Here’s 58.5 hours of Glenn Gould playing Bach for y’all. See ya next week. 🎶
Show me what you give your time and attention to, and I’ll show you what you love.
~Fr. Edward Sthokal
Here’s a beautiful send-off for a mentor who wouldn’t have wanted a fuss from D.J. Tice in the Star Tribune.
Sthokal was a powerful presence at the first 3 silent retreats I attended at Demontreville. Even as he was approaching 90 years old, and was already “retired,” he was present at the retreats and gave us an opening spiel with his trademark humor. In the Catholic Spirit, Stephen Boatwright recalls:
We usually have a wide variety of ages among the retreatants — from 20 to 90. Father Sthokol would often quip that ‘Some of you may be studying for your final exam.’
I’m not a Catholic, but I’m grateful for Fr. Sthokal’s presence. I’ll be back at Demontreville in a couple weeks, and it will be a changed place for several reasons. Not least of these will be the knowledge that Sthokal has now taken his final exam. Rest in peace.
It’s finally Minnesota’s turn in the *Atlantic*’s series of photographs from each of the 50 states. 🔗 📸
Catching up on some soccer highlights: Alphonso Davies had a ridiculous assist for Bayern in their 8-2 destruction of Barcelona in the Champions League quarterfinals. If I were Nèlson Semedo I wouldn’t show my face in public for a few weeks… ⚽️🔥
At the very center of his identity, Kushner is a Good Son. He’s run the country in a spirit of filial devotion to an implacable father. It’s a role that he thrives at playing, because he’s spent his whole life rehearsing for it.
~Jared Kushner, profiled in The Atlantic 🔗
Just behind the kingdom that failed ran a nice little river. It was a clear, lovely stream, and many fish lived in it. Weeds grew there, too, and the fish ate the weeds.
~Haruki Murakami, “The Kingdom That Failed” 🔗 📖
Tonight’s MNUFC win shows a deep team that’s well-coached. Some of our best players—Opara, Molino, Metanire—were out, but we dominated a surging San Jose team. And as usual, Hassani Dotson dominates wherever he plays. Can’t wait for the Adrian Heath revenge match against Orlando! ⚽️
Abe, Sam, & I visited Como Zoo today. It opened a few weeks ago, and I was impressed with how seamless and enjoyable the experience was. It was one way, with some sections completely cordoned off, but clearly marked and easy to navigate.
We saw all the most exciting animals, and heard both the lion and the sea lion roaring.
We wondered why we could see only one of the two polar bears. When I got home this evening, I was sad to read that Buzz (named after Aldrin) was euthanized just earlier today. Neil, his twin brother (named after Armstrong), looked sad, lying on the concrete and occasionally opening his eyes, without moving. RIP, Buzz. And thanks, Como Zoo, for a great experience.
“Same as it ever was”: On heaven & the Talking Heads 🔗
The traditional imagery of heaven is ribbon-wreathed and rococo, but “Heaven” is almost severe in its simplicity.
A delightful story about an initially failed, but remarkably persistent, fantasy writer:
The promise of politics is that, within and through our differences, some form of common life can be discovered. But if the process of discovery is to be faithful, hopeful, and loving, we must render ourselves vulnerable to others we don’t understand.
Sapiens is a distinctly nihilist tract, rejecting every sort of theism, every claim that life has meaning, and every assertion of human rights. According to Harari, there’s nothing the least bit sacred about human life, the Declaration of Independence is in error about liberty and equality, and the word “nature” itself—as in human nature—is meaningless. Insofar as Sapiens is a work of philosophy, it’s Nietzchean in its rejection of the most central human values, as well as in its suggestion that a superman—created by genetic or “inorganic” engineering—may be on the way.
~Mark Lieb, in Commentary
The effect is to situate the actors within the world; even with closeups, the individual is never alone in front of the camera. So Fani’s anguished face is set against the backdrop of the people enforcing her isolation.
From a review of Terrence Malick’s film A Hidden Life that beautifully connects the formal, cinematic techniques employed in the film to its underlying theme, martyrdom.
A compelling essay by philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah that argues for why it’s so problematic to capitalize “Black” but not “white”:
One reason that the MIT philosopher Sally Haslanger prefers to capitalize the names of races is, she explains, “to highlight the artificiality of race,” by contrast to the seeming naturalness of color. A larger argument lurks here: Racial identities were not discovered but created, she’s reminding us, and we must all take responsibility for them. Don’t let them disguise themselves as common nouns and adjectives. Call them out by their names.
Toward the end of his essay, Appiah notes that language doesn’t change by fiat, but organically, based on what arguments about linguistic conventions win in the sphere of daily life and practice: how people actually speak and write.
I spend significant time teaching language, so I appreciate this aspect of his argument. Too often, people wave their hands or act as if issues of language are merely random and pointless; others believe that a usage-board’s decision can or should effect change is common usage. Neither of these responses reflects the true complexity of linguistic change, or the importance of argument in contributing to this change.
The quartet recorded the track in November 1963, two months after the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, made an absence of four little black girls. When I listen to Coltrane playing over Tyner’s piano I hear smoke rising up from a smoldering crater, mingling with the voices of the dead.
The central issue for us is probably the question of whether the mystery at the heart of poetry (and of art in general) can be kept safe against the assaults of an omnipresent talkative and soulless journalism and an equally omnipresent popular science—or pseudo-science.
~Adam Zagajewski, quoted by Cynthia Haven
Today an authentic intellectual life seems more natural in the flaneur than the professional scholar…. Whether our focus is on the tools of training, a heart for service, or learning from our asynchronous neighbors, the intellectual life is, ironically, a particular kind of political practice, an art of membership…. We can educate in a way that makes us all, despite and even through upheavals of culture, economy, and politics, more intelligible to each other and to ourselves. Today, as in the Greek polis or the Roman villa, the company of readers remains both the most democratic, and the most privileged, of memberships.
~Joshua Hochschild, in his review of three new books offering expansive visions of the life of the mind
I just caught the Billy Hart quartet live at the Village Vanguard, thanks to the club’s streaming series. (Vijay Iyer’s trio is up next weekend.)
Hart and his conspirators were excellent. All original pieces, I believe. I particularly love Turner’s piece, “Nigeria,” with which they closed their set.
- Billy Hart, drums
- Ethan Iverson, piano
- Ben Street, bass
- Mark Turner, tenor
Partial set list:
- ? (I missed the intro & half of the first tune)
- Aviation (Iverson)
- Teule’s Redemption (Hart)
- Showdown (Iverson)
- Ira (Hart?)
- Amethyst (Hart)
- Nigeria (Turner)
Weekend project: building new beds for the boys. All that remains is to add a bed skirt to cover up those screws. 🔨
Morgan Meis on a highly questionable paraphrase of Auden in the NYT: “We must assist one another or die”?
Ahhh… back in the outdoor office at last.
R.I.P., Lee Konitz.
Here’s jazz pianist Ethan Iverson’s tribute to Konitz, insightful as always.
A sure way to establish enduring significance as a thinker is to combine sophistication with carefully constructed ambiguity and, if necessary, outright contradiction.
(But it depends on how you define enduring.)
subscribe via RSS