this week i

rented near the highest point in pennsylvania, where's waldo considerably more challenging sans candy cane costume


expect the national immunization surveys to add coronavirus vaccines to their youngest cohorts.  ataturk's idolatry, for roosevelt just would not be

watched charles chaplin's the gold rush. starving, spaghetti-slurps a shoelace. georgia hale matches anna morinelli's aesthetic tho no bonnie et clyde

watched battleship potemkin. above the heads of tsar's admirals thundered a brotherly hurrah. child murder in odessa. all for a spoonful of borscht


read saturday by ian mcewan

by cutting away carefully, perowne allowed gravity itself to draw the cerebellum down - no need for retractors - and it was possible to see deep into the region where the pineal lay, with the tumor extending in a vast red mass right in front of it.  the astrocytoma was well defined and had only partially infiltrated surrounding tissue.  perowne was able to excise almost all of it without damaging any eloquent region

he saw her eyes open, and her face remain immobile as she struggled to remember her place in the story of her existence

what other postgraduate aspiring poet wears short-skirted business suits and fresh white blouses, and rarely drinks and does her best work before 9 a.m.?  his little girl, slipping away from him into efficient parisian womanhood, is expecting her first volume of poems to be published in may.  and not by some hand-cranked press, but a venerable institution in queen square, right across from the hospital where he clipped his first aneurysm

anosognosia, a useful psychiatric term for a lack of awareness of one's own condition

when you're diseased it is unwise to abuse the shaman

to forget, to obliterate a whole universe of public phenomena in order to concentrate is a fundamental liberty

the sexiness of a four o'clock dusk

it's a record theo brought into the house years ago, chuck berry's old pianist, johnnie johnson, singing "tanqueray," a slouching blues of reunion and friendship.

it was a long time comin',

but i knew i would see the day

when you and i could sit down,

and have a drink of tanqueray.

she turns and comes towards him with a little dance shuffle.  when she's at his side he takes her hand.

she says, "smells like the old warmonger's made one of his fish stews.  can i be of use?"

"the young appeaser can set the table.  and make a salad dressing if you like."

he falls backwards, and arms outstretched, still holding the knife in his right hand.  there's a moment, which seems to unfold and luxuriously expand, when all goes silent and still, when baxter is entirely airborne, suspended in time, looking directly at henry with an expression, not so much of terror, as dismay.  and henry thinks he sees in the wide brown eyes a sorrowful accusation of betrayal.  he, henry perowne, possesses so much - the work, money, status, the home, above all, the family - the handsome healthy son with the strong guitarist's hands come to rescue him, the beautiful poet for a daughter, unattainable even in her nakedness, the famous father-in-law, the gifted, loving wife; and he has done nothing, given nothing to baxter who has so little that is not wrecked by his defective gene, and who is soon to have even less



this week i

updated our estimates of the out-of-pocket costs of insulin among the elderly and disabled

watched be kind rewind, with its coinage of sweding.  i didn't sabotage the power plant.  the power plant sabotaged me


watched some like it hot.  i tell you joe, they're on to us.  they're going to line us up against the wall (machine gun motion) e-e-e-e-e and the cops are gonna find two dead dames and they'll take us to the ladies' morgue and when they undress us i tell you joe i'm gonna die of shame

title these cute because astute, the corner of the dueling lamps.  sal drew 48 states, maine closest to africa.  marcie had a baby of unusual size



(1) the culture and history of duelling

the angry brawl was drained of passion, made mindful and even elegant.  a doctor was always on hand, but deaths were common.  then, in the second half of the 19th century, the practice declined and disappeared.  it's 'the sheer incomprehensibility'

posterity can only watch in amazement


(2) mistaken deification, accidental divinity

the word 'mahatma' stinks in my nostrils

a binary division between humanity and divinity was itself a peculiarly christian dogma

for emperors, it became a routine accolade - "oh dear, i think i'm becoming a god," vespasian is said to have joked on his deathbed in 79 ce

(3) the fourth filmed macbeth

welles and polanski opted for soliloquies to be spoken in voice-over

(4) logical accounting ledger

"a point is that which has no part," says euclid

a jarring scholastic experience sandwiched between two years of algebra.  until that moment mathematics had been about finding the answer to a question: for example, "sally rows downstream for 20 miles with a current of 2 miles per hour and the trip upstream takes 5 hours.  how fast does sally row?"  in geometry, however, you're told the answer - "if in a triangle two angles equal each other, then the sides opposite the equal angles also equal each other" - and then asked to find a reason, and explain it.  qed


