Thursday, August 4, 2022

Bus Stop Poem


Girl a black oak shrouds

Smothering tender moments

Of blond hair in twines

Minutes to hours to days

Even already gone now

All the sense of love

And nothing but nothing 

Of the promises and vows


Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Hemingway was a Jerk


Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway's Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises by Lesley M. M. Blume, exposes nothing really new about Hemingway or his roman à clef.  We know that Hemingway was a jerk.  He started early in life, and it continued until he died.  I do not feel particularly sorry for any of the real-life people who Hemingway turned into characters in this novel.  They knew Hemingway – they were artists or writers or fellow travelers – did they not know he would write about them if the story was good?

That said, I feel bad about the fate of Lady Duff Twysden.  The author does an admirable job searching for evidence of her life (both before and after The Sun) and there is little remaining.  She died young, and her possessions appeared to have been thrown away.  There is a very sad story about her we will probably never learn.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

I think I have heard/read this before.

Malcolm Gladwell has his own style, and if you don’t like it, he isn’t changing it for you.  So, you should stop reading his books.

This is certainly the case with The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, a Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War.  It is inescapably a Gladwell book in tone and structure.  

However now there is confusion. There is his Podcast, and even the hybrid book-podcasts, so this material feels like I have read it before, or listened to it.  Did I?  Maybe so...

So, Gladwell’s scene has become complex, yet really the same.  He is still firmly Gladwell in tone and style.  Now we are just thrown into confusion if we have read/heard his work before.  I think I have heard/read this before [?]


Friday, July 29, 2022

What Happened to Paula: An Unsolved Death and the Danger of American Girlhood


The title tells us as much, that in Katherine Dykstra’s What Happened to Paula: An Unsolved Death and the Danger of American Girlhood, we never do learn who killed Paula Oberbroeckling.  Theories are explored, but this true crime book moves away from the details of the particular crime to the culture we have created where woman and girls face danger from men with male impunity.  This book shows how the all-male police failed to take Paula’s disappearance and murder investigation seriously.  She was a girl who had gone “bad” and therefore deserved what happened to her.  Although her death took place in 1970, this author reminds us these prejudicial and unfavorable attitudes are still prevalent today.  Ask the woman closest to you!  Our culture forces women to be fearful for their safety and wellbeing.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe by Steven H. Strogatz


Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe by Steven H. Strogatz is the best book written for laypeople about Calculus (I have yet to read).  The author handles it all: the rise of the questions and challenges of Calculus before its exact formulation, its formulation and how it works, and how it is employed in all manner of human endeavors.  But Calculus not only has a past and a present but a future.  Stogatz speculates how this form of math, the language God speaks, may work for us in the time to come.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Sonorous Desert: What Deep Listening Taught Early Christian Monks―and What It Can Teach Us


With Sonorous Desert Kim Haines-Eitzen has written a gorgeously evocative book about an experience most of us take for granted. As an expert on early Christian hermits and monasticism, she has given us a work where sound is the primary conduit to understand both the solitary and the social sides of our experience.  How much do we give to others, and how much time do we need for ourselves?  We all face this to some degree or another.  Haines-Eitzen has written a book where this primary dilemma is explored through how we hear our world, our sonorous experience.  This is a novel and exciting investigation of how sound deeply informs how we experience, and live in our world.  With this  book Haines-Eitzen has given us a key to a deeper understand of ourselves.

Monday, July 18, 2022

The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right


The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right is Max Boot’s elegy of his departure from the Republican Party and conservative politics.  This is the route many more conservatives should have taken with the rise of Trump and Trumpism.  Their duty was to put country before party and their own narrow self-interests.  Most did not.  Boot did, and he is to be commended for doing so and telling his story.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this book is Boot’s post-mortem on contemporary conservatism.  He sees, for the first time in his life, that conservatism has from the very beginning had been built on a foundation of nativism, misogyny, racism (all the bad-isms).  Therefore, Trump is not an anomaly from the conservative movement and the Republican Party, but produced by it and its natural progression.