Delight Springs

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Rousseau's Reveries revisited

Rousseau predicted Drumpf? No, nobody could have predicted Drumpf. Rousseau was just one of many whose philosophy of chauvinism, paranoia, and resentment preceded and paved his way.

On the other hand, Rousseau's acknowledgement that the collective good is more than a sum of individual interests was far more public-spirited than "the corn-haired guy" (as he's known south of the border) seems capable of grasping.

Pankaj Mishra's essay includes a paragraph my fellow MALA strollers and I should follow up on:
Heinrich Meier, in his new book, “On the Happiness of the Philosophic Life” (Chicago), offers an overview of Rousseau’s thought through a reading of his last, unfinished book, “Reveries of a Solitary Walker,” which he began in 1776, two years before his death. In “Reveries,” Rousseau moved away from political prescriptions and cultivated his belief that “liberty is not inherent in any form of government, it is in the heart of the free man.”
If things don't go well in the next 100 days, a lot of us are going to have to think about moving "away from political prescriptions." Or just moving away. Just moving.

6:55/5:55, 74/90/71, 7:52

Friday, July 29, 2016

The dailiness of life

"It is out of the dailiness of life that one is driven into the deepest recesses of the self," said Stanley Kunitz, who once had the great satisfaction of tossing a potted plant in the face of his college president. That must have been a revealing moment of self-recognition for him, though it can't have been a daily sort of occurrence.

The "dailiness of life" is habitual, repetitive, ordinary, familiar, a surface phenomenon. It takes a poet, perhaps, fully to experience and chart its corresponding depth. Most of us lose ourselves, our selves, in everydayness. But I think of my daily round of routine as a canvas inviting and awaiting creative response. A page a day, as they say, is a book a year. The creative selves I admire most have submitted and then reveled in the dailiness of life.
Charles Darwin planted a 1.5 acre strip of land with hazel, birch, privet, and dogwood, and ordered a wide gravel path built around the edge. Called Sand-walk, this became Darwin’s ‘thinking path’ where he roamed every morning and afternoon with his white fox-terrier. Of Bertrand Russell, long-time friend Miles Malleson has written: “Every morning Bertie would go for an hour’s walk by himself, composing and thinking out his work for that day. He would then come back and write for the rest of the morning, smoothly, easily and without a single correction.” Gymnasiums of the Mind
Dailiness frees minds and extends lives. "An hour a day keeps death away. An analysis of data from a million people has found that an hour of moderate physical activity a day is enough to cancel out the deadly effect of working at a desk all day."

Stanley Kunitz, philosopher-poet of dailiness, lived for a century. No surprise.

7 am/5:54, 77/83/70, 7:53

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Passing the baton

Our summer stroll through western civilization is nearing its last lap. I'll miss it.

One of last night's discussion topics was James's description of Walt Whitman: "a sort of ideal tramp, a rider on omnibus-tops and ferry-boats, and, considered either practically or academically, a worthless, unproductive being... He felt the human crowd as rapturously as Wordsworth felt the mountains, felt it as an overpoweringly significant presence, simply to absorb one's mind in which should be business sufficient and worthy to fill the days of a serious man." 

A society of tramps might not work. Who'd run the buses and boats, if we were all just riders? But we agreed that a healthy society encourages the presence of a few "tramps" whose shared absorption in the passing scene provides an indispensable critical lens on our various complacencies and un-self-critical bustle and busy-ness.

We also agreed that there are no truly free markets, that those who live only for themselves are hardly virtuous, that George Orwell's "Animal Farm" warning against totalitarian servitude must not be divorced from his commitment to social justice, and that our civilization depends on the continued civil conversation of opposites including Platonists and Aristotelians, empiricists and rationalists.

And then we rushed home to catch the President's gracious, fearless valedictory and baton-passing. Shifting metaphors briefly, the relay race of civilization goes on. Strollers must occasionally sprint. But we'll catch our breath again, and the conversation can resume. Believe me.

6:30/5:53, 75/79/71, 7:54

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


There's light at the end of Arthur Herman's cave, but you have to squint past Ayn Rand and some dubious claims and insinuations about the virtue of selfishness, the inevitability of economic chaos, and the necessity of militaristic aggression in the name of freedom to spot it. It's the recognition that our stroll with Plato and Aristotle goes on, that we'll glean insight and wisdom from the empiricist and rationalist traditions so long as we continue to walk and talk with them both. It's the light of mental breadth, pluralist inclusion, and civil conversation.

