heading back to helland


Wrapping up a short Thanksgiving visit in Chelsea. I enjoyed myself. It is so pleasant to be with people I care about and get a chance to chat with them.

There wasn’t too much political talk at our Thanksgiving. Tony, my nephew Ben’s husband, did bring up politics. We are mostly crazy liberals. So, of course, we are struggling with the terrible state of our nation. I brought along an extra copy of On The Road to Unfreedom by Snyder in case I thought someone might like to have a copy. I gave it to Tony and he seemed interested.

He also mentioned he was currently interested in the history of Byzantium. This is an area Mark has long been interested in and has considerable expertise and knowledge. Mark ended up loaning Tony a book by a professor friend of his, Harry Magoulioas. I love this shit.

“The Curfew,” by Roddy Doyle | The New Yorker

This is fun. Roddy Doyle has a story in the upcoming issue of The New Yorker. The main character bears a suspicious resembles to Doyle himself and mentions reading On The Road to Unfreedom.

Image result for To Laugh That We May Not Weep the life & times of art young

Mark is as addicted to books as I am. Yesterday a beautiful book arrived in the mail, To Laugh That We May Not Weep: The Art & Times of Art Young. I had not heard of this political cartoonist. Art Spiegelmann wrote the introduction to this beautifully made book.


How to Talk to Trump-Loving Relatives at Thanksgiving – The Atlantic

Thanksgiving is over but this article by the illustrious Ibram X. Kendi is still helpful.

There is truth and there is Trump. Truth won’t stop being truth. Trump won’t stop being Trump.

Opinion | Ta-Nehisi Coates: The Cancellation of Colin Kaepernick

An interesting reframing of the notion of cancel culture.

What was the Compromise of 1877, which ended Reconstruction, but the cancellation of the black South? What were the detention camps during World War II but the racist muting of Japanese-Americans and their basic rights?


quick tuesday afternoon blog


It turns out the afternoon can be prime time for me to sit and read. That’s the case today. So, here’s a short little blog.

Malcolm Nance is a former United States Navy senior chief petty officer specializing in naval cryptology. From his point of view as former military expert on ISIS and other stuff, he has some very convincing things to say about how we are in big trouble right now. I highly recommend listening to this video.

He has several books out.

Image result for malcolm nance the plot to betray america

There’s also this:

Malcolm Nance on the Danger of Conspiracy Theories | The New Yorker

Very important, level-headed statement of frightening facts and analysis.

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I was looking at my multi volume set of The Golden Bough by Sir James Frazer. (Not pictured above, but they look like that.) They are lovely old books. But I don’t have the first volume of the set. I ordered it today from Abebooks along with  Shakespeare’s Biblical knowledge and use of the Book of common prayer,: As exemplified in the plays of the First folio by Richmond Samuel Howe Noble. The Frazer volume was 20 bucks plus 10 bucks expedited shipping from the U.K. The Shakespeare/Bible book was 75 bucks on Amazon in a reprint but 10 bucks on Abebooks  in what looks to be a bit later edition than the 1922 edition I own.

Image result for robert alter five books of moses

Marlon James mentioned Alter’s translation of the Hebrew bible scripture. The example he gave was that when the King James says “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground” Alter’s translation uses hummus for dust and human for man. Cool, eh?

Image result for robert alter psalms

I requested The Five Books of Moses and The Book of Psalms in the Alter translations.

WooHoo! Time to go read!