Saturday, April 19, 2014

Quote of the Day (Philip Roth, on Literature as a ‘Habit of Mind’)

“Literature takes a habit of mind that has disappeared. It requires silence, some form of isolation, and sustained concentration in the presence of an enigmatic thing.” ―Philip Roth quoted in David Remnick, “Into the Clear,” The New Yorker, May 8, 2000

Friday, April 18, 2014

Photo of the Day: Street Fair, Columbia University

I took the image accompanying this post last Saturday, when a crowd, enjoying temperatures exceeding 70 degrees, lined the east side of Broadway from 110th to 116th Street, just outside the campus of Columbia University, my alma mater, with everything from food to hand-craft vendors plying their trade.

Quote of the Day (R.S. Thomas, on the ‘Sombre’ Cross)

“Always the same hills
Crown the horizon,
Remote witnesses
Of the still scene
And in the foreground
The tall Cross,
Sombre, untenanted,
Aches for the Body
That is back in the cradle
of a maid’s arms.”-- R.S. Thomas, Pieta (1966)

(The image accompanying this post is Crucifixion, by German 16th-century painter Peter Gertner.)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Quote of the Day (Holly Harden, on Eastertime Growing Up)

“It wasn’t the meal or the service or the array of lilies round the cross or the organ playing or the pastel dresses or hats or anything in particular that made those Easter Sundays memorable. It was all of it together. Getting up early, the hunt for candy, the fight for the bathroom mirror, the walk to church, my father dozing off during the sermon, the smell of my mother’s skin, the mystery of God. And then food, good food. All of it together, all of us together, the whole ball of wax. It felt comfortable and perfect and as if everything was as it should be.

“Tough to recognize a moment you’ll long for one day when you’re in it. Sure is.”— Holly Harden, Good Food from Mrs. Sundberg's Kitchen (2014)

Holly Harden has been a writer for Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, as well as for one the more popular parts of the legendary show’s Web site, “The View From Mrs. Sundberg’s Window.” Now, to be sure, the recipes included in her new book sound scrumptious, but even if you’re not a foodie, what will linger with you long afterward are not just the taste of the comfort food she describes but her tactile evocation of small-town life in the Midwest. She leaves you, as here, not only with a smile but with a catch in the throat. Remarkable stuff, a perfect blend of art and heart.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Quote of the Day (Lizette Woodworth Reese, on April Wind and Rain)

“Straight from the east the wind blows sharp with rain,
That just now drove its wild ranks down the street,
And westward rushed into the sunset sweet.”— Lizette Woodworth Reese (1856-1935), “April in Town,” from The Four Seasons: Poems, edited by J. D. McClatchy (2008)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Quote of the Day (Bob Hope, on Taxes)

“I always like to go to Washington D.C. It gives me a chance to visit my money.”—Bob Hope, on touring the U.S. Treasury, quoted in Daniel Kurtzman, “Bob Hope Jokes: Classic Political Jokes by Comedian Bob Hope,”