Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Perhaps of interest …

I learned today how to post links to Google docs that I choose to publish. The Inquirer has long since erased the complete version of an interview I did of Michael Crichton some years ago, though the print version (which can still be found online) refers readers to it.
Well, here is the full text.

RIP …

… Yes, Minister – manwithoutqualities. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

God's mysterious ways …

Charming Billy and Me | City Journal. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
Returning to a book that you love can be risky. Time and experience distort memory. A reader matures, his perspective changes, but the other members of McDermott’s holy trinity—writer and narrator—remain as they always were, preserved between paper covers in black and white. When I read Charming Billy again, a decade had passed since the whimpering conclusion of my Hollywood adventure. I’d practically become a different person in the intervening years. My politics had changed, as had my career ambitions. I’d married and fathered a child. I was on my way back to the Catholic Church. Feeling the weight of expectation, dreading the possibility of failure, I was again in the market for something on which to anchor myself.

Hmm …

 Pew: Americans giving up on God, miracles | Washington Examiner.

As Somerset Maugham said, "Most people think little."

What poetry is …

 Solitary Praxis: "The Poet and the Golem" by Marly Youmans.

Even I am not so glib as to offer commentary on such as this after a single reading. This must be lived with for a while.

Time present and time past …

… About Last Night | TT: Ghost world.



As I walked into the theater, I realized that it had been thirty-four years to the day since I’d last seen a performance of The Fantasticks. I always meant to catch it at the Sullivan Street Playhouse but never got around to doing so, just as I’ve never been to Radio City Music Hall or the Central Park Zoo. Like most New Yorkers, I figured it would run forever, and so took its existence for granted until it was too late.

Certain words …

… First Known When Lost: Songs.

As I have noted here in the past, the choice is ours to make: we can live in an enchanted World or in a disenchanted World. Although, come to think of it, I'm not sure that this is a matter of choice. One feels that there issomething immanent within, beneath, and behind the beautiful surface of the World or one does not. I do not say this in a judgmental fashion. Our emotional sense of how we fit into the World is a wholly mysterious thing, and I am only qualified to speak of how the World feels to me.

The word's the thing …

… On Self-Translation - Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… it isn’t enough to learn a language; one must internalize it, make it fully one’s own. We internalize a language when we organize the world around us based on its parameters. It isn’t that we know words to describe things but that things come to us through their respective words. This is only achieved through time, by letting oneself be absorbed (and, maybe, absolved) by a language’s metabolism.

The subject was consciousness …

… Friday Afternoon in the Universe — The Barnes & Noble Review. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



…  Old Angel Midnight is a record of listening, of hearing beyond, or beneath, language, of seeking to engage a cosmic beat. 
It seems that Kerouac's star is again on the rise.

Something to think on …

Anything that is worth doing has been done frequently. Things hitherto undone should be given, I suspect, a wide berth.
— Max Beerbohm, born on this date in 1872

Hmm …

… Hot Tomorrow: The Urgency and Beauty of Cli-Fi — The Barnes & Noble Review.



On the other hand, there's this and this.



It is also worth noting that one of the first cli-fi books (though the name hadn't been coined yet) — Michael Crichton's State of Fear — was critical of climate fear-mongering. And Crichton had some actual scientific credentials, a medical degree and a degree in anthropology.

Speaking of State of Fear, here is my review of it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Life during dark days …

… “Tell them that we are dying.” The West wasn’t ready to listen: Jan Karski and the Holocaust | The Book Haven.

Adventures in church …

 Solitary Praxis: "Young Couple at Mass" by Albert Garcia.

Learned mensch …

… Is It Time to Take the Most Published Man in Human History Seriously? Reassessing Jacob Neusner. – Tablet Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Classic Q&A …

… Playboy Interview: Vladimir Nabokov. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

And the winners are …

… Winning Poems for 2016 July : IBPC.



The Judge's Page.



(Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Listen in …

… Episode 182 – Virginia Heffernan | Virtual Memories.



“It’s very, very weird to do something along with three billion other people.”

A backward glance …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Love Him Or Hate Him: A Look Back At Former Philadelphia Mayor & Top Cop Frank Rizzo.



I am almost completely charisma-immune. I have twice stood within a few feet of Bill Clinton and felt nothing in particular. But the one time — as he strolled through The Inquirer's composing room — that I shook Frank Rizzo's hand, I had the distinct impression that this was the kind of guy who was the natural leader of the pack in the schoolyard.

Anatomy of the sentence …

… Simplicity or style: what makes a sentence a masterpiece? | Aeon Ideas. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Some literary stylists bestow greatness on every sentence without tiring their readers. Many readers feel this way about Joyce, but I have always preferred the subtler beauty of the sentences in Dubliners to the obtrusive, slightly show-offy ingenuity that afflicts every sentence in Ulysses: individually each of those sentences may be small masterpieces, but an unrelenting sequence of such sentences is wearisome. Great minimalist sentences – those of the short-story writer Lydia Davis, for instance – may have a longer shelf life.

Hear, hear …

The condescension is the worst part. Many research scientists who fret and wail about public ignorance live off the public dime. Our microscopes, our labs, our pipettes and our particle colliders are bought with taxpayers’ money. They pay our salaries too.
So when we tell them how stupid they are, how ignorant and backward and wrong they are, why shouldn’t they be angry? Belittling someone in an argument never wins his support. How much more arrogant and foolish is it to belittle the people who write your paycheck?

Something to think on …

Essayists, like poets, are born and not made, and for one worth remembering, the world is confronted with a hundred not worth reading. Your true essayist is, in a literary sense, the friend of everybody.
— William Ernest Henley, born on this date in 1849

Monday, August 22, 2016

If at first …

… Solitary Praxis: Don Quixote by Cervantes - the novel is all about overcoming interrupted starts and reaching the finish line.

Another school to scratch off your list …

 West Virginia University Offers Students Guide On “Using Gender Neutral Pronouns Such As ‘Ve,’ ‘Ver’ And ‘Vis’”… | Weasel Zippers.

Blogging note …

I am already out and about, meeting responsibilities. Blogging will be sporadic until I return home.

Words in place …

… The Art of the Sentence: Anthony Hecht | Tin House. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

God's whereabouts …

… Solitary Praxis: "The Sunday News" -- here is some good news about churches, hymns, prayers, children, ladybugs, and God.

Dead again …

 More than eulogies: new book considers the dead – famous and infamous | The Book Haven.

Inflation and devaluation …

… Maverick Philosopher: Price Changes 1996-2016.

Ouch …

 Maverick Philosopher: The 'Good' of Blogging.


Of course, if you start as a journalist …

A rare and unlikely balance …

… Anecdotal Evidence: `The Best and Closest of All Your Friends'.

“He is resolved from the first page to tell you absolutely everything about himself, and so he does. At the greatest length, throughout all 876 pages of the [Donald] Frame translation, he tells you and tells you about himself. This ought to be, almost by definition, the achievement of a great bore. How does it happen that Montaigne is not ever, not on any of all those pages, even a bit of a bore?”

Poetry and public transportation …

… A villanelle on self-pity and a few words hurled at heaven | The Book Haven.

Ionesco revival …

… About Last Night | The lighter side of death.

RIP …

 Elegy for a tree | Brandywine Books.

Something to think on …

It is peculiar to “ressentiment criticism” that it does not seriously desire that its demands be fulfilled. It does not want to cure the evil. The evil is merely the pretext for the criticism.
— Max Scheler, born on this date in 1874

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Led along by poems …

… First Known When Lost: A Stroll.

The poems we love begin to accumulate over the years. (Please bear with me: I intend to contemplate the obvious in this post.) Our personal anthology of poems in turn leads to one of the many wonders of poetry: one remembered poem often carries us on to another, and, before we know it, we are out for a stroll.

Love and resentment …

 Learning to Care (About Writing and Dogs) | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

Mark thy calendar …

… Pivot Readings 2016-2017 Season Opener with HD, Islam, Valencia and Whitlock | Griffin Poetry Prize.

Poem


Personal Metaphysick

For Father John Large

God pays us close attention. Creates
Us right now. Divine improvisation,
Improv all he can do. Notice: This relaxes.
Strolling about now, slowly though,
Being old and all. Acknowledging that,
You think there may be ways of adjusting,
To getting back near where you were
Before heartache started dropping by.

Father Large is the pastor of my parish, St. Paul's. I have dedicated this poem to him because the first sentence of it derives from a sermon he gave recently. Father Large gives a brief sermon every day at morning Mass. The sermon I refer to was on the Gospel text that contains the line about every hair of our heads being numbered. Father Large pointed out that the obvious inference to be drawn from this is that God takes an intimate interest in us. I don't think I had ever thought of it that way before, and it couldn't get it out of my mind once I had.

Post bumped. 

Some music …

This was originally commissioned by Diaghilev.

Language and transformation …

… NERObooks — Botanical Prose // August 2016. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)