Bill Russell, Track & Field, & Learning to Learn 🏀🔗

R.I.P., Bill Russell—an amazing athlete and man. Tributes to Russell reminded of an essay by a former professor of mine, Edward Griffin, entitled “Hoops & Hurdles: The Unlikely Story of How I Learned to Learn,”. It’s an absolutely delightful, astonishing reflection on Griffin’s time on the USF track & field & JV basketball teams—while Russell (on varsity basketball, of course) was dominating the NCAA. There is a wild cameo about halfway through the essay that I guarantee you won’t expect.

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In life and work alike, his contradictions are pressed together like layers in metamorphic rock. It is in the nature of monoliths not to grow old.

~Alex Ross on Thomas Mann, in the New Yorker. My favorite Mann is *The Magic Mountain*—it speaks with clarity to our world. 🔗📚


Finished reading: McGilchrist, *The Master & His Emissary* 📚

I finally finished Iain McGilchrist’s The Master & His Emissary this morning. It’s taken me about 6 months, but the time was well spent—the book is as rich in neuroscience and psychology as in historical and cultural analysis, & a profound guide to our current cultural dislocations. It’s earned a place in my personal pantheon—one of the best books I’ve read, and one I will return to often in years to come.

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Thanks to MinnPost for publishing this rich, illuminating portrait of MSP drummer Dave King (of The Bad Plus, Happy Apple, & Julian Lage’s current trio, among many other groups & projects). 🔗🎶🥁


Pulitzer Committee: Award Duke Ellington the 1965 Pulitzer Prize he was denied. 🔗🎶


Tanner Greer on substance, not procedure 🔗

The trouble is that the national problems that the extremists fixate on are, for the most part, real. Their solutions are, for the most part, coherent and emotionally compelling. Those who believe these solutions are nevertheless wrongheaded must come out and prove them so. Someone who has determined, for example, that woke politics is destructive should use his wisdom and intelligence to demonstrate why the woke program trends toward disaster—and to provide saner solutions to the problems that wokeness purports to solve.

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Max Richter, giving Auden pride of place in his Recomposed Four Seasons headshot. (The album is very good.) 🎶📚


“The Technocrat’s Dilemma” is as concise a framing of our current “misinformation” crisis as we’re likely to get: “The technocratic response to misinformation and conspiracy theory only exacerbates the problem and further validates the most extreme reactions.” 🔗


I basically agree with Gruber’s take on Netflix: Netflix would be better-served by focusing more on quality, less on quantity.

But that raises a question Gruber’s not too interested in exploring (and I’m not really, either, if I’m honest!): what is “quality”? 🔗📺


I relished Roy Foster’s Conversation with Tyler on Irish history, economics, and culture. I read Foster’s Modern Ireland years ago, and I’m eager now to read his books on Yeats and Heaney. 📚 🔗 🎧