Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Catching up

Real life has been antagonistic to blogging these last few days. Saturday was my father-in-law's 75th birthday and the entire family gathered at Shatley Springs for the celebration. We made it home late, exhausted and overfed, and then had to get up Sunday morning and scurry to pack the cars and get R. moved into her new dorm in Chapel Hill. Her classes start today and she has a sort of not- an- interview lined up at the library from which I hope non-vague good things result.

There was a murderer in the library! On our floor! Spotted by our very own H.! One of the local TV stations interviewed J., our student worker, last night while we were on the desk.

Thanks to the Shelia Variations, I came across Beth's wonderful reflections , which I think everyone ought to go read, on Johnny Cash's Christianity and his Live at San Quentin album. I spent the first money I ever had buying San Quentin and Hello I'm Johnny Cash (please note: the cd currently sold under that title is not the same as the album I purchased in the 70s), so I was thrilled to see someone discover these songs all these many years later and draw basically the same conclusions I had.

Salman Rushdie on the empathy he shows in Shalimar the Clown toward the type of men who once tried to kill him:

"There's an argument," he says, "which is that to humanise them is a kind of exoneration. And obviously I don't think that. It's wrong to say that by understanding people you somehow let them off the hook. There was a recent film about the last days of Hitler, Downfall, and it showed all of them, Hitler and Eva Braun etc, as rounded characters, with moments of affection. It kind of makes it worse, when you can see that these are not cartoon villains, but are real people making these hideous decisions. In a way it does the opposite of exonerating them."

Rick Moody on the joy and enthusiasm of reading:

I believe in the absolute and unlimited liberty of reading. I believe in wandering through the stacks and picking out the first thing that strikes me. I believe in choosing books based on the dust jacket. I believe in reading books because others dislike them or find them dangerous. I believe in choosing the hardest book imaginable. I believe in reading up on what others have to say about this difficult book, and then making up my own mind.

Daniel C. Dennett explains how there's no science in intelligent design and suggests that

Instead of spending more than $1 million a year on publishing books and articles for non-scientists and on other public relations efforts, the Discovery Institute should finance its own peer-reviewed electronic journal. This way, the organization could live up to its self-professed image: the doughty defenders of brave iconoclasts bucking the establishment.

I'm reading Michael Cunningham's Specimen Days.

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