Show Business: Frog Prince,” Time Magazine, Aug. 21, 1972
Friday, January 21, 2022
Thursday, January 20, 2022
The Principles of Psychology (1890)
Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Collections and Recollections (1904)
Tuesday, January 18, 2022
Essays: Second Series (1844)
Monday, January 17, 2022
The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Volume II: Rediscovering Precious Values, July 1951-November 1955 (Senior Editor: Clayborne Carson; Volume Editors: Ralph E. Luker, Penny A. Russell, and Pete Holloran), 1994
Sunday, January 16, 2022
The Prophets (1962)
Saturday, January 15, 2022
Everything All at Once: How to Unleash Your Inner Nerd, Tap into Radical Curiosity, and Solve Any Problem (2017)
The photo accompanying this post, showing Bill Nye in his trademark blue lab coat and bowtie, was taken at the Natural Products Expo West 2010 on March 11, 2010, by lifescript and posted on Flickr.
Friday, January 14, 2022
[played by Jessica Walter]: “I'll be in the hospital bar.”
Michael Bluth [played by Jason Bateman]: “Uh, you know there isn't a hospital bar, Mother.”
Lucille: “Well, this is why people hate hospitals.” —Arrested Development, Season 1, Episode 4, "Key Decisions," original air date Nov. 23, 2003, teleplay by Brad Copeland, directed by Anthony Russo
Thursday, January 13, 2022
“Bitcoin and its rivals now have a combined market valuation of more than $1 trillion. What do investors think they’re buying?
“One answer is protection against the perennial fear that governments will inflate away all your wealth — as a recent Bloomberg article put it, some billionaires are buying crypto in case money ‘goes to hell.’ Indeed, there have been 57 hyperinflations in the world that we know about. However, they all took place amid political and social chaos; do you really think that in such an environment you’d be able to get online and cash in your Bitcoins?”—Opinion columnist and Nobel Economics laureate Paul Krugman, “Crusading for God, Family and Bitcoin,” The New York Times, Jan. 11, 2022
What’s with Bitcoin and its brethren cryptocurrencies, anyway? (I use “brethren” advisedly; considerable testosterone is being expended in the pell-mell push to adopt this relatively new type of financial exchange.)
Some would argue that this is an excellent financial innovation and that there’s nothing to worry about. But I wonder how much this is turning into not a financial innovation, but a financial fad. As of this month, there were more than 8,000 cryptocurrencies in existence, according to an article in coinmarketcap.com.
How much does the average investor know about cryptocurrencies, aside from the fact that they’re supposed to be The Next Big Thing? Are all of these on the level?
By the time this gets sorted out, I’m afraid that many people are going to lose their shirts. For a foretaste of what this will be like, look no further than the class-action lawsuit against Kim Kardashian, Floyd Mayweather, and Paul Pierce for their alleged involvement in a “pump and dump” scheme involving EthereumMax, a cryptocurrency that is a “speculative digital token created by a mysterious group of cryptocurrency developers.”
Don’t go looking for guidance from the federal government on this, either. Aside from the fact that partisan gridlock is preventing much of anything getting done these days on Capitol Hill, let alone financial regulation, Gahyun Helen You’s recent article in Foreign Policy Magazine makes for scary bedtime reading when it notes, “The ability of these digital currencies to undermine control of the monetary system and thus erode sanctions power presents a particular risk to the United States. Absent decisive action, the U.S. market may instead be governed by foreign frameworks.”
In 1720, the “South Sea Bubble” sparked what is often considered the world’s first stock-market crash. Even Sir Isaac Newton, the cranky scientific genius who, as England’s Master of the Mint, helped to curb much of the nation’s rampant counterfeiting, got caught up in the bubble. If a smart guy like that could get taken in, what are the odds of you and me not becoming suckers with our version of this scam today?
We’re about to learn if we’ve learned anything at all about financial speculation over the last three centuries—or if future economic histories are going to talk about “The Bitcoin Bubble.”
(The image accompanying this post, showing Paul Krugman at the Brooklyn Book Festival, was taken Sept. 12, 2010, by Shankbone.)
Wednesday, January 12, 2022
, Nov. 3, 1957
At least one of Dinesen’s works, Out of Africa, might be viewed in light of her explanation about making sense of sorrow. The memoir was born out of grief over her relationship with adulterous husband Baron Bror Blixen; the death of lover Denys Finch Hatton; and even the loss of the farm in Kenya she had come to cherish. (One of its most quoted lines, “I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills,” is deceptively simple; the verb, while indicating ownership, is in past tense, already signaling dispossession.)
(The image accompanying this post is from the Oscar-winning movie adaptation of Out of Africa, with Meryl Streep as Dinesen and Klaus Maria Brandauer as Baron Blixen. Robert Redford, unpictured, played Finch Hatton.)
