Saturday, February 25, 2017

Plautus, Decius, and others …

 A New Trumpist Magazine Débuts at the Harvard Club - The New Yorker.

Wissahickon Park, Valley Green Inn area, Feb. 25, 2017


Bleak charm …

 Nigeness: From Essex to Edward Thomas's Field.

Conservation …

… The Monk Who Saves Manuscripts From ISIS - The Atlantic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Meanwhile, How archaeology in Pakistan is forced to deny the nation's Hindu past (Post edited and bumped by Vikram Johri)

The master's voice …

(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Reniassance man …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Secret life Of The SS-GB Spymaster: How Author Len Deighton, Who Lived Next Door To A Nazi Spy In The War, Created A Nightmare Vision Of Britain Under The Jackboot.

Dismaying …

Last night, Debbie and I attended the Philadelphia Orchestra concert (we subscribe). The program was interesting — a selection from Brahms's 11 Choral Preludes, three orchestrated, four on the organ, followed by an early Bach cantata. After intermission, there was the Brahms Symphony No. 4.
I thought it the worst performance I have ever heard. It was certainly the loudest. If you like your Brahms full of bombast and devoid of nuance, this was the Brahms for you. In all fairness, the audience seemed pleased.

On second thought:

My friend and former Inquirer colleague David Stearns assures me that the problem lies with the acoustics of Verizon Hall. He reminds me that we had a similar discussion awhile back regarding a performance of the Rachmaninoff second symphony. As David put it in an email, "we aren't having a difference of taste. We heard very different mixtures of soundwaves."

Here's David's review: High-concept Philadelphia Orchestra concert renews Brahms.

Post bumped.

Hmm …

[Dennett] sets himself three main challenges here: to make sense of the idea of Design without a Designer that is so central to understanding evolution; to flesh out the concept of competence without comprehension, the key to much animal — and indeed human — thought and behaviour; to understand human consciousness as a natural, unmysterious, outcome of i) evolutionary design, ii) uncomprehending competence and, iii) a little something extra, shortly to be revealed. The overarching task is to enable us to understand ourselves, the intellectuals of creation, as the products of gradual, natural, processes, issuing out of dust yet eschewing the hand of God.
"… to make sense of the idea of Design without a Designer …  to understand human consciousness as a natural, unmysterious, outcome of i) evolutionary design …."  It seems to me we have more than a little begging of the question here. Aren't we assuming the truth of "design without a designer" in order to prove "evolutionary design," which would of course be "design without a designer," which itself is rather difficult to imagine, since the only demonstrable designs we know of are the work of designers.



… the effect of Dennett’s broad line of explanation for the way things are is to replace an ancient “mind-first” with a modern “mind-last” vision of creation." But mind just happens to be where it all did start. This still seems to me like trying to understand what someone is telling you over the phone in terms of the telephone's technology.  And what's this "creation" we are said to have a vision of?



Actually, the whole business of design seems to me to muddy the water. What the mind perceives in being is order. Order, one might say, is a necessary corollary of mind. From that, it does not seem a very large leap to conclude that mind is logically prior to order.

FYI …

… "Cli-Fi" : フィッシャーズ and a song from Japan by ハヤシユウ(Mr. Hayashi Yu, age 24)that has gone viral around the world -- "HOW_TO_PLAY".

Uniformity …

… Zealotry of Guerin: Parade (Peter Blume), Sonnet #338.

Something to think on …

Literature ceases to be literature when it commits itself to moral uplift; it becomes moral philosophy or some such dull thing.
— Anthony Burgess, born on this date in 1917

Friday, February 24, 2017

Amazing …

… It's a scary time for the world, says Martin Scorsese - BelfastTelegraph.co.uk.

Exactly why am I supposed to care what he thinks? He makes movies. That's his area of expertise. So I'm supposed to take anything he says seriousl? Sorry. I don't.

Nabokov and Wilson...

...On the art of translation

Mysterious ways …

… An Ash Wednesday I’ll never forget | CatholicHerald.co.uk. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Complements …

… R.T.'s Commonplace Blog: Psalm 1 -- happiness and righteousness.

Something to think on …

Terrible is the day when each sees his soul naked, stripped of all veil; that dear soul which he cannot change or discard, and which is so irreparably his.
— George Moore, born on this date in 1852

Indeed …

… In praise of readability – TheTLS. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



One would think such a defense would be unnecessary (after all, the opposite of readable is unreadable), but apparently not.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Keeping the reaper at bay …

… Clive James announces new poetry collection – Injury Time | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

On Critics...

...Their judgements, writing, and motivation

Tales …

… R.T.'s Commonplace Blog: Shorts.

Have a look …

… 20 Ideas From the Mind of David Gelernter - The Atlantic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Poet and poem …

… R.T.'s Commonplace Blog: Robert Frost and "The Oven Bird".

Hmm …

… 10 Ideas That Could Save American Poetry | The Huffington Post. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)



I wasn't aware that American poetry needed saving, and I'm certainly sure about these ideas. We link, you decide.

Listen in …

… Episode 206 – Jessa Crispin | Virtual Memories.

“My advice of ‘Live a life that’s in alignment with your value system’ doesn’t go over super-great because that requires knowing what your value system is.”


Here's an interesting article Jessa had in the NYT last year: St. Teresa and the Single Ladies.

Q & A …

… If Nothing Escaped Us: An Interview with Poet and Philosopher Troy Jollimore - Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Hear, hear …

… The threat from within | Stanford News.

… I’m actually more worried about the threat from within. Over the years, I have watched a growing intolerance at universities in this country – not intolerance along racial or ethnic or gender lines – there, we have made laudable progress. Rather, a kind of intellectual intolerance, a political one-sidedness, that is the antithesis of what universities should stand for. It manifests itself in many ways: in the intellectual monocultures that have taken over certain disciplines; in the demands to disinvite speakers and outlaw groups whose views we find offensive; in constant calls for the university itself to take political stands. We decry certain news outlets as echo chambers, while we fail to notice the echo chamber we’ve built around ourselves.
He's got that right.

Two views …

… Evelyn Waugh – TheTLS. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

 A renowned Waugh scholar, Slater examines the novels in turn. Her work sheds light on how Waugh’s Catholicism influenced his work; her chapter on Brideshead Revisited is particularly strong. She explains, for example, that “On Good Friday the doors of the tabernacle, where the Host – representing the body of Christ – is kept, are left open because there is no Host to be protected. Its void symbolizes Christ’s absence from the world between His death on Good Friday, and Resurrection on Easter Sunday”. Gems such as this – previously unknown to me, brought up Catholic – illuminate details of the text that otherwise could go unremarked upon. 
It's something of an achievement to be brought up Catholic and not have been taught this.

A plea...

A theology of the transgendered is not difficult...the Bible begins with God making us in His Image, male and female, not male or female and ends with Paul saying in heaven there is no male or female. Jesus said some eunuchs are born and some are made -- for His Glory. The Psalmist sang He has made us fearfully and wonderfully. None of us know the workings of the mind of God. That is the message of Job, and of Isaiah 55:8: “My thoughts are not your thoughts.” The persecutors of the transgendered are really the small minded, the doorkeepers, the ones of whom God said begone, you lay burdens on the people but lift not a finger to help them. And I don’t think, I know, as much as I know anything, Jesus would welcome me with open arms, as one of the persecuted and as one of his sisters, doing His Work in this world. None of us can judge, that is for God alone, and all we can do is act in Love -- the Greatest Commandment.

Seeking mutual respect …

… The University Bookman: When Science Opens to Faith. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… Trasancos acknowledges that “science is provisional” and its “theories and models supply temporary explanations until better ones are discovered with more research, so science is never complete.” Science measures quantifiable data and therefore it is “limited to questions about the material realm.” Questions that “deal with meaning, purpose, and destiny” are “broader endeavors than physical or biological science” and they require “faith as well as reason” for answers.

A healing distance …

… Poetry, love and psychosis: can writing help us come to terms with mental illness? | Books | The Guardian. (Gat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Mark thy calendar …

Here's a note from my friend and former coleague Jim Remsen:


  • My book launch party is Sunday, MARCH 5. (I previously listed an incorrect date, oops.) So to clarify: The party is Sunday, March 5, at 1 p.m., at the Waverly Community House in Waverly, Pa. 18471. I'll talk, I'll sign books, and all are welcome.
  • The Library Express bookstore in Scranton has booked me for a reading & signing on Friday, March 17, at 7:30 p.m. If you can't make it to the March 5 launch, come on down to the bookstore, which is in the Steamtown Marketplace, Lackawanna and Wyoming Aves. in downtown Scranton. 

  • WVIA (89.9 FM), Northeastern Pa.'s public radio station, will have me on its ArtScene program next  Tuesday, February 28, at 11 a.m. The interview will also be posted as a podcast later that day on WVIA.org. 

Easy does it …

… R.T.'s Commonplace Blog: "The Truth must dazzle gradually".

FYI …

… AFL hosting ‘Working Dogs: Changing Lives with Love’.



This, of course, is not Wynn's first appearance on this blog.

Something to think on …

When you have mastered numbers, you will in fact no longer be reading numbers, any more than you read words when reading books. You will be reading meanings.
— W. E. B. Du Bois, born on this date in 1868