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hello again


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It’s been a few days since I have posted here. I seem to be getting fewer and fewer readers. But I believe there are some who check here periodically. Most but not all have the last name Jenkins. Hello dear readers and welcome back. Thanks for reading.

Since posting I have been to the dermatologist. He pointed out that we are a year out from my melanoma with no discernible return. This is a blessing. He goes over every inch of my skin each time. This time he asked about how often I wash my hair. I am using hypo allergenic everything including shampoo and conditioner. Of course, they are not as strong as something like Selsum Blue. My dermatologist said I should return to using something strong to help my scalp. Easy enough.

He also recommended moisturizing my skin more. I have been doing this for my upper arms. They have healed considerably since my body rash began. Moisturizing most of my body seems to make a big difference. I think it’s a dry time year of year anyway.

I am finding working without Rev Jen very distressing. She is a sane voice in a typically crazy church situation. I continue to bifurcate in my attitudes toward church and Christianity. While I find the Psalms and Old Testament fascinating enough to pursue Robert Alter’s work, religiosity repels me. Also, weird bigotry and racism soft pedaled in a West Michigan way will be the death of me.

But mostly I keep this to myself and hope that Jen is recovered enough to return soon.

I am trying to finish books that I have been reading. I discovered years ago that if I read a few pages in a book daily, eventually I get it read. However, at this time of life, I am motivated to knock a few of these off. This week I finished Lyndall Gordon’s amazing biography of T. S. Eliot.

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It is a work of biographic virtuosity. She gets inside the elusive Mr. Eliot and shows his complexity without adulation but with some nice clarity. She also knows his work thoroughly. After finishing this, I am returning to read and reread some Eliot beginning with his play The Elder Statesmen.

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I am also working on finishing up Alan Moore’s lengthy mad novel, Jerusalem. 

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It amazes me how much the history of hymnody plays into Moore’s story.

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It’s difficult to explain. But he cleverly pulls in many hymn writers including Charles Wesley and Philip Doddridge.

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Moore is intent on writing about the history of his beloved Northampton. Some cool stuff. And also a lot of crazy stuff. I love it!

I am finishing up my first read of Dante’s Divine Comedy. At this point I am planning to seek out another translation of it to read next.

First Things | America’s Most Influential Journal of Religion 

During this difficult time in America, I am reading like mad to help me understand what is happening. First Things was mentioned in today’s On The Media as a source of weirdness about the Trumpian movement.

Against the Dead Consensus | Various | First Things

Specifically this article is cited as a turning point where the minority of so called conservatives decide to abandon Democracy in order to turn out society towards Higher Things. Madness.
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On a happier note, what’s left of The Who have released a new album. I have been listening to it on Spotify and it is a bit of antidote to the madness for this old boomer.
I like everything I’ve heard from this album. Here’s an example.



books and music


I have been looking at Nico Muhly’s O Antipons for a few years. I think this may be the year to schedule a couple. I have been downplaying my organ practice in order to have more time for other stuff. But at the same time, I like to learn and perform new music. I am planning on improvising the prelude and postlude next Sunday. I have been rehearsing a few of these O Antiphons. I will probably schedule them for Advent III and possible on Advent IV. I am planning on doing a lot of easy Christmas organ music. I love the French Noels. This is the time of year to do them.

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I continue to be intrigued by Robert Alter’s translations of the Hebrew scriptures. I listened to a lecture of his on YouTube. I am finding that the appeal of his work to me is related to my interest in Homer. It is fun to learn more about the stories and poems of the bible that have been my life long companions. I like Alter’s approach. I have always wondered about how the Hebrew works in the Bible and that is one of the main thrusts of his work.

I continue slugging away on my first reading of Dante’s Divine Comedy. I’m also reading in The Poet’s Dante, taking it an essay at a time. Today I read T. S. Eliot’s “What Dante Means to Me.” I have already run down another essay that he did on Dante, going so far as to order a collection of his essays in order to read and savor it.

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Today’s essay got me thinking about the poet Shelly. Eliot points to Shelly’s unfinished poem, “The Triumph of Life,” as an example of an English poet upon whom Dante’s influence was “remarkable.” “The Triumph of Life” is written in the terza rima the rhyme scheme that Dante uses throughout. I pulled out my Oxford edition of Shelly to look at it and discovered that it is peppered throughout with notes by Mary Shelly. Whoohoo!

This essay of Eliot’s contains some passages I had to note.

“One test of the great masters, of whom Shakespeare is one, is that the appreciation of their poetry is a lifetime’s task, because at every stage of maturing—and that should be one’s whole life—you are able to understand them better. Among these are Shakespeare, Dante, Homer, and Virgil.”

All of those men are on my mind these days. I know that I am understanding them better but I’m unsure if that might be because I understood them so poorly before.

Another passage that struck me:

“The whole study and practice of Dante seems to me to teach that the poet should be the servant of his language, rather than the master of it.”

I am trying to finish off some of the books I have been reading for some time. I am almost done with Lyndall Gordon’s excellent biography of Eliot. T. S. Eliot: An Imperfect Life. In my reading today, she quoted from the Dante essay. I love it when that happens.

As soon as I finish the Eliot bio, I plan to resume reading Ellmann’s bio of James Joyce. I also plan to read all of Eliot’s plays.

Since giving out copies of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass to my grand daughters, Catherine and Alex, I have returned to reading it.

I read the Humpty Dumpty section of Through the Looking Glass to Alex when I was in China.

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I have Martin Gardiner’s wonderful Annotated Alice.

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I was gratified that he mentioned James Joyce in a footnote on Humpty Dumpty’s explanation of Twas Brillig. I continuing banging away at a thorough reread of Finnegans Wake. Very satisfying.

I was also very satisfied to receive a copy of the first volume of The Golden Bough in the mail yesterday. It is a beautiful edition and completes my set. Whoohoo!

Finally, here’s a video I watched early Sunday morning while exercising. I do like Snarky Puppy. I like that Micheal League got the crowd of NPR people to do 4s against 3s as part of one of the numbers.

EXCLUSIVE: Expanding Pro-Trump Outlet ‘The BL’ Is Closely Linked to The Epoch Times

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Warning! Epoch Times is bogus right wing propaganda.


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