But a big question remains. Are free markets our last best hope as a civilization, or the biggest obstacle to its survival? Herman does not finally resolve that question to my satisfaction, so we'll be putting it to Naomi Klein in Environmental Ethics starting in about three weeks. Her claim:
"...our economic system and our planetary system are now at war. Or, more accurately, our economy is at war with many forms of life on earth, including human life... But because of our decades of collective denial, no gradual, incremental options are now available to us. Gentle tweaks to the status quo stopped being a climate option when we supersized the American Dream in the 1990s, and then proceeded to take it global." Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. The Climate
It all comes down, once again, to securing the conditions of freedom. One of them is gender equality and opportunity. I hope every mother, father, and brother is as cheered this morning as I am to have seen that glass ceiling shatter for our daughters in Philadelphia last night. Light, more light!

6:20/5:52, 74/90/72, 7:55

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Soma time

"Most of one's life is one prolonged effort to prevent oneself from thinking," thought Aldous Huxley. That's why his Brave New Worlders were so smitten with the happy distraction of soma. It may be why we consume our politics as entertainment.

Last night's convention debut was entertaining enough. The impromptu comedy act of Franken and Silverman was good, we got to hear the First Lady's own words from the First Lady herself, and Bernie did his bit for party unity. 

In a thoughtfully-devised politics we'd now look forward to hearing the nominee's substantive speech Thursday night, we'd then reflect on our stark choice, and next week we'd vote. 

In our circus politics, instead, we'll spend unconscionable sums on 100+ days of entertaining, often outrageous, mostly irrelevant campaign distraction and false-or-misleading advertizing first. Then we'll roll the die.

What fun. Pass the soma, please.

6:15/5:52, 75/95, 7:56

Monday, July 25, 2016


Star Trek Beyond was great fun. It's always a deep delight to revisit the franchise that's given us a hopeful future since 1966. The dual dedication to Anton Yelchin and Leonard Nimoy was sad and poignant. Idris Elba's villain's misuse of life-extending technology underscored the point: the time of our mortal lives is necessarily bounded, "forever" is not for us.

I'm still struggling, though, to make sense of the whole Spock/Admiral Spock duality. The young Commander learns that the future version of himself has died. It's a lesson with profound personal implications, to be sure. But how is it possible for any "logical" thinker not to have known it already?

As Spock is continually re-learning, it's probably best not to overthink such things. LLAP.

5:40/5:51, 76/94/74,7:56

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Carroll's Considerations

Sean Carroll is one wise theoretical physicist and "poetic naturalist." His Ten Commandments Considerations, resisting the unfortunate human impulse to tell one another what to do, deferring instead to one another's mental freedom:
  • Life Isn’t Forever.
  • Desire Is Built Into Life.
  • What Matters Is What Matters To People.
  • We Can Always Do Better.
  • It Pays to Listen.
  • There Is No Natural Way to Be.
  • It Takes All Kinds.
  • The Universe Is in Our Hands.
  • We Can Do Better Than Happiness.
  • Reality Guides Us.
Naturalists accept that life is going to come to an end — this life is not a dress rehearsal for something greater, it’s the only performance we get to give. The average person can expect a lifespan of about three billion heartbeats. That’s a goodly number, but far from limitless. We should make the most of each of our heartbeats.
The finitude of life doesn’t imply that it’s meaningless, any more than obeying the laws of physics implies that we can’t find purpose and joy within the natural world. The absence of a God to tell us why we’re here and hand down rules about what is and is not okay doesn’t leave us adrift — it puts the responsibility for constructing meaningful lives back where it always was, in our own hands.
The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself
Big Picture at Google (video)

5:49/5:49, 75/92

Friday, July 22, 2016


To take a walk, says the poet, pack a rod.
This is farming country.
The neighbors will believe
you are crazy
if you take a walk
just to think and be alone.
So carry a shotgun
and walk the fence line.
Pretend you are hunting
and your walking will not
arouse suspicion.
I never worry about what the neighbors may think. "The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad" etc. Some of them are out here walking with me, in the relative cool of summer morning. The others, snoozing and lazing away the only habitable part of this infernal heat wave, are the crazy ones.

