From August, 2013

New You Can Use

How to make perfect coffee. Funny, there is no mention of a Florence Siphon, which of course, helped inspire a fabulous scene in one of the greatest television shows in the history of Ever:  

Very Interesting–and Ultimately Irrelevant–Facts about Ali Khamene’i

I will freely admit to finding Akbar Ganji’s article about Iran’s supreme leader fascinating–especially excerpts like this one: As a young man, Khamenei loved novels. He read such Iranian writers as Muhammad Ali Jamalzadah, Sadeq Chubak, and Sadeq Hedayat but came to feel that they paled before classic Western writers from France, Russia, and the United Kingdom. He has praised Leo Tolstoy and Mikhail Sholokhov and likes Honoré de Balzac and Michel Zévaco, but he considers Victor Hugo supreme. As he told some officials of Iran’s state-run television network in 2004, In my opinion, Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables is the best novel…

Because It Is a Monday, and We May Need a Humor Break . . .

I give you this. My favorite part: The third section is both incoherent and unconvincing. The long digression regarding the work of Richard Wagner is hardly appropriate; again, the author’s personal animosities are unpleasant to have to wade through. I would much rather see a return to the style of his earlier The Birth of Tragedy, which seemed to me altogether more sure-footed in its following of the transcendental achievements of Schopenhauer and Kant, which the author has sadly turned away from. (Via John Protevi.)

Crimes Against Humanity

Can we all agree that this is abominable, and that all people–regardless of race, religion, gender, political creed, or affinity for certain sports teams–ought to unite against this utterly horrible idea?

Now Under Attack: School Choice in Louisiana

I am one of those radical revolutionaries who believes that education is the great civil rights struggle of our time, and that as part and parcel of that struggle, parents who don’t like the public schools where their kids are going ought to have the right to take their kids out of a failing public school and use vouchers to exercise school choice–including patronizing private and religious schools where kids can receive better educations. I believe this strongly enough that if I were re-drafting the Constitution, I would make school choice–along with economic liberty–part of the Bill of Rights. I…

Utterly Smash, Destroy and Obliterate the Rotting Counterrevolutionary Line Inherent in Being Reincarnated Without Great Proletarian Approval!

Not from the Onion: In one of history’s more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is “an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation.” But beyond the irony lies China’s true motive: to cut off the influence of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual and political leader, and to quell the region’s Buddhist religious establishment more than 50 years…

Quote of the Day

My father was a failure in business, but he read Horace in the loo until he died, poor but happy. —David Ogilvy.

Melville and His Influences

A fascinating read: IN THE GENERAL RARE BOOKS COLLECTION at Princeton University Library sits a stunning two-volume edition of John Milton that once belonged to Herman Melville. Melville’s tremendous debt to Milton — and to Homer, Virgil, the Bible, and Shakespeare — might be evident to anyone who has wrestled with the moral and intellectual complexity that lends Moby Dick its immortal heft, but to see Melville’s marginalia in his 1836 Poetical Works of John Milton is to understand just how intimately the author of the great American novel engaged with the author of the greatest poem in English. Checkmarks, underscores, annotations,…

Paul Krugman Accused of Plagiarism

I for one am very interested in getting to the bottom of this story. Of course, it goes without saying that if Farmer is wrong, he should apologize publicly and without reservation to Krugman. But if he is right . . .