concert pianist who began listening to Evans as a teen-ager. He is as interested in his playing as his private life; his book is packed with so much shrewd critical commentary that it reads at times more like an annotated discography than a biography. But ''Bill Evans: How My Heart Sings'' is also the first full-length biography of Evans, and most readers will doubtless pay special attention to the grisly mparticulars of what the writer Gene Lees, who knew him well, tersely called ''the longest suicide in history.''

I’ve done my share of drugs, including the hard ones. I had a craving for experience. I used to tell my friends that the point of the drug game is not to be dead. A lot of them lost.

Self-made Man …


… the diminutive (5’2″), determined and affable Man Ray seemed to make friends with and be accepted as major player by everyone – at least in Paris. As for copying his work, he insisted that it’s the concept informing a work that matters, not the resulting hardware. Both he and Marcel Duchamp, the originator of Readymades and his lifelong friend and early collaborator, reproduced their art for sale as they aged. Man Ray said, “I have no compunction about this — an important book or musical score is not destroyed by burning it … An original is a creation motivated by desire. Any reproduction of an originals motivated be necessity. It is marvelous that we are the only species that creates gratuitous forms. To create is divine, to reproduce is human.”

He was born here in South Philly, but his family moved to Brooklyn when he was about 7. 

In case you wondered …

 10 Rules for Musicians (and Everybody Else) on How to Deal with Criticism - by Ted Gioia - The Honest Broker. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I know how it feels to be on the receiving end of these journalistic exercises. This unwanted education has made me a better critic, or at least a less clumsy and heavy-handed one.

A few days after Cormac McCarthy won the Pulitzer Prize for The Road, a piece of mine saying it was a really lousy book appeared in The Inquirer. I had not intended to write about it. I don’t especially like writing negative reviews. But the paperback of The Road had just arrived in my office and I had been paging through it and reading passages I thought underwhelming to my boss, who then begged me to write about it. So  I did. So for a while I could tell friends to Google “Wilson Cormac Inquirer, asshole” so they could be entertained by all the people calling me an asshole for writing what I had about a book they thought was great. If they were trying to hurt my feelings, they failed. I had no affect regarding what they had said. Here is the review.

Anniversary …

… Miscellaneous Musings : One tough old bird: Edith Pargeter.

Something to think on …

A hundred years ago Hester Prynne of The Scarlet Letter was given an A for adultery; today she would rate no better than a C-plus.
— Peter De Vries, who died on this date in 1993

Word of the Day …

… Benison | Word Genius.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Dear Adolf …

… The American Pageant: FRD writes to Hitler regarding threat of war in Europe.

A site worth knowing …

… Ed Watch Daily | Watching the Education Apocalypse in Slow Motion.

No ordinary spud …

… The American Pageant: Remembering Mr. Potato Head.

Minimal blogging today …

 I have to take Debbie to a doctor's appointment and other things are interfering.

In case you wondered …

… Paul Davis On Crime: My Crime Fiction: "What's In A Nickname?".

Something to think on …

 The test of every religious, political, or educational system is the man that it forms.

— Henri-Frédéric Amiel, born on this date in 1821

Word of the Day …

… Rimose | Word Genius.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Something to think on …

Everyone gets the experience. Some get the lesson.
— T. S. Eliot, born on this date in 1888

One of the masters …

… Frank Sinatra: Chairman of the Board and Boss of Bossa Nova - WSJ. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

As remarkable as their TV appearance was, it is their studio recordings (which have been collected on a two-CD set called “Francis Albert Sinatra/Antônio Carlos Jobim: The Complete Reprise Recordings”) that show them at their very best. Perhaps the finest is “Dindi,” for which Ray Gilbert wrote an English-language version whose romantic opening lines seize the ear: “Sky, so vast is the sky / With faraway clouds just wandering by. . . . / Wind that speaks to the leaves, / Telling stories that no one believes.” Sinatra sings them accompanied only by Jobim’s guitar, and the wide-eyed tenderness with which he gives voice to their ardor—he sounds like a much younger man—is unforgettable.

“My Way” or the Highway? (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

 America wanted a song like “My Way,” and there was only one person who could sing it the way it needed to be sung. Perhaps the only surprise is that Sinatra didn’t actually compose it. “My Way” borrows the music of "Comme d'habitude," a French song with more conventional love lyrics. Paul Anka acquired the English adaptation rights, and wrote new lyrics—but with Sinatra specifically in mind. (Are you surprised?).

