A Lowe Standard
Lawyers Appreciate the Wisdom of Socrates

Year End Clearance

In no particular order, a long string of links to items that have caught my interest over the past several months and that I have found no other excuse to post here sooner:

  • In the Boston Review, Charles Johnson [the novelist, not the little green footballs guy] appreciates his former teacher the late John Gardner's once hugely well-regarded now largely neglected post-Grendel novel, The Sunlight Dialogues. [Also via 3quarksdaily.]
  • A terrible, terrible, terrrrible pun that I have been saving for you since September, found on the Law & Humanities Blog.  [This link is dedicated to my pal Rick at Futurballa for reasons that will be immediately obvious, to him.]
  • A terrific and lovely photograph of high technology in action, found in the unexpected confines of the Re Risk reinsurance weblog.
  • Some Velvet Blog notes the upcoming release of what seems on the page to be a very fine Joni Mitchell tribute album.  These sorts of collections can be dicey, but the selection of performers and material here looks very very promising.  Extra points are earned by including three songs from the underappreciated Hissing of Summer Lawns (see this 2003 mention) and one from the oft-dismissed Don Juan's Reckless Daughter.  But what's this?  Nothing from Hejira?  What a missed opportunity.
  • no notes is a weblog devoted generally to New Orleans and most specifically to tracking down the seemingly infinite variants on "St. James Infirmary Blues."  I can't recall how I was pointed there, but the same pointer led to Max Fleischer's ghoulishly surreal Betty Boop version of Snow White, featuring a performance of "St. James Infirmary" by no less than Cab Calloway:

  • I recommend adding Ron Silliman's weblog to your RSS feed.  He has been in the habit recently of interrupting his usual considerations of contemporary poetry with lists/collections of extremely interesting links to elsewhere.  Recent examples here and here.
  • To the first of those Silliman links I owe the discovery that (1) "The supermarket in California where Allen Ginsberg once saw Walt Whitman & penned 'A Supermarket in California' will become the site of a supermarket once again," and (2) no city but Berkeley would make it this hard to build a Trader Joe's.
  • To the same source, I am grateful for being led to Brooke McEldowney's thrice-weekly online comic, Pibgorn.  My guilty comics page secret is that I am devoted to McEldowney's 9 Chickweed Lane -- for which I see he has just won the 2006 National Cartoonist Society’s Award for Best Newspaper Comic Strip.  I have borne a grudge against the Los Angeles Times for several years now since they stopped running Chickweed on Sundays.
  • Two items of particular note on the Yvor Winters blog:

Though Rich seems to have meant well, to be brave in showing the world that poetry can help us deal with such massive tribulations as genocide, she fails to make a sound case for poetry’s importance and offers not a single poem that could conceivably make any difference to genocide or to any currently serious, important, and collective issue in politics, society, or philosophy.

  • Another long and thoughtful post, on Winters and Baudelaire.  This one hold sparticular interest for me because I have been flirting with the idea of trying my hand at a bit of translation in 2007, with Baudelaire as my intended subject/victim.
  • From the New Statesman, Philip Pullman and Patti Smith, among others, on William Blake, whose 250th birthday approaches.  [Via, inevitably, 3quarksdaily.]

He is a heroic figure. His contempt for pretentiousness working in a field where there is such an abundance of it is commendable as is the importance he places on honesty and the fairness with which he treats his staff. But most of all it is his determination to achieve excellence and loathing for mediocrity which is a spirit we could do with emulating - and not just in the kitchen. I'd like to see a reality TV series with a Gordon Ramsay equivalent sent in to turn around a failing school.

Ramsay spent Christmas whipping up a turkey dinner for 800 British troops in Afghanistan, where he also met Dennis, the bomb sniffing dog.  His first U.S. restaurant, recently opened in New York, certainly sounds tasty.  He will reportedly be opening a restaurant in Los Angeles in 2007.

Many, many thanks to those few of you who arrive at and read this weblog on purpose.  And however you arrived here, reader, best wishes to you for a healthy, thriving, brimming and buzzing 2007.


Aaron Haspel

"Once again"? You make it sound like I'm wrong every day. In fact I post only once a week, in an effort to keep my error to a minimum.

George Wallace

Now, now, Mr. Haspel, sir: I only said it because so many others have done so, and because you quote them so proudly in your own blog's sidebar.

I did not actually believe it to be true, and especially not on the subject of Yvor Winters.

Aaron Haspel

That's what I get for forgetting my own jokes.


Kevin Smith's Maltease Falcon?

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