(5) regolith, astrobionics, plants do perceive the lunar soil environment as stressful

(6) with not much more heat than is needed to cook a pizza, copper-spiked zeolite can zap methane from passing air

(7) leonid kravchuk...three leaders agreed..."the ussr as a subject of international law and a geopolitical reality ceases its existence"


(8) supply chains: uncertain consequences of removing major elements of a system whose deep workings and sources of stability remain unmapped

 for decades, policymakers have assumed that production and financial markets can largely look after themselves, with some oversight by regulators.  these assumptions are poorly suited to a world in which hostile governments can weaponize the weak points in the global economy against their adversaries

before the covid-19 pandemic, few people noticed or cared that a single german manufacturer produces roughly 75% of the machines for processing the fabrics that high-quality medical masks require


(9) the methodological limits of climate science

 the key feature of the that it is unpriced

economists 'set themselves too easy, too useless a task', keynes said, 'if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is long past the ocean is flat again'

climate change means that when we try to look twenty or fifty years ahead, we have very little capacity to anticipate conditions

 a forecast of 2 per cent annual global consumption growth over the next decades..isn't optimistic or pessimistic so much as baseless



(10) old books

more than five hundred calves died to create the magnificent codex amiatinus, the oldest complete latin bible, which dates from the time of bede

the 'tremulous hand of worcester'

many nunneries had scriptoria whose personnel signed themselves as scriptrix, or female scribe

manuscripts bear telltale signs of their use.  in fact, book historians love the sloppy readers who would have pained librarians of old.  marginal notes supply priceless evidence of reader response to texts, while maniculae or pointing hands highlight key passages.  if beeswax stains indicate liturgical reading, the humbler tallow wax suggests a late-night lay reader at home.  saint boniface used a manuscript to shield himself when attacked by robbers; the slashes it suffered make it a relic of his martyrdom.  pages of many books are marred by dirty fingerprints, wine stains or, in one case, cat urine.  an angry scribe in 1420 scrawled next to smelly lacuna: 'confundatur pessimus cattus qui minxit super librum istum in nocte' ('a curse on the wicked cat that pissed on this book last night').  evidence of private censorship isn't rare.  not only are passages of text deleted, but angry readers even scratched out images that offended them, such as a demon or a fornicating couple

(11) petty identity theft

jonathan franzen is impersonated so often he has saved on his desktop a picture of himself holding a sign that says 'i'm not on twitter.'  he periodically emails this to the relevant authorities who, presumably, take prompt action.  which is all very well if you're jonathan franzen.  but the genius of impersonating someone like me is that i'm the only one who cares

read ten great films by stanley kauffmann

 eisenstein's potemkin: he establishes, by typage, a woman with glasses protesting the soldiers' butchery.  shortly afterward, we see an officer swinging a saber at the camera; then we cut to her face, one lens of her glasses shattered, her eye streaming blood, her features frozen in shock.  (the bank teller in bonnie and clyde who was shot through the car window is her direct descendant.)  the suggestion of the blow's force by ellipsis is masterly enough; but in the brief moment in which we see the officer swinging his saber at us, totaling less than two seconds, there are four different shots of him, exploding his fury into a horrifying prism


chaplin's the gold rush: the tramp twirls the shoelaces on his fork like spaghetti



ozu's tokyo story: mr. ozu looked happiest when he was engaged in writing a scenario with mr. kogo noda, at the latter's the time he had finished writing a script...he had already made up every image in every shot...the words were so polished that he would never allow us a single mistake

ozu often begins a shot before the characters enter and holds it after they leave - almost as if to prove that the place has been brought into existence by the expectation and fact of their visit

wilder's some like it hot: osgood talks about wedding plans with jerry, who is still in female dress, and dismisses jerry's frenzied objections.  at last, even at the risk of spoiling their means of escape from the hoods, jerry is forced to rip off his wig and say he can't marry osgood because he's a man.  to which the smiling, unswervable osgood replies with the famous last line



this week i

drank black coffee at kennedy center's reach, lots of people wearing salmon, perhaps in solidarity.  moon landing warhol, martin wolfe introduced as the mick jagger of the ft.  mick jagger is older than i am.  cia director complained i know daniel craig, as my wife and daughter constantly remind me.  arts panel on the year 1922, ulysses published, louis armstrong joined king oliver.  kissinger can still pack a house, tie tucked into his pants

the outbreak of world war one was not intended by any of the major countries..the technology had gotten way ahead of the strategic thinking

unified russia, unified china, fractured america

in the decades ahead, extinguish adversarial relationships


dogsat, watched kazuo ishiguro's never let me go, about the barbarism of euphemism.  more moved by hokusai's daily exorcisms, tiger in the snow

read erik the red's entry.  born norway, raised leif erikson in iceland, settled greenland, died there of black death.  hvalsey church seashells as mortar

while erik's wife took heartily to christianity, even commissioning greenland's first church, erik greatly disliked it and stuck to his norse gods - which, the sagas relate, led thjodhild to withhold intercourse from her husband


read jane smiley's the greenlanders.  topographic map reveals inland lake beneath the ice sheet

  asgeir said his brother could make the killing of a polar bear sound like a day at the butter churn

ketil's horses were seaweed eaters, which, asgeir said, made them hard to handle

a hundred and twenty-four pairs of walrus tusks wrapped in fine wadmal of a reddish brown color went in first, for they were ivory, and extremely valuable, said ivar bardarson, and formed the greater part of the tithe owed by the gardar bishopric to the pope for the last ten years.  amongst these went forty-nine twisted narwhal tusks, and then, on top of these, cushioning and protecting them, went the two polar bear hides

it is obvious that the two of you are such cowards that you need the permission of your servants to do what needs to be done

in the last days before the departure of these two in the summer of 1383, the master of the thorlakssuden, a man by the name of markus arason, went about gathering payments for the wooden beams and laps of his broken ship, and those who refused to pay were told that they would have none of the driftage.  this was contrary to the law of greenland, which at this time said that driftwood was the property of that man whose strand it caught upon, but the olafssuden's master declared that he cared nothing for the law of greenland, and that the ship would be burned to the water line if not paid for.  and indeed, on the evening before the departure of the olafssuden, the thorlakssuden was broken apart with axes, and folk who had paid the norwegian were given their beams and laps, and the rest of the wood was burned in a great bonfire, and his sailors stood about the fire with their axes to prevent anyone from throwing water upon it.  and the greenlanders considered this a great crime, but they were unable to prevent the departure of the olafssuden, and this event was spoken of for some years

our lenten fast will carry us straight to heaven this year

the six new judges, at least, were inexperienced enough to gaze upon the pleader, where older and wiser men would not do this, but would look away most of the time, and only listen closely to the words

indeed, those seals that the skraelings get in the winter, which can only be gotten by skraelings and never by men, are hard enough even for skraelings to get.  finn stayed with the skraelings for two days, for they are hospitable beings, and he watched two men hunting, and this is what they do.  a man stands with a spear poised above his head, looking down at a seal hole in the ice, and he waits without moving or breathing for as much as a day or even two.  the highest winds and the most blinding storms do not move him, for he is enchanted with a spell that turns him to stone.  now a seal comes to the hole to take air, and the spear flies downward, as if by magic, into the mouth and head of the seal, and then the same spear is used to pull the seal up through the ice, for somehow it catches in the seal's flesh.  finn greatly admired such skills, but it is like admiring the work of the devil, for as soon as a man declares his faith in god, and puts himself in the hands of the lord, then he loses the power to hunt in this skraeling way, for men must choose between this world and the next and not do as esau the son of isaac did when he sold his birthright for a bowl of broth

in three years, a ship would land in greenland, and it would carry many icelanders, and also that god had reviled both the roman pope and the french pope, and had not allowed anyone into heaven who had died since the beginning of the schism, for the real pope hid himself in jerusalem, and would soon burst forth with such a light that it would be visible and known even to the greenlanders

it seems to me that cases at the thing end in fighting and killing sooner or later, and always have

folk who pay for meat with song // must chew for a moment, and sing all evening long

her days among the norwegians had been unhappy ones, and the only norwegian farmer who had made an offer for her hand was a fellow with a great goiter at his neck, and although he was wealthy and powerful, she saw at once that he had never had a chance among the norwegian girls, but had thought so little of her that he had been confident of her acceptance.  a woman who has lands in iceland, especially lands partly covered with smoking lava, was not such a prize to a norwegian.  even if her father had been lawspeaker, her father was dead now, and his death in a volcanic avalanche so peculiar as to put folk off, unless they were icelandic

either suckle the bear and the child together, or..milk herself and feed the bear through an eagle's quill, as folk do when a child is unable to suck