I never had a problem with Sinatra, probably because Ive been listening to him since I was little kid in the '40s. What was it Jack Kerouac — another fan — said of him, that he taught American singers how to singAmerican?

 


Whe TV was a vast wasteland …

… The American Pageant: Remembering classic TV in the 1950s.

I remember most of the se. I certainly remember the Ernie Kovacs show. It started here in Philly.

In memoriam …

…'What I Owe You—Measured Praise'. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Word of the Day …

… Oology | Word Genius.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

The whims of fashion …

 John Updike and the Politics of Literary Reputation | City Journal. (Hat tip, Dave Lull,)
Updike’s self-effacing public manner now looks like a tactical error in the long game of literary reputation. Philip Roth and Toni Morrison never tired of singing the song of themselves—and why not, in the end, when the world is so crowded and busy? It’s not that Updike was modest about his talent; it’s simply that he embodied the cultural style we associate with American Protestantism. The vanquishing of that once-dominant mode has contributed to a growing incomprehension of Updike’s work.


I always liked Updike's essays, but I never really got to know his fiction because, when I read Rabbit, Run in college I just didn't like it.

Dragons and us …

Two of “Nine Dragons” (Chen Rong), Sonnet #581.

Those were the days …

… The American Pageant: Remembering The Goldbergs.

Something to think on …

People need trouble - a little frustration to sharpen the spirit on, toughen it. Artists do; I don't mean you need to live in a rat hole or gutter, but you have to learn fortitude, endurance. Only vegetables are happy.
— William Faulkner, born on this date in 1897

A feast day …

… The Word and the words: a sonnet for Lancelot Andrewes | Malcolm Guite. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Word of the Day …

… Roborant | Word Genius.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Those were the days …

… The American Pageant: Remembering Leave It To Beaver.

Drugs in Philly …

… Paul Davis On Crime: The Billion Dollar Bust: My Philadelphia Weekly Crime Beat Column On Historic Drug Bust In Philadelphia.

God bless her …

… Birthday Wishes and Greetings for Norma Winstone at 80. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

This is a real eye-opener …

30 facts you NEED to know: Your Covid Cribsheet. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I have been saying for quite a while that the backlash against Covid scaremongering was soon to come. It is actually happening sooner than I thought. If anything has demonstrated how shoddy our media has become, this episode does. They used to disparage tabloid journalism. What passes for journalism today makes those old tabloids look amazingly thorough and accurate.

The dumbest generation …

… Overwhelming majority of college students say shouting down a speaker is acceptable: survey | The College Fix.

Especially when you have no sound arguments to counter what is being said.

A very worthwhile revival …

‘A Phoenix Too Frequent’ Review: Comedy Rises From the Ashes. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)


 “A Phoenix Too Frequent” runs for 80 minutes without an intermission, but while it is sometimes performed with a companion curtain-raiser, it doesn’t need one to make you feel that you’ve gotten your money’s worth of pleasure. The enjoyment of the audience present at this performance was palpable, and you’ll appreciate their “company” as you watch: They definitely get Fry’s jokes.


The beautiful  young lady I took to my senior prom in college had just starred as Helen of Troy in Tiger at the Gates, Christopher Fry's adaptation of Jean Giraudoux's The Trojan War Will Not Take Place. She has probably long since forgotten me, but I have never forgotten her.

Blogging note …

 I have to be out and about early today to run some errands. Blogging will resume this afternoon.

Something to think on …

I like men to behave like men. I like them strong and childish.
— Françoise Sagan, who died on this date in 2004

Not that Florida …

… Miscellaneous Musings : Pull off the road long enough to read the signs in Florida.

Word of the Day …

… Selvage | Word Genius.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

A new literary landmark …

… Miscellaneous Musings : And so it goes for Kurt Vonnegut.

Drama disguised as autobiography …

ACT ONE,’ BY MOSS HART. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Now that I’ve finished Act One, 
it seems clear why Hart “edited” this scene of his life. The whole book is a lesson in storytelling. The truth spoiled the mood of the act, so he fixed it, as a good playwright does.

I remember seeing Moss Hart on the Jack Paar show. Always a fascinating guest. 

In case you wondered …

How important is the conductor?

