Why I include the simple things

This is mostly a literary blog, poetry, selections from novels and non-fiction. I have been reading a lot of literature about Nazism and Totalitarianism lately, including A Century of Horrors, Secondhand Time, and rereading Hope Abandoned. This was a very illuminating process. The stultifying political correctness of today, the offhand denigration of the capitalist democracy that supports us all, masks a kind of group think that Orwell would recognize and chide us for. We don’t see through it–the deadening of individual thought this self censorship promotes in the service of inclusiveness, identity politics, diversity.

Continue reading “Why I include the simple things”

Your morning economics lesson

This morning, Larry was reading Greg Mankiw’s NY Times editorial on 45’s tax plan. Mankiw is an economics professor at Harvard.  To familiarize me with Mankiw, Larry played a country western economics song, Dual Mandate for me. I guess he was directed to this from reading Mankiw, and I incorrectly reported it as Greg. An alert reader (thanks, Dan) caught the error, but the video is still worth watching.

And Mankiw’s editorial in the Times is worth reading.

I don’t know any good poems on economics or business. As Dana Gioia has pointed out, business is the last taboo subject for poetry. I have one poem about money, and so you don’t miss a Monday poem, here it is.

Meditation on Money

I am thinking about a day forty years ago
when we were down to our last fifty cents,
and our friends drove up
with a month’s rent and groceries,
and after we ate and talked, we sat together
on the edge of the dock, saying nothing,
and watched the barnacles
slowly open their feathery lips,
slowly close them.

Meryl Natchez

The eclipse

Watching the sun disappear in gradual increments today, what amazed me most was how little you would notice if you weren’t looking at it with glasses. The light did change towards the end, but not so much. Of course, we didn’t go to total eclipeseville to see it, just to east county where the sun wasn’t obscured by fog.

What Larry said: “I don’t know what amazes me more, the sense of the bodies moving in space or the ability of the scientists to predict their movement to the minute.”

Oh, and if you want to see the poetry reading last Thursday, here it is: https://www.facebook.com/beltiblibrary/

I’m the second of three readers.

Rivalry

I read Larry a line from this review of The Art of Rivalry, a study of influences a group of modernist painters had on each other: “Lucien Freud declining a wedding invitation because he found himself ‘in the unusual position of having been involved sexually not only with the bride but also the groom and the groom’s mother.'” Larry’s response:

“At least he didn’t mention the family pets.”

The power of the limerick

According to Larry, reading from the paper this morning, Jan Böhmerman, a German comedian, is being prosecuted for reciting a lewd poem on late night TV lampooning Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey. Why? You can read about it.

erdoganThe event inspired British free-speech advocate Douglas Murray to host a contest with a Ł1,000  prize: “The President Erdogan Offensive Poetry Contest, the ruder the poem (limericks preferred) the better.”

Here’s Boris Johnson’s winning entry and an alternate version with the meter corrected by me: Continue reading “The power of the limerick”

Apolitical

Screenshot 2016-02-21 08.00.38I’ve never been very engaged in the political process–probably because my introduction was going with my mother to rallies for Adlai Stevenson. But I’ve never been quite as depressed by the process as this year. Really? This is who people are voting for?

Larry summed it up perfectly, “The biggest problem the next president will face is presiding over a nation of idiots.”