Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Flock of Bells...

A flock of bells takes the air
and you come to me, out of nowhere

and I smile, knowing you'll visit me
always, that this is how it will be

till the last thread of an island
slips through a bell-ringer's hands

and they put me in the listening earth.

--Paul Henry

Heavenly Devil

Paid a visit to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, as far as I know, the only aquarium in the U.S. housing giant Manta rays. Though often labeled the "devil ray," the creature is truly divine.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Five Stars for Aristotle

I've pretty much stopped reading or listening to "professional" critics when it comes to evaluating books and movies.  These days the ratings of readers and viewers (e.g. "stars" on Amazon or Netflix) are far more reliable indicators of quality and entertainment value.  As the great classicist Peter Jones points out, even old Aristotle would have agreed: 
"Aristotle himself (384-322 bc) saw some virtue in mass decision-making. He argued that one of the things that could be said for real democracy was that the more people who had a say, the more likely one was to get a reasonable result, since many brains were better than one; and he applied the same argument to the judging of poetry and plays. ‘For even where there are many people, each has some share of virtue and practical wisdom; and when they are brought together… they become one in regard to character and intelligence.’"

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Broom, Spade and Rifle

"Man never understands that the cities he has built are not an integral part of nature.  If he wants to defend his culture from wolves and snowstorms, if he wants to save it from being strangled by weeds, he must keep his broom, spade and rifle always at hand.  If he goes to sleep, if he thinks about something else for a year or two, everything's lost.  The wolves come out of the forest, the thistles spread and everything is buried under dust and snow.  Just think how many great capitals have succumbed to dust, snow and couch-grass."
--Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate