Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Headline All of Human History, Up To This Point, Has Been Leading To

"Gordon Ramsay's dwarf porn double Percy Foster found dead in a badger den in Wales."

- Source

(via Abi Sutherland at Making Light, who (correctly) notes, in the title-text, that "Like most strange and funny things, it's actually made up of deep sadness.")

Announcing Attempts' Kay Ryan Week™ (starts tomorrow!)

Via this post, I recently read this essay entitled "Two Philosophical Poets: On T. S. Eliot and Kay Ryan". Well, I teach Eliot, and certainly know his work well. But the second name made me go Who?

Yeah, it turns out I shoulda known. Ryan was the poet laureate of the U.S. from 2008 - 2010; she won the Pulitzer Prize last year for her book The Best of It: New and Selected Poems; and she got a MacArthur genius grant last year. (Obviously, my Noble Readers -- all far better read than I -- will know all this already; I mention it just to remind my own future self, lest I carelessly forget.)

So I went and read some of her poems online and... wow, she's fabulous.* I was thinking of posting one of her poems as a "poem of the day", and couldn't decide which one, so I thought, heck with it: I'm doing a whole Kay Ryan week.

So tomorrow, February 1, is the first day of Kay Ryan Week™ here at Attempts: each day I'll post one of her poems. These won't be Considered Selections Of The Best of Her Work: as the above indicates, I don't know her work that well yet. Rather, these will be seven poems that have made me want to read more.

So come back tomorrow for a first dose of Ryan-week-y goodness! I'll also link to all the poems I post in this post, for future reference.

* No, I don't think that follows from the list of honors in the previous paragraph. But in this case it happens to be true.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Quote of the Day

It is easy for us to lose ourselves in details in endeavoring to grasp and comprehend the real condition of a mass of human beings. We often forget that each unit in the mass is a throbbing human soul. Ignorant it may be, and poverty stricken, black and curious in limb and ways and thought; and yet it loves and hates, it toils and tires, it laughs and weeps its bitter tears, and looks in vague and awful longing at the grim horizon of its life, -- all this, even as you and I.

-- W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk, "Of the Quest of the Golden Fleece"

(I'm teaching this class again; it's week two, and this is the book we're discussing today.)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

But What Was the Name of the Cat?

"We even adopted a cat—a sweet indoor kitty with an autoimmune virus we named Wimbledon."

-- Paul M. Davis

Monday, January 23, 2012

I Dream Things That Never Were, and Ask, "Why Not?"

"They don't pay people $25,000 a month to be a historian."

-- Mitt Romney

(title cite)

"Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Henry Clay, Charles De Gaulle, William Wallace, Pericles...

...The Duke Of Wellington, Thomas Edison, Vince Lombardi, The Wright Brothers, Moses, and 'a viking.'"

-- A list of the people to whom Newt Gingrich has compared himself (as reported here, in turn as distributed by the Romney campaign (whose word is worth the paper it was emailed on, so caveat lector on this one)).

For sheer entertainment value over the next ten months (which seems to be a non-trivial part of the value our increasingly farcical elections have these days), there's no question who you should root for as the Republican nominee.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Quote of the Day

Everything is so fragile.

There's so much conflict, so much pain. You keep waiting for the dust to settle and then you realize this is it; the dust is your life going on.

If happy comes along -- that weird, unbearable delight that's actual happy -- I think you have to grab it while you can.

You take what you can get. 'Cause it's here, and then...


-- Kitty Pryde in Astonishing X-Men #22, by Joss Whedon

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Working Title of the Memoir of the Last Human Being Alive

No One But Myself To Blame.

(It will never get out of draft, of course: oh, it's good enough -- everyone who's read it liked it -- but all the remaining publishers think there won't be any sort of audience for it.)