But this is Tennessee. This is America. Any and all may be packing, and carrying an attitude. Best walk softly and conceal yours.

5:40/5:49, 76/97

Thursday, July 21, 2016


The train stops in Lewis Carroll's, John Locke's, and Harry Potter's Oxford today. Any one of them might plausibly have said “it’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” But it was Alice's creator who said it, and who had her believe "as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Good for him. For her. The wonderful thing about a tabula rasa is how easily it can be filled with fun and magic.

Carroll penned so many marvelous lines. This one, in a better world, would shut down that insane mistake by the lake ("it's a put on") in Cleveland this week:  “I don't think..." then you shouldn't talk, said the Hatter.”

Christ Church College is next on our itinerary.

6 am/5:48, 73/97, 7:59

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Magnificent desolation

Taking the v-train to old Oxford today, in that other possible world.

In this one we're talking Nietzschean post-nihilism, Jamesian pragmatism, Jefferson deism, and inevitably the specter of living in a time when  liars, plagiarists, and sociopaths may inherit the earth. A far cry from the world we imagined on this day in 1969, when Buzz Aldrin toasted the moon's "magnificent desolation."
When Neil Armstrong got back he talked about looking at Earth from space: he said: “It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.”
If only we could send Colbert's orange manatee with the giant ego for a lunar lesson in humility.

5:50/5:47, 74/95/72, 8:00

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Signifying nothing

In an alternate universe we're at Stratford-upon-Avon today, walking with Will Shakespeare, 400 years gone now. Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. Montaigne might have been his favorite philosopher.

In an even better alternate universe we're not waking up this morning from the most farcical political theater ever staged by an American presidential nominating convention. Drumpf's preposterous silhouette-and-fog entrance. Mrs. Drumpf plagiarizing the First Lady's 2008 convention speech on honesty and integrity, after explicitly lying about it to a live television audience. Rudy Giuliani, sputtering nonsense and threatening to spit out his teeth. The Duck Hunter guy. Wave after wave of ridiculous misinformed bluster about the country's dark decline.

It was all so bizarre and yet, in this unhinged season, from this gonzo cast of misfits and con artists, so sadly predictable. What poor players, strutting and fretting and making a mockery of their hour on the big stage. We desperately need the Bard to translate this absurd moment into suitable tragicomic nonsense we can briefly enjoy.

The guy who put lipstick on the pig is remorseful, at least.

Thankfully, we at least got the real Colbert back for a fleeting moment, and his rusticating pal Jon Stewart.

And thankfully it's all an idiot's tale soon to be heard no more. Just not soon enough.

6:15/5:46, 79/92/72, 8:00

Monday, July 18, 2016

Freedom of & from religion

"True piety in a reasonable world is the pursuit of happiness through the improvement of the understanding. Call it the religion of freedom."

That's Matthew Stewart on Nature's God, whose subject is the hybrid Epicurean-Lockean-Spinozist conception that informed the Deist worldview of Jefferson, Franklin, and most of the founding generation. It casts a very different light on the claim that they intended to forge a conventionally Christian nation, and puts to shame the restrictive pieties of people like Mike Pence - people who think they know God's "heart" to exclude women's reproductive freedom.

Of course, a world in which people like Mike Pence and his unspeakable sponsor ("this good man" he repeatedly called him in their 60 Minutes interview, hahaha) ascend to wide public notice, let alone actual power and influence, can hardly be called reasonable.

But if it matters what the founders said and meant, as conservatives insist it does, it's clear that the ticket about to be punched in Cleveland does not come close to embodying true piety.

And, for those of us working our way through The Cave and the Light, it's clearly misleading to suggest that Jefferson and Madison were or would be on the side of those who misuse religion as license to limit personal freedom.

6 am, 5:46, 73/96

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Moor philosophy

Our next English peregrination: Yorkshire.

