When I first met her. Real easy to remember.

Published in: on December 14, 2011 at 1:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hey, WordPress, are you out there?

Somebody is embedding advertisements in my posts.  What the hell is going on?

Published in: on September 7, 2011 at 11:04 am  Comments (1)  

Booklist 1

In the spirit of my last post, here is a partial list of the books I’ve read this past year.  I reconstructed it from the eBooks I’ve read.  It does not include the books of mathematics, philosophy, or poetry I’ve dipped into.  It does not include the hardcopy books I read before I bought the iPad.

I’ll keep the list up to date with the latest book read appearing first on the list.

Dec, 2010 – Paris 1919, Margaret MacMillan
Dec, 2010 – The Museum of Innocence, Orhan Pamuk
Dec, 2010 – The Aeneid, Virgil, Stanley Lombardo translator
Nov, 2010 – Life, Keith Richards
Unk, 2010 – Sin Killer, Larry McMurtry
Unk, 2010 – The Wandering Hill, Larry McMurty
Unk, 2010 – By Sorrow’s River, Larry McMurtry
Unk, 2010 – Folly and Glory, Larry McMurtry
Unk, 2010 – The Fabric of the Cosmos, Brian Greene
Unk, 2010 – Hitch 22, Christopher Hitchens
Unk, 2010 – Memory Wall, Anthony Doerr
Unk, 2010 – The Big Short, Michael Lewis
Unk, 2010 – The Equation That Couldn’t Be Solved, Mario Livio
Unk, 2010 – Shakespeare’s Philosophy, Colin McGinn
Unk, 2010 – War and Peace, Tolstoy, Constance Garnett tranlator
Unk, 2010 – Einstein, Walter Isaacson
Unk, 2010 – The Portable Atheist, Christopher Hitchens editor
Unk, 2010 – Decarte’s Bones, Russell Shorto
Unk, 2010 – Isaac Newton, James Gleick
Unk, 2010 – Three Stations, Martin Cruz Smith
Unk, 2010 – The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo, Stieg Larsson
Unk, 2010 – The Girl Who Played with Fire, Stieg Larsson
Unk, 2010 – The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Stieg Larsson
Unk, 2010 – C, Tom McCarthy
Unk, 2010 – Yearning For the Impossible, John Sitwell
Unk, 2010 – Symmetry, Marcus Du Sautoy
Unk, 2010 – The Archimedes Codex, Reviel Netz, William Noel
Unk, 2010 – Symmetry and the Monster, Mark Ronan
Unk, 2010 – Godel’s Proof, Ernest Nagel, James R. Newman
Unk, 2010 – From Zero to Infinity, Constance Reid
Unk, 2010 – The Whole Five Feet, Christopher R. Beha
Unk, 2010 – Chess Fundamentals, Jose R. Capablanca

Published in: on December 29, 2010 at 3:15 pm  Leave a Comment  


The trees were spectacularly shagged and crusted with snow on the drive this morning from Iowa to Chicago. I felt as though I belonged in the world

Published in: on December 27, 2010 at 3:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Annals of reading: part whatever

Lots of awful songs play upon the jukebox. I have my Lombardo translation of The Aeneid to get me through the night, so fuck the jukebox. (Sorry, Orla, I just had to work that in there somewhere.)

Published in: on December 7, 2010 at 11:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Pope on Homer and Virgil

In the preface of his translation of Homer’s Iliad, Pope mentions that Virgil is not Homer’s equal.

I, in all my temerity, wonder.

Published in: on December 6, 2010 at 11:29 pm  Comments (2)  

Getting in; getting out

OK, I am totally sucked in by Stanley Lombardo’s highly readable and elegant translation of Virgil’s Aeneid. (Pamuk, I know you’ll understand why I am delayed, once again, finishing your latest novel.)

The Sybil tells Aeneas that it will be easy to get into the underworld and hard getting out, but just the opposite turns out to be true.

What’s that all about? Some kind of literary faux pas by Virgil or some subtle thing the author intended the people who were truly following his narrative ought to understand?

Published in: on December 6, 2010 at 10:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Annals of desire: part whatever

You are reading The Museum of Innocence. You read Book IV of The Aeneid at the same time–you know the part about the marriage of Aeneas and Dido.

Serious desire–the emotion that consumes you and won’t let you go until it kills you or at least makes you want to die–has no peer except the shock of combat and war.

Yet where would we be without it? Pretty much nowhere I expect.

Published in: on December 5, 2010 at 7:44 pm  Leave a Comment  


I was reading Orhan Pamuk’s The Museum of Innocence when the new Keith Richards book so rudely interrupted me. But as rude interruptions go it was a pretty damned good one. Now, I’m back to Pamuk.

I’ve read My Name Is Red, and Snow, two books that blew me away. The Museum of Innocence hasn’t blown me away, yet slowly it sucks me in as if I’m holding a vortex in my hand.

I doubt if a time will come when I won’t read the latest Pamuk novel.

Published in: on December 5, 2010 at 6:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Shut in

It got cold and snowed and I spent the weekend as a shut in with nothing to do but read, read, read.

Lynn, you poor thing.

Published in: on December 5, 2010 at 6:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

Stray dog annals

She sits real close to me in the bar, but she has her daughter in tow. I get her shit faced. She leans into me and says, “I’d fuck you if I weren’t with my daughter and it wasn’t her birthday.”