immobile as a skraeling at the seal hole

later, perhaps, we will sit at the loom and talk to one another

a man in herjolfsnes claimed driftage rights over some wood that came to his strand, and then drifted off in the night and came to his neighbor's strand, and he had beaten a servant of his neighbor's when the servant had begun to carry off the wood, so that the servant had lost use of his arm and shoulder, and was therefore of less value to his master.  two fishermen, who were brothers, had built a boat together, and then fallen out, so that each claimed the boat.  a man from dyrnes had set to beating his wife, but had ended up killing her instead of chastising her.  two boys from the southern part of vatna hverfi district had gone about stealing from various storehouses, so that they amassed some thirty-six whole rounds of cheese, and instead of eating it, they had broken it up and left it to rot in antler lake.  a man and his wife from brattahlid laid claim to a farm abandoned by their brother, although the brother himself had made a present of the farm to his concubine.  such were the cases that occupied the thing in this year



this week i

received an email from professor brian ripley asking to fix a downstream issue with conveysascii updated as well, only occurrence during my thirties

flew to fort lee.  parc guellesque benches outside grant's tomb, we ate rolled ice cream after many how fast can you run to [lots of things] and back?


read the platypus entry, morphologically a duck that's swallowed a baby alligator whole

one of the few species of venomous mammals

the first scientists to examine a preserved platypus body (in 1799) judged it a fake, made of several animals sewn together

feeding by neither sight nor smell, the platypus closes its eyes, ears, and nose each time it dives.  rather, when it digs in the bottom of streams with its bill, its electroreceptors detect electric currents generated by muscular contractions of its prey

listened to salman khan on collateralized debt obligations.  if you have a dead skunk in your house, you won't notice that the milk is going bad 

attended 66th bannockburn spring show.  telemedicine (sexual healing, marvin gaye) plus neighborhood open house tours snooping for bdsm dungeons

cannot distinguish 2022 jessica simpson from 2022 britney spears.  addhealth asks interviewers to rate respondent physical attractiveness

listen to lyle lovett to remember despite uncomfortable politics, unpleasant weather, hostile terrain, a texan accent an objectively beautiful dialect


(1) balletic homeric violence

the wwf (world wrestling federation, later world wrestling entertainment after losing a legal battle with the panda people)

my imagination in a headlock

i touched the undertaker

imagine a sporting event - a football game, say - that has been manipulated to be as enthralling as possible: competitive, unpredictable, dramatic, goal-filled, full of technical dazzlement and human emotion

wrestlers are fantastic bleeders

(2) the pyrocene epoch, one death in five

sacrifice zones

of the world's fourteen most polluted metropolises, only one (hotan in china) is outside india

when there's more smog in the air, chess players make more mistakes

clean air and clean water tend to be much more popular with voters than climate-focused environmental policies

in the entire 20th century, there were only five fires that burned more than 100,000 acres.  in 2020, there were eleven such fires

(3) humans are essentially embodied creatures

aristotle argued that what he considered the highest form of human flourishing - intellectual contemplation of the universe - could only be achieved by property-owning greek males


read cultural literacy by e.d. hirsch, jr. which argues that citizens unable to understand commonplace references in fact cannot read

writings that culturally literate people have read about but haven't read.  das kapital is a good example.  cultural literacy is represented not by a prescriptive list of books but rather by a descriptive list of the information actually possessed by literate americans.  my aim in this book is to contribute to making that information the possession of all americans

were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, i should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.  but i should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them

left to itself, a child will not grow into a thriving creature; tarzan is pure fantasy

it takes a subject much longer to say true or false to the sentence "a chicken is a bird" than to "a robin is a bird"

the form "he run," used in some oral dialects, would not only be sufficient, it would make the very entirely regular.  people would need to learn just one form for the present tense.  that arrangement would not only be more rational, it would represent a more advanced stage in the development of a syntactic language, as the linguist jespersen has argued.  it is a pattern that english would surely have reached if it had remained an oral language and been allowed to evolve further.  in fact, as a dialectical form, "he run" has evolved independently in many different isolated places, in both america and britain.  if plain run is good enough for i, you, we, they, why isn't it good enough for he, she, it?  because we have no choice in the matter.  the decision was made by those who fixed our grammar at a certain stage of its evolution, and their decision will probably stand forever

the word doubt, for instance, never had a b sound in english.  why then spell it with a b?  because schoolmasters chose to show a connection between the english word doubt and the latin word dubito

frontier education

the polarization of educationists into facts-people versus skills-people has no basis in reason.  facts and skills are inseparable

the ciceronian ideal of universal public discourse