Enough of Thought, Philosopher;
Too long hast thou been dreaming
Unlightened, in this chamber drear –
While summer’s sun is beaming –
Space-sweeping soul, what sad refrain
Concludes thy musings once again?
– Emily Brontë (1818-1848), ‘The Philosopher’
...One of the questions we consider in class is why there have been so few female philosophers until fairly recent times. We first read Plato’s arguments in The Republicas to why there cannot be a truly just society until all citizens, both male and female, are given equal opportunity to excel; then we study Aristotle’s rejoinder that such a policy would be folly, since women are by nature inferior to men, intellectually and physically. This point is reiterated later in the course by selections from the writings of Arthur Schopenhauer, a vociferous misogynist, who argued that women were really just big children, unable to understand abstract thought. (Ironically, his mother was one of the first female novelists to publish under her own name. Understandably, she did not get along very well with her son.) To balance these arguments for women’s inherent inferiority, I then have the class read several poems by Emily Brontë, including ‘The Old Stoic’ (below), ‘I See Around Me Tombstones Grey’, and the above-quoted ‘The Philosopher’...

The American philosopher John Dewey once remarked that when women philosophers became prominent, the very notion of what constitutes philosophical inquiry would be greatly expanded. By insisting on their right to be heard, and by demonstrating their keen powers of observation, the Brontë sisters have had a powerful and enduring impact on the history of thought...
The Old Stoic, by Emily Brontë (1818-1848)
Riches I hold in light esteem,
And Love I laugh to scorn;
And lust of fame was but a dream
That vanish’d with the morn:
And, if I pray, the only prayer
That moves my lips for me
Is, “Leave the heart that now I bear,
And give me liberty!”
Yea, as my swift days near their goal,
‘Tis all that I implore:
In life and death a chainless soul,
With courage to endure.
Emily Brontë – Philosopher, by Tim Madigan

To Walk Invisible... Walking the Bronte Trail

6 am/5:44, 76/88/69, 8:02

Friday, July 15, 2016


Our virtual course continues with today's excursion to Bertrand Russell's Cambridge. “Every morning Bertie would go for an hour’s walk by himself, composing and thinking out his work for that day. He would then come back and write for the rest of the morning, smoothly, easily and without a single correction.”

Ludwig Wittgenstein showed up on Russell's doorstep one day to challenge his quest for mathematical certainty.

Russell eventually learned to live with uncertainty, dispel loneliness, and conquer happiness. The daily walks didn't hurt.

It's the anniversary, btw, of an important date in the history of the other Cambridge: Emerson's Harvard Divinity School Address in 1838, which also challenged conventional wisdom and smug certainties. He called walking gymnastics for the mind. "In this refulgent summer, it has been a luxury to draw the breath of life..." Our mortal breath is every bit as divine as any prophet's. If you don't believe it, just walk.

6:15 am/5:44, 72/92/68, 8:03

Thursday, July 14, 2016


Today was to have been a day of pilgrimage for our preempted Study Abroad class, to Darwin's Down House and Sandwalk in Kent,

and to Henry James's Lamb House in nearby Rye, Sussex. [His favourite walk... In search of HJ... HJ's Sussex... HJ's Rye... Landlord]

NEXT year! Meanwhile, thanks to Gerardo Bartolome for this virtual substitute.

6 am/5:43, 78/89/71, 8:03

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


"In response to a telegram from the American Civil Liberties Union, I reached Dayton in time for my evening meal on July 13."

That's Dr. Winterton Curtis, recalling a pilgrimage of sorts and his non-participation as one of the disallowed expert scientific witnesses in the 1925 Scopes Trial in Tennessee. He was a distinguished zoologist from the University of Missouri. His autobiographical account of "Fundamentalism vs Evolution at Dayton, Tennessee" was published serially in the summer of 1956.

In 1957, a young veterinary student, his wife, and their newborn son rented Dr. Curtis's second floor ($45/month). It would be their home until that young student graduated and moved away to set up practice in the St. Louis area. Dr. Curtis would visit them periodically until his death at age 91, in 1966, charming the little boy, miraculously extracting dollar bills from his ears.

I'm still charmed by Dr. Curtis's accounts of Dayton, Columbia, and the perennial tug of war between science and faith. We'll talk about that in class today, and about his (and Einstein's) "humanistic philosophy of life."
The humanistic philosophy of life, which flowered in Greece and which has blossomed again, is not the crude materialistic desire to eat, drink, and be merry. It is a spiritual joy in living and a confidence in the future, which makes this life a thing worthwhile.
I bet we'll talk as well about the President's remarkable oration in Dallas yesterday, which also bespeaks a humane alternative to the dark days we've been suffering of late.