Tuesday, January 11, 2022
The times are winter, watch, a world undone:
They waste, they wither worse; they as they run
Or bring more or more blazon man's distress.
And I not help. Nor word now of success:
All is from wreck, here, there, to rescue one—"—English Jesuit and poet Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889), “The Times Are Nightfall, Look, Their Light Grows Less," in Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, edited by Robert Bridges (1918)
I took the image accompanying this post—of a snow-covered Overpeck Park near nightfall in Bergen County, NJ—in December 2020.
Monday, January 10, 2022
[played by Carolyn Jones]: [watching Uncle Fester exercise—if leaping and spinning in the living room can be labeled “exercise”—to Jack LaLanne on TV] “What's he doing?”
Gomez Addams [played by John Astin]: “He's either dancing to the ‘Late Late Show’ or exercising to the early early show.”—The Addams Family, Season 2, Episode 18, “Fester Goes on a Diet,” original air date Jan. 14, 1966, teleplay by Hannibal Coons and Harry Winkler, directed by Sidney Lanfield
Fester’s motivation for this new routine is getting in shape for a visiting pen pal from the Folies Bergere. For others, it’s the start of a new year. Whatever works, I guess…
Sunday, January 9, 2022
Th' APOCALYPS, heard cry in Heaven aloud,
Then when the Dragon, put to second rout,
Came furious down to be reveng'd on men,
WO TO THE INHABITANTS ON EARTH! that now,
While time was, our first Parents had bin warnd
The coming of thir secret foe, and scap'd
Haply so scap'd his mortal snare; for now
SATAN, now first inflam'd with rage, came down,
The Tempter ere th' Accuser of man-kind,
To wreck on innocent frail man his loss
Of that first Battel, and his flight to Hell:
Yet not rejoycing in his speed, though bold,
Far off and fearless, nor with cause to boast,
Begins his dire attempt, which nigh the birth
Now rowling, boiles in his tumultuous brest,
And like a devillish Engine back recoiles
Upon himself; horror and doubt distract
His troubl'd thoughts, and from the bottom stirr
The Hell within him, for within him Hell
He brings, and round about him, nor from Hell
One step no more then from himself can fly
By change of place: Now conscience wakes despair
That slumberd, wakes the bitter memorie
Of what he was, what is, and what must be
Worse; of worse deeds worse sufferings must ensue.
Sometimes towards EDEN which now in his view
Lay pleasant, his grievd look he fixes sad,
Sometimes towards Heav'n and the full-blazing Sun,
Which now sat high in his Meridian Towre:
Then much revolving, thus in sighs began.”—English poet John Milton (1608-1674), Paradise Lost (1667), Book 4
The image accompanying this post, of Satan cast out of Heaven, was created for an edition of Paradise Lost illustrated by the French artist Gustave Dore (1832-1883).
Saturday, January 8, 2022
Russia’s Vladimir Putin—featured prominently in Ms. Applebaum’s informative and disturbing cover story of last month’s issue of The Atlantic, as well as in the photo accompanying this post—might not lead a sprawling international bloc dedicated to one ideology, the way Soviet dictators for most of the 20th century did.
But he is certainly a charter member of and inspiration for what Ms. Applebaum calls “Autocracy Inc.” Combining the black arts of disinformation and dissent-crushing he learned while in the KGB with the realization that capitalism provides rich new opportunities for corruption that can sustain him in power, he has pioneered the most disturbing form of top-down control seen so far in the 21st century.
In judging the value of American politicians and pundits, it’s not a bad yardstick to see which ones have continued to hail Putin for his strength (as discussed in Jonathan Chait’s March 2021 piece for New York Magazine), even as his methods of corruption, harassment and murder have become all too brazen.
Friday, January 7, 2022
Thursday, January 6, 2022
Wednesday, January 5, 2022
, No. 7, March 1947, reprinted in The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell: Volume 4, 1945-1950 (1968)
Tuesday, January 4, 2022
Love in Several Masques (1728)
Monday, January 3, 2022
—he fetched his tongs and dragged them out. If the jaw remained, it was not his fault."—American satirist Mark Twain (1835-1920), The Autobiography of Mark Twain (1907)
Sunday, January 2, 2022
Spiritual Quote of the Day (Jurgen Moltmann, on the Unintended Consequences of the Conquest of Nature)
July 2001, reprinted in The Best Christian Writing 2002, edited by John Wilson (2002)
(The accompanying photo of Jurgen Moltmann was taken in his home in Tubingen, Germany, in August 2020, by Idar Kjolsvik.)
Saturday, January 1, 2022
The Face of War (1959)