Archive for the ‘Literature’ Category

A Very Stable Genius


(WP Outlook) – Joe Klein:

A Very Stable Genius” by Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig is superbly reported and written with clarity, but it is not an easy read. It is relentless, depressing and ultimately numbing; sort of like being an American citizen these past four years. It is the story of how Trump got rid of all the advisers — the so-called grown-ups in the room — who patronized him and tried to prevent him from doing what they considered to be stupid things. The authors have dislodged new sources who enable them to describe the thoughts and feelings of players like Tillerson, McMaster, Chief of Staff John Kelly, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and others. …

washingtonpost losers-dopes-and-scumPhilip Rucker and Carol Leonnig: A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America

Iconography: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern


(Good Tickle Brain) – Mya Gosling:

While we all recover from the never-ending morass that was Act 2, Scene 2, let’s catch our breath with some more Hamlet-themed Stick Figure Iconographies. …

goodticklebrain rosencrantz-and-guildensternMya Lixian Gosling: Stick Figure Iconography: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern

Hamlet: Act 2, Scene 2 (part 7)


(Good Tickle Brain) – Mya Gosling:

It’s time for Soliloquy #3

goodticklebrain hamlet-227Mya Lixian Gosling: A Stick-Figure Hamlet: Act 2, Scene 2 (part 7)

Hamlet: Act 2, Scene 2 (part 6)


(Good Tickle Brain) – Mya Gosling:

Bring on the players-within-a-play. …

goodticklebrain hamlet-226Mya Lixian Gosling: A Stick-Figure Hamlet: Act 2, Scene 2 (part 6)

Hamlet: Act 2, Scene 2 (part 5)


(Good Tickle Brain) – Mya Gosling:

We’re past the half-way point for this interminable scene. The end is nigh-ish! …

goodticklebrain hamlet-225Mya Lixian Gosling: A Stick-Figure Hamlet: Act 2, Scene 2 (part 5)

The War Prayer


(FTB) – Mano Singham:

At times like this when people are being wound up to go to war, I wish the media would reprint this Mark Twain piece.

“Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth into battle — be Thou near them! With them — in spirit — we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended in the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames in summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it —

For our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimmage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet!

We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

(After a pause.) “Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits.”

War fever makes people lose their humanity.

singham the-war-prayerJeremy Scahill: Dirty Wars [2013 book]

The Real Butterfly Effect


(BackReAction) – Sabine Hossenfelder:

The name “Butterfly Effect” was popularized by James Gleick in his 1987 book “Chaos” and is usually attributed to the meteorologist Edward Lorenz. But I recently learned that this is not what Lorenz actually meant by Butterfly Effect.

I learned this from a paper by Tim Palmer, Andreas Döring, and Gregory Seregin called “The Real Butterfly Effect” and that led me to dig up Lorenz’ original paper from 1969. …

The brief summary is that even in a deterministic system predictions may only be possible for a finite amount of time …

backreaction butterfly-effectJames Gleick: Chaos: Making a New Science

Hamlet: Act 2, Scene 2 (part 4)


(Good Tickle Brain) – Mya Gosling:

And we’re back to Hamlet, at last! Gosh this is a really long play. …

goodticklebrain hamlet-224Mya Lixian Gosling: A Stick-Figure Hamlet: Act 2, Scene 2 (part 4)

The Star of Bethlehem


(Patheos::ATP) – Aaron Adair:

There is no shortage of attempted explanations for the Star of Bethlehem, but the best case taking into account the original language and mainstream scholarship is to be found in my book, The Star of Bethlehem: A Skeptical View. Others have written since its publication, some attempting to respond to it, but its arguments stand and will tell you more about what was most likely going on behind the theological scenes when the story was written. It will also make a good, late Christmas gift. Or better still, something to read by the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th, when the Wise Men came to see the child. Or so the story goes. …

tippling stars-from-bethlehemAaron Adair: The Star of Bethlehem: A Skeptical View

God Can’t Quite Manage to Show Up


(Debunking Christianity) – David Madison:

It’s pretty easy to spot how religion works: it usually stresses the importance of faith, urging people to skip the crucial step of asking for evidence. …

In his new anthology, The Case Against Miracles, John Loftus stresses David Hume’s argument that the evidence for a miracle would have to be overwhelming, of an order of magnitude of the claimed miracle itself (see Loftus’ essay, “Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence”). The nature of scripture—stories with no cited sources, based on hearsay, deriving from an ancient superstitious mindset—rules out taking the ancient miracle stories seriously. …

Darren Slade sums up the collapse of the anecdotal approach to defending faith: “Of course, establishing that miracles are still reported today proves very little other than the fact that miracles are still reported; but so