And, because part of me occupies the alternate universe in which our Study Abroad course might have drawn two more participants, maybe we'll also talk a bit about Freud and Keats. We were to visit their homes today.

"On 26th August 1910, Gustav Mahler took a four hour walk with Sigmund Freud..." Anybody care to research this? (Final reports due soon. Just sayin'.) Or Freud's general affinity for walking meetings?

Or Keats's pub crawl in Hampstead, "a magnet for creative people" where thirsty pilgrims are advised to "drop into The Flask and drink in the ambience of a genuine Victorian pub."

Or Highgate Cemetery, final London home of Karl Marx.

And tomorrow, Darwin's sandwalk and home at Down House.

The home I'd really like to revisit, though, is the one on Westmount as I left it in 1960. That would be some pilgrimage. Physics won't support it, but imagination does.

5:43/5:42, 73/95, 8:03

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Wait 'til next year

This would have been Day 1 of our Study Abroad course, if just a couple more intrepid students had signed on. We'd be in London this morning, with planned visits to Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill and Dickens' House, beginning to immerse ourselves in the peripatetic history and culture of that storied isle, soaking up the post-Brexit chaos, anticipating an election we're not already sick of.

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel," said Walpole, "but a comedy to those who think.” We really need to think hard, these days.

“The whole secret of life is to be interested in one thing profoundly and in a thousand things well.” That's Horace, in whose spirit Bertie Russell conquered happiness.

Walking with Dickens would have been a challenge. He went "far and fast" at all hours. "If I could not walk far and fast, I think I should just explode and perish."

We can wait 'til next year, anticipation is more than half the fun. You promise you'll still be there, right Britannia?

6 am/5:42, 72/89, 8:04

Monday, July 11, 2016

Community of humanity

"To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust. It is to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically."

Henry got that right. Younger Daughter had a practical problem with her right front tire yesterday, easily solved with a call to AAA. 

We had a problem about where to take Granny for dinner Saturday, solved by the sleek new Sylvan Park Edley's. I recommend the catfish platter.

Sean Carroll solves the manufactured theoretical problem of "methodological naturalism" by reminding us that science is committed to empiricism.

Now, what's the practical solution to the problem of race in America?  "Magnanimity and trust," scaled up and multiplied across the "community of humanity." 

That last phrase was articulated on the radio the other day by a wise policeman who resisted an interviewer's repeated dichotomous references to "the law enforcement community" and "the African-American community," as if those sub-communities did not overlap and were not subsumed by the larger community to which we all belong.

"Community of humanity" captures the solution in words, in theory. We clearly need a lot more practice.

6 am/5:41, 74/84/70, 8:04

Friday, July 8, 2016

Not okay

"I'm right here with you, Mommy. It's okay." The little Minnesota girl's heart-rending display of maturity and compassion, in a brutal situation bereft of adult supervision, is at once hopeful and shaming. The little children shall have to lead. They deserve far better from us. 

The news makes us cringe and cry every day. For smiles and laughter it looks like we're on our own. 

6 am/5:39, 79/90/72, 8:05

Thursday, July 7, 2016

One-dimensional man

George Saunders could have been eavesdropping on our class last night, when we talked about Thoreau and how to get off the news-cycle "treadmill." Baton Rouge is just the latest tragic instance, but it's the same sad old story.
In the old days, a liberal and a conservative (a “dove” and a “hawk,” say) got their data from one of three nightly news programs, a local paper, and a handful of national magazines, and were thus starting with the same basic facts (even if those facts were questionable, limited, or erroneous). Now each of us constructs a custom informational universe, wittingly (we choose to go to the sources that uphold our existing beliefs and thus flatter us) or unwittingly (our app algorithms do the driving for us). The data we get this way, pre-imprinted with spin and mythos, are intensely one-dimensional. Drumpf Days
Thoreau thought it best to ignore most of the news, most of the time. "If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident... we never need read of another. One is enough. If you are acquainted with the principle, what do you care for a myriad instances and applications? To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip..."

How many iterations of the generically-same horrible event (usually involving firearms) must we rehearse? I wouldn't agree with Henry that one's enough, if those iterations reflect systemic corruption whose only cure is collective outrage and a refusal to take it anymore. It would be immoral to ignore that news.

But the news-cycle is something else, not a call to concerted action against injustice but a continuous looping screaming headline of astonished impotent distraction. The killing never stops, the hand-wringing never works. We fret about it until the next thing comes along.

What to do? Look away from the gossip, get the facts, muster and share your outrage when that's the right response, fix the broken system - or at least notice that it's broken. Listening to the same screaming headlines, spun this way and that without regard to what can be known of the facts, until those headlines are displaced by tomorrow's, gets us nowhere.

5 am/5:39, 71/93, 8:05

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Look out

Back from Chattanooga, where we took in a Lookouts game on the 4th. The AA experience there is superb, the quality of play by the young would-be Minnesota Twins impressive, the beer selection excellent, the concessionaires friendlier, the between-innings kitsch more over-the-top (in a good way). The fireworks were disappointing, but that just meant we got back to the hotel in time to catch more of Vin Scully and the Dodgers. Glad we went.

Yesterday we toured the UTC campus. The shiny new library's remade the look and feel of the place, which greatly impressed Younger Daughter. Maybe she'll be a Moc after all, and not a Vol. The admissions staff and tour leader sold her on the "college experience" to be had there, which these days includes amenities like a state-of-the-art aquatic center complete with Lazy River and Water Slide.  Oh, to be a "rising senior" again!

I was up early yesterday for a bluff-and-river walk and a stroll across the city's now-iconic pedestrian bridge. Very livable place, Chattanooga. I can almost forgive them for Bob Corker.

Image result for chattanooga

Now it's back to our semi-virtual stroll with the increasingly-neo-connish Arthur Herman, who in today's reading juxtaposes Marx and Mill. A quick corrective check-in with Bertrand Russell makes a crucial point Herman misses: Mill increasingly drifted from his early enthusiasm for classical economics and libertarian restraint, towards what we would now call progressive liberalism and democratic socialism. Doesn't quite fit the Cave & Light agenda but it's the truth. Mill thanked Wordsworth and the romantics for restoring his sanity and humanity. Neocons, take note. Homeschoolers too.

5:45/6:35, 73/90, 8:06

Saturday, July 2, 2016


"The Beginning of Something Is Always the End of Another" is a good poem to mark the end of the line for Keillor's "Companion" - but is it true? Can't a new project begin without displacing an older one? Begin a new column while continuing to produce the Almanac, for instance?

Or declare your independence without withdrawing affection and regard for the mother country? July 2 is in fact our true Independence Day, they only formalized it on the 4th. Whenever. It's a terrific holiday, if you can keep your distance from the Rousseau type of hyper-patriots who reflexively hate "foreigners" and say we should give all for country but not for kind.

"The impulse to read Self-Reliance is significant here, as is the holiday itself —my favorite secular one for being public and for its implicit goal of leaving us only as it found us: free..." Richard Ford,Independence Day
"There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried..." Emerson, Self-reliance
So, as GK says, "don’t give up hope. The Trumpists shall pass. God save America." Or maybe we can do that ourselves. Worth a try.

Found a couple of independent spirits out on the lawn at dawn this morning.

6 am/5:36, 70/90, 8:06

Friday, July 1, 2016


I'm pleased to learn that my prolific old friend Michael Sims has a new book out, on Conan Doyle's Holmes, and another in the oven on Darwin. He just keeps popping them out. We worked together at the old Mills Bookstore in Hillsboro Village, now long gone, where he told me about growing up among incurious people in the least-bookish rural Tennessee enclave imaginable. His authorial achievement is impressive, and against that background heroic.

And speaking of Darwin, this is the anniversary of the first presentation (in 1858) to a popular audience of the world-shaking evolutionary vision he'd been sitting on for over twenty years.  The Almanac describes his quiet life among family and dogs and pigeons in Kent as monkish, "with specific times each day for walking, napping, reading, and backgammon." Well, not many monks have such an impact. None can boast of having hatched the best idea ever.

Got out to only my second Sounds game of the season last night, another Dodgers game (OK City this time). The hometeam sported their "throwback" unis, from the era when I first saw them. My game companion, like me, is also of that era. We agreed that the between-innings music selections, '80s schlock mostly, didn't throw back far enough, not even to 1979. Remember "The Logical Song" and "My Sharona"? Probably not.

6 am/5:36, 65/89, 8:06