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Everything posted by Matthew

  1. Now reading...

    A Search for Solitude: Pursuing the Monk's True Life, The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume 3: 1952 - 1960. The pivotal volume of the Journals of Merton, as it records his increasing dissatisfaction with what is going on at the Abbey of Our Lady of Gesthsemani. What he sees is a shallowness in thought and religious life, and he decides he wants out -- badly. In 1959 he tries to get official permission to leave, and finally, on December 17, 1959, he gets his answer: NO! It's a devastating answer, and one that, to my mind, he never recovers from. In the last eight years of his life, he seems to remove himself more and more from that original vision of religious life that he had when he entered in 1941, which leads to a lack of focus, a sense of something not right, to his life. It's interesting however, that the Merton most people are interested in is from these eight years, where his attention is turned to Eastern religion, civil right and non-violence. Strange how things work out, Merton spent so much time and energy thinking about about getting away from Gethsemani, then files to Asia in 1968 to give conferences, dies there (almost nine years to the day of the rejection of his request to Rome, December 10, 1968), and is now buried at Gethsemani, the one place he so badly wanted to escape.
  2. Real conversation I had recently. Speaking with someone, age 31, asking: What books do you read? Who are his favorite authors? He laughs and responds: "My generation doesn't read books, we have computers!" I wonder if for them articles and books by algorithms will be normal, no big deal...
  3. And "crowd sourced journalism" is nothing but paying on the cheap for news content, and keeping the profits for yourself. This is one of the negative effects of the internet, it's so demanding of content and it needs so many "independent," off the payroll contributors to keep the content rolling in, that it doesn't matter whether it's good, bad, indifferent, just get new stuff for people to read. The New Provincialism in news and sports, at times, is nothing more than writers without talent to write anything original, or not having the resources to research and delve deeper into a topic. There are other issues this topic brings up, but they belong to the off-limits part of the board (which policy I completely understand).
  4. Agree with Brad on this. SI was important in those pre-cable, every game on tv days. Imagine, the 1967 AL pennant race, and there was no way you could watch the games, or follow on radio even, you had nothing but box scores, and articles in SI to dive deeper. For situations like that, SI was heaven sent. Once cable and 24/7 access game into play, it was all over. I love that whole "Golden Age of SI" aspect, it was a special magazine with great writers, but that passed long ago, and the husk is all that's left. Great tradition, but it's gone.
  5. One of my favorite Dylan albums!
  6. What Classical Music Are You Listening To?

    Bellini: I Puritani
  7. I think in the current market, there's no way a closer can get 15 million whose on the wrong side of thirty. Chapman is lucky with that contract, he should stay put.
  8. Now reading...

    Due to our blackout (Saturday to today!) I had plenty of time to finish this book on my iPad and it was a great read. I came away with a new appreciation of Thoreau and especially of his life, much more involved in Concord and people than other biographies led me to believe. But a strangely isolated man also, one who, I think, looked at the world from a very different angle than others, but did have deep friendships. I had forgotten how involved he and the Thoreau family were in the Underground Railroad, and a very interesting section on Thoreau and John Brown, and his reaction to Harper's Ferry -- Walls claims his voice in support of Brown was the first in the country. Saddened when I finished the last page, an unique and moving life all together. Which has inspired to read Thoreau's Journal. It's massive, will take at least a year to read, but probably worth it.
  9. How's the weather?

    Warm and breezy, which means PG&E has shut our power off again!
  10. I happened to stumble upon a nine volume 1923 edition of The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and it's become my favorite used book item that I own. It's an old, well used collection that looks beautiful in its agedness. I looked up the name of the previous owner (the name is in another volume I left at my mother's home, so I don't have it right now) and it turns out he was a minister, who lost his faith, but remained socially active in charity work in New York. I often think of him and his life, when I pick up a volume from this collection. That is one of the wonderful things about buying used books, I feel like I'm in the line of a reading history of people that stretches back almost a century. I found a picture of the edition on the 'net.
  11. what are you drinking right now?

    Far Niete 2013 Oakville Cabernet. Think I like Far Niete Cabernets the best. This is for an early birthday celebration tonight.
  12. Now reading...

    Henry David Thoreau: A Life by Laura Dassow Walls. A very good, and well written biography of Thoreau, enjoying this one immensely! Highly recommended if you're interested in Thoreau.
  13. Play ball! 2019 MLB season thread

    And yet, Dave Roberts is supposed to be Mr. Analytics, and he manages like complete crap...
  14. Do you wear a watch?

    I wear a Fitbit, but Before that, never a watch.
  15. Play ball! 2019 MLB season thread

    Joe Maddon hired for the Angels. Nice get for the Angels, Maddon will add some color and life to the team, though it's been so long since they've had either, they might not know what they look like.
  16. Album Covers That Say It All

    Many thanks for posting this, it led me to finding new and great music!
  17. Now reading...

    Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson: Read this during the day, before the PG&E rendered darkness fell, Thanks PG&E! (three days of darkness where I live). I don't know why, but I have a deep love for this book. I've read it many times and there is a certain feel to this book that means a lot to me. It seem as if finally American spirituality broke free from Jonathan Edwards' baleful influence, and here, with this book, a new way of looking at the world entered the American scene. Just the first paragraph itself is bursting with creativity: Our age is retrospective. It builds the sepulchres of the fathers. It writes biographies, histories, and criticism. The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs? Embosomed for a season in nature, whose floods of life stream around and through us, and invite us, by the powers they supply, to action proportioned to nature, why should we grope among the dry bones of the past, or put the living generation into masquerade out of its faded wardrobe? The sun shines to‑day also. There is more wool and flax in the fields. There are new lands, new men, new thoughts. Let us demand our own works and laws and worship.
  18. Play ball! 2019 MLB season thread

    In his historic 1941 season, Joe DiMaggio struck out just 13 times, Ted Williams has only 27 in 1941 while hitting .406. Think of it, two of the greatest seasons for a hitter, and Williams & DiMaggio struck out only 40 times combined... unreal. Baseball stats are great.
  19. I know what you mean (at least I think I do), the look you describe makes everything look weird, I feel the people are walking in isolation, if that makes any sense. I get a strange vibe that makes for a strange viewing experience.
  20. Now reading...

    When Prophecy Still Had A Voice: The Letters of Thomas Merton and Robert Lax. Merton and Lax (an influential poet) had an almost life long friendship, and the book is off to a rollicking start, with the letters starting in early 1938. Merton and Lax, at this point, are callow young men (Merton even dropping F bombs and bragging about his sex life) but the intelligence is plain to see in both of them. They must have been interesting people to know -- I have come to the conclusion that Merton missed his true calling of being a writer for The New Yorker.
  21. Paul Weller's finest hour, though some of The Style Council is fantastic, but there's a lot of dross with that gold.