This is really scary …

… Why Do Doctors Go Along with COVID Panic Porn and CDC Prescriptions? - American Thinker. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Maybe it’s time to get the government out of medicine.

Something to think on …

Ours is a problem in which deception has become organized and strong; where truth is poisoned at its source; one in which the skill of the shrewdest brains is devoted to misleading a bewildered people.
— Walter Lippmann, born on this date in 1889

Well, they’ve been programmed …

… and have not been taught how to think critically: New Study: 56% Of Young People Think 'Humanity Is Doomed' - Climate Change Dispatch.

This from Henry Gee’s new book, A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth: 4.6 Billion Years in 12 Chapters:

‘life on Earth, with all its drama, all its comings and goings, is governed by just two things. One of them is a slow decline in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The other is the steady increase in the brightness of the Sun.’

In case you wondered …

Dana Gioia on Why Ray Bradbury is So Essential. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

What you see in American literature is a really interesting moment. You have a fellow who didn’t go to college. That’s probably the only reason that Bradbury was able to be this innovative; he just made it up on his own. He read the books that he wanted to in the order he wanted to, and he began to write children’s literature, which is to say, pulp science fiction. For ten years, ten of the most extraordinary years in the history of fantasy or science fiction, he wrote seven books—six of them are short story collections, one of them is a novel—in which, for the first time in American literature, somebody brought the subtlety and psychological insight of high culture fiction into science fiction without losing the imagination of science fiction.



Hmm …

… A reflection on covid mania - Sebastian Rushworth M.D.

Peter Goetzche argued in his book, “Deadly medicines and organized crime”, that no-one should take a new drug that’s been on the market for less than seven years, in light of the fact that it often takes that long for dangers to become known and dangerous drugs to be pulled off the market. In recent months, we’ve learned that the Astra-Zeneca vaccine can cause deadly blood clots in the brain, and we’ve learned that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines can cause myocarditis. The authorities say that these events are extremely rare, based on the number of events that are reported to the authorities. But this ignores the fact that most adverse events don’t get reported.

Hmm …

… Top 10 novels of the 1930s | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Just off the too my head, I think that The Grapes of Wrath, The Good Earth, Light in August, Gone With the Wind were also published in the 1930s.

The perfect family …

… The American Pageant: Remembering The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.

Word of the Day …

… Anthesis | Word Genius.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

In case you wondered …

Miscellaneous Musings : Why Leo Tolstoy hated William Shakespeare.

Interesting …

The Native American Roots of the U.S. Constitution - JSTOR Daily. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Writing in 1751, Franklin argued that:

It would be a very strange Thing, if six Nations of ignorant Savages [sic] should be capable of forming a Scheme for such a Union, and be able to execute it in such a Manner as that it has subsisted Ages, and appears indissoluble; and yet a like Union should be impractical for ten or a Dozen English Colonies[…]

The moon as never before seen …

… Magical Moon Photo Made up of Over 50,000 Individual Images | Moss and Fog. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Hmm …

… Why We Need Jane Austen More Than Ever | Circe Institute. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The only one of Austen’s novels that I have read is Pride and Prejudice. It was a class assignment. I know I passed the test. The world she depicts was utterly different from the world that I knew, and her book did not make me want to know more of that world. I suppose I should read her again sometime before I shuffle off my mortal coil.

Another grim anniversary …

… The American Pageant: Eight more innocent citizens murdered by religious zealots.

Mystical garden …

… Miscellaneous Musings : Emily Dickinson's "When I count the seeds".

Life will go on, even without us …

… as it has before:  Nigeness: Review. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.’

… a review of a mind-boggling new book by Henry Gee, A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth: 4.6 Billion Years in 12 Chapters

Something to think on …

How can a man who has once strayed into Heaven ever hope to make terms with the earth!
— Alain-Fournier, who died on this date in 1914

A lock of hair …

 A poem by Stephen Yenser, from his collection STONE FRUIT (2016). (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Emily Dickinson said of herself:  “I… am small, like the wren; and my hair is bold, like the chestnut burr; and my eyes, like the sherry in the glass that the guest leaves.”

Taking on bigotry …

Will Herberg’s 1949 “Commentary” review of Paul Blanshard’s notorious “American Freedom and Catholic Power.”  

Word of the Day …

… Pia | Word Genius.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

A classic review …

… When C.S. Lewis Reviewed His Buddy’s Book… The Hobbit. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A mystery of locks …

The Curious Case of a Great Poet’s Hair.

Probably because I first resd her when I was in my teens, her poems have always seemed clear, devoid of artifice, just nites on being.

Creative editing …

 … Stevie Smith changes a line. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In case you wondered …

… The American Pageant: Who "invented" the TV dinner?

Hmm …

… Walking the Delicate Line Between Reporter and Activist. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I think one should decide which it is one wants to be — a reporter or an activist. 
News is news. Opinion is opinion. Most papers have sections for both. The twain should never meet.

Something to think on …

There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in.
— Leonard Cohen, born on this date in 1934

Word of the Day …

… Buttle | Word Genius.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Vast learning and peacocks …

Letters reveal depths of Flannery’s faith and friendships.

Grim annoevrsary …

… 20 September 1565 — French massacred in N. America.

A great farewell …

… Boston Bids Adieu - BallNine.

Dealing with the daily distractions …

… First Known When Lost: No, Thank You.

 As always, one should attend to one's soul.  Where does one start?  Best to return to the solitary maple tree in the clearing among the pines. Everything begins and ends with a single beautiful particular.

Disappointing …

… The Egotistic Mind | The Russell Kirk Center. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… just as Saad gains some momentum in his sixth chapter, the next chapter, “How to Seek Truth: Nomological Networks of Cumulative Evidence,” is an enormous letdown. In it, he shoehorns so much of his research on sexual differences and Islamic extremism, proving that that men and women are different and that Islam lends itself to violence. Somehow, Saad believes that using evidence across disciplines will do the trick of convincing the other side, as though no one else has tried this already.

Anniversary …

… Miscellaneous Musings / Books: Remembering Upton Sinclair and The Jungle.

Something to think on …

All poetry has to do is to make a strong communication. All the poet has to do is listen. The poet is not an important fellow. There will also be another poet.
— Stevie Smith, born on this date in 1902

Word of the Day …

… Gemütlich | Word Genius.

The pronunciation given is wrong. The u has an umlaut. It’s more like gemeetlich.

That’s for sure …

Edward Gannon, SJ (one of the good guys).

I just came upon this while doing an internet search. At what was then St. Joseph’s College, Father Gannon was one of my philosophy professors. He was also my confessor. And my mentor. 

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Off to Sicily with Andrea Camilleri …

Miscellaneous Musings / Books: A tour through Inspector Salvo Montalbano's Sicily and the life and works of an Italian mystery icon.

Interesting …

… Quantum Physics, Eastern Spirituality, and Christianity | by Graham Pemberton | Sep, 2021 | Medium

If memory serves, Werner Heisenberg was practicing Lutheran

Hmm …

For Constitution Day, Let's Toast the Losers of the Convention | History News Network. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

On Constitution Day, I say drink a toast to the losers. After all, some of them agitated for a Bill of Rights, a proposal that was rejected by the framers in September of 1787. Let us study their criticisms of our imperfect system. Imagine what might have been and what might be as the republic suffers in a realm of political dysfunction caused in no small part by our odd framework of government.

In Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum, the notion is advanced that conclusion arrived at by means of a counterfactual proposition is always correct precisely because the premise is false. If that had not happened, then … whatever.



Not a good idea …

… “Brideshead Regained” Again. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I cannot imagine what would prompt anyone to enter into competition with Evelyn Waugh.

Mystery in the mountains …

… Miscellaneous Musings: Books: Mysteries set in the high country of the American West.

From today’s newspaper of record …

… Trump Wows Met Gala Crowd In 'Rigged Election' Dress | The Babylon Bee.

Something to think on …

I am astonished at the ease with which uninformed persons come to a settled, a passionate opinion when they have no grounds for judgment.
— William Golding, born on this date in 1912

Word of the Day …

… Rimple | Word Genius.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

The new ‘journalism’ …

Ralph Nader: What Gives With Newspapers’ Graphic Artists? (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Where Sam Clemens became Mark Twain …

… Mark Twain’s San Francisco.

In case you wondered …

… How the Bible Means | Comment Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… Mullins argues that we need to train young readers to recover the pleasurable delight in encountering the subtleties of language, the repetition, the imagery, the narrative arc . . . the literariness of Scripture. This is not just a better form of reading, but a way of loving communion with the God who breathes and inspires the truth in his authoritative Scripture. Good reading is a full-bodied encounter.

Open for submissions …

… About | North of Oxford.

The pyramid and circle of the mind …

… Zealotry of Guerin: Poetry and Fiction by Christopher Guerin: Altarpiece No. 1 (Hilma af Klint), Sonnet #579.

Something to think on …

Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.
— Samuel Johnson, born on this date in 1709

Heartbreaking …

Gutting the House. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Fascinating …

… Photographing the Microscopic: Winners of Nikon Small World 2021 - The Atlantic. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

The new racism …

Woke English Opera Fires 14 White Musicians for Having Wrong Skin Color.

A writer’s adventures …

… The American Pageant: Aloha, Mark Twain!

Q&A …

… An Interview With Leading Poet and Petrarch Translator A.M. Juster. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In college I wrote the poetry that Big Poetry was promoting, but eventually found it unsatisfying and stopped writing poetry altogether for about a decade. In my 30s, I realized that I could write the kind of poetry I loved rather than the poetry that others wanted me to love, so that’s what I set out to do.

Word of the Day …

… Avidity | Word Genius.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Well, I guess so …

Winning the Game You Didn’t Even Want to Play: On Sally Rooney and the Literature of the Pose.  (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I’m not really familiar with a lot of the writers mentioned (though I did review Martin Amis’s Koba the Dread and House of Meetings) so I don’t really get a lot of it and don’t much care.

How about honoring the one we already have …

… The American Pageant: We the people formed a government on 17 September 1787, and now might be the right time to form a better one.

Anniversary …

… The American Pageant: A poem is a complete little universe.

Something to think on …

The job of the poet is to use language effectively, his own language, the only language which is to him authentic.
— William Carlos Williams, born on this date in 1883

Not this, not that …

Lao Tzu’s negative theology. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

There is paradox here, but no contradiction.  What Lao Tzu is telling us is that while of course the Tao can be named or spoken of in onesense – that’s the point of saying what we’ve so far heard him say, after all – what we are speaking about is something that ultimately cannot adequately be captured in language, because it is so radically unlike the temporary, changing, differentiated, dependent things of our experience.  In that sense it is nameless.  The best we can do is to suggest the ways in which it is not like the things of our experience – it is not temporary, not changing, not differentiated, not dependent, and so on.

It is perhaps worth taking note of the Chinese translation of John’s Gospel: “In the beginning was the Tao, and the Tao was with God, and the Tao was God.” Regarding anthropomorphism, it seems to me that the Incarnation is as anthropomorphic as it gets.

Profile of a lowlife …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Stolen Valor: My Philadelphia Weekly Crime Beat Column On A Fake Navy SEAL Who Stole From The VA.

Word of the Day …

Scumble | Word Genius.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

RIP …

Jane Powell has died at 92 … actress appeared in musical classics such as Royal Wedding and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Our town …

… A walk through the city - George Hunka. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A walk through Philadelphia’s streets and alleys exposes the walker to an art, history, and domesticity that validates the walker as an individual, with individual quirks, histories, and significance himself. Apart from Center City, little of Philadelphia rises above four or five stories high. As Bourdain’s visit and my own experience prove, that ground-level appeal is consequently not limited to the city’s architectural features. The Mural Art Project and Isaiah Zagar’s colorful mosaics can be experienced throughout the 142 square miles of the city limits, stopping the solitary walker in his tracks. It is a rare route through the city that fails to traverse cobblestone streets and two-century-old buildings that remind the walker of the city’s and the nation’s history. And the longer one stays in the city, the more frequently one comes across ghostly reminiscences of their own history: after drinks at Dirty Frank’s and visits to Independence Park, the walker begins to see the city as a mirror of their own experience, as an individual, as a Philadelphian, as an American. One senses one’s own paradoxically ghostly permanence as the city itself curates its own history.

This is a really fine piece, and I say that who has walked all over the place. (I feel obliged to mention, though, that Frank Rizzo’s black bodyguards thought the world of him.)


In case you wondered …

… The American Pageant: Why did those religious radicals come to North America?

Appreciation …

Belfast’s best-kept secret. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… Moore retains the tart flavour of a well-kept secret. He is not under-rated exactly, nor does he merit the backhanded compliment “writer’s writer” (unless the writer in question is Graham Greene, who called Moore his favourite living novelist). He is, rather, under-read and certainly under-kept-in-print: only about a third of his 20 novels are easy to find at any time. Luckily, enterprising publisher Turnpike Books is marking his centenary this month by reissuing three of his longest-unavailable novels, including one of his best.

Memory and time …

… a book review by Elissa Greenwald: Vladimir Nabokov's Speak, Memory: Bookmarked. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Birkerts’ close reading of Nabokov teases out patterns from the dense and meditative prose of the older writer’s work. The opening section deals with the nature of time, showing how Nabokov embeds future moments in early ones. In particular, his nostalgic recollections of childhood innocence foreshadow later events which will disrupt it, such as his father’s sudden death. Brief intimations of later moments in elaborately described early experiences suggest the malleability of time as held in memory.

Blake and Dante …

… William Blake's 102 Illustrations of The Divine Comedy Collected in a Beautiful Book from Taschen | Open Culture. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Blake did not read the Divine Comedy as a medieval Catholic believer but as a visionary 18th and 19th century English artist and poet who invented his own religion. He “taught himself Italian in order to be able to read the original” and had a “ complex relationship” with the text, writes Dante scholar Silvia De Santis.

Something to think on …

At a certain stage in his evolution, man himself had been able to lay hold upon a higher order of things, which raised him above the level of the beasts that perish, and enabled him to see, at least in the distance, the shining towers of the City of God.
— Alfred Noyes, born on this date in 1880

Word of the Day …

… Immanent | Word Genius.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Hmm …

… American Character(s), British Lingo, II. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I’ve learned after all these years that the differences between American and British language are very many and often very subtle, and thus it’s extremely difficult for an American to provide 100% convincing dialogue for a Brit, and vice versa. Klara and the Sun proves the point.

Maybe I’ve read too many books by Brits, but some of these sound to me  as much American as British. I use clever and others have even used it of me. Certainly Americans sometimes give it a go. But the point is well taken. If I ever wrote a novel, I would make sure all the characters were American. I’d also be careful about regional characters.

 

Sleeping around …

… The American Pageant: George Washington slept here, there, and down the road.

The bishop and the comedian …

… Death on a Wednesday: John Shelby Spong and Norm McDonald | Anne Kennedy. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

You might think that after thousands of years of coming up too soon and getting frozen, the crocus family would have had a little sense knocked into it.
— Robert Benchley, born on this date in 1889

Unfortunate anniversary …

… The American Pageant: President dies of infection from gunshot wounds.

Word of the Day …

… Eureka | Word Genius.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

I wouldn't be surprised …

… THE ATLANTICAre Pandemic Hospitalization Numbers Misleading Us?

Just like any other successful virus, COVID-19 is becoming more contagious but less dangerous …



Tracking the decline …

The Black Mark of a Bachelor’s Degree.


… if you look at colleges generally, what do you get? Outside of those few departments like the applied sciences, where practical results condemn failure to the garbage can, or mathematics, where proof is proof and wishing doesn’t make it so, higher education is not education at all. It is a racket. I mean the word in its strict sense. The colleges have positioned themselves as the owners of the only bridge across an impassable river. If you want a good job, they say, you have to go through us, and we, with government enablers and enforcers, will make you mortgage yourself over the gables for the privilege.

I had a great time in college and when I visited my alma mater when I was The Inquirer’s book editor it seemed pretty much the place I knew. But I recently learned it may be going woke.

The poetry of argument …

Dialectism Sonnet




Dialectism is the existence

Of 2 phonemes weaving together

Laws coexist regardless of distance

Example: hot and cold in the weather

There is Form and Matter in everything

All Matter has Form, But not all Form does

For the a Cappella singer sings

All Form precedes Matter and Whole because

There is a divine order in the world

Even chaos is a deviation

Anouk is life: Sapien boy or girl

Everything is woven to formation

Is there free will indeterminism?

Even that is a whole algorithm 


— Benjamin Knox


How could that be?

 Detroit News Station’s Appeal For Stories About Unvaccinated Loved Ones Dying of COVID Gets an Unexpected Response.

Thousands of Facebook users shared stories describing alarming vaccine side effects, or posted about fully vaxed loved ones dying of the coronavirus. The viral post appears to have become a popular forum for victims of the vaccines to share their stories.