“I’ll pay her cab fare back to the hotel,” I say.

Nothing doing. Another stray dog that missed my list.

I hate that.

Published in: on November 12, 2010 at 4:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Small change annals of gambling

I have bets on the football, baseball, and hockey games tonight. Sports are always more interesting to me when I bet, even if I only have small change bet on them. The bookies love me if nobody else does.

What I don’t get is what I was thinking when I bet the Yankees against Cliff Lee. I suppose I was just feeling rebellious, cranky, cantankerous, and contrarian when I did it this morning.

Published in: on October 18, 2010 at 9:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tech review

WordPress on the iPad is less than useless.  Maybe, the people who create this crap ought to try using it.

Rant over.

Published in: on October 13, 2010 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Saskatoon part II

OK, pretend you are driving to Saskatoon tomorrow morning.  After all, you consider yourself a writer.

Make shit up.

Published in: on September 17, 2010 at 10:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Time for Tea

This definition is going to sound very mean spirited.

Tea Party:  A bunch of rich white folks assisted by a bunch of poor white folks who don’t know how to vote their economic interests.

Published in: on September 15, 2010 at 12:43 am  Comments (2)  

Class Warfare

One of the more interesting political epithets thrown about is that someone is fomenting class warfare.  OK, I get it.  The poor ought to stay poor and the rich ought to stay rich.

So, let’s not rescind the tax breaks for the rich who profit from the government they so bitterly despise even though without that government they wouldn’t be rich in the first place.

Published in: on September 15, 2010 at 12:37 am  Leave a Comment  

Who are you, anyway?

At the beginning of his Shakespeare’s Philosophy, Colon McGinn highlights three major philosophical issues of which Shakespeare was concerned: appearance vs. reality, other minds, and most importantly to me, the question of personal identity.

I tend to agree with Shakespeare’s statements that we are actors on a stage playing roles until our time is up.  Those roles seem forced upon us because of social obligation.  I would take it a step or two further.  We create our own narratives and consequently the roles we play in those narratives because that is what we delight in doing.  What sets us apart from other species is that we have these incredible imaginations with the ability to create metaphors that just happen to be apt when dealing with our fellow travelers and our specific physical circumstances.

Montaigne and Shakespeare swam against the tide of philosophical thinking about self identity by positing no central identity and recommending a multiple selves interpretation of the soul instead.  Despite that spectacular thread of thought, philosophy crushed their ideas, unless you count Hume’s famous account of personal identity or get into postmodern times when all interpretation became suspect or relative to the eyes of the beholder.  I think of Whitman too–“do I contradict myself…”

Let’s say I know my roles and the narratives of which they are a part.  Does that constitute the real me?  No.  It’s all going to change tomorrow based on my emotions, circumstances, and the delight I play in making shit up and then trying to make it come true.  I’m many somebodies and nobody at the same time.  Tomorrow, another somebody will be added to the list of players.

A multitude with no discernible organization seems like chaos.  And chaos, at times, seems like nothing at all.

I will die.  No immortal soul will survive me after the event, for that single isolated nonexistent soul–my so called essence–never was.  When I think about that and realize I am many people trapped in one body, yet not just that, but also many people I have created and have yet to create–well–it’s as a jewel sparkling in the sun.

Published in: on August 14, 2010 at 10:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

The second time around: part whatever

I started reading The Name of the Rose again.  It’s been so long since I first read it that it is all fresh and much better than the first time.

A medieval Sherlock Holmes philosopher clashes with the true forces of evil in the world–religious zealots.

Too bad postmodernism has gone by the wayside.  It had its works of genius.

Published in: on May 25, 2010 at 10:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

Drifting and dreaming part 5,000

A night warm and gentle.  A night for drifting and dreaming.  A night for knowing, deep down, you are who you think you ain’t.

Published in: on May 20, 2010 at 9:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Lost in Chicago

My head, this morning, tells me I celebrated my birthday hard yesterday.  But the good news is that I remembered to renew my drivers license and my picture didn’t turn out half bad for a geezer.

And I’m in first place in all my fantasy baseball leagues.  Hope I don’t jinx myself by saying that.

Now, back to jammin’ to a Bryan Adams CD.

Published in: on May 5, 2010 at 9:50 am  Leave a Comment  

Colder by the lake

Listening to Boot Liquor Radio, writing his memoirs, he glances out the window and for the first time feels he might live another 30 years.

A chill runs through him.

Published in: on May 5, 2010 at 9:46 am  Leave a Comment  


At some point he must have slept.  When daylight came, the room felt so empty it was empty even of him.

Wolf House, Hilary Mantel

Published in: on May 2, 2010 at 7:50 am  Comments (1)  

King Solomon: that was great, see you in another four years

While browsing the King James Bible this morning, I read this about King Solomon (I Kings 11:3): “And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.”

Now, I know why they called him The King and why they didn’t have divorce and alimony back in those days.

Published in: on April 30, 2010 at 7:43 am  Comments (1)  

Chess: get some

The fifth Anand/Topalov world chess championship game is about to begin.  I wish a tiny fraction of their knowledge or intuition would rub off on me.

Published in: on April 30, 2010 at 7:39 am  Leave a Comment  

Your bed

You wake up in your own bed.  What next?  Might anything be possible?

Published in: on April 30, 2010 at 6:57 am  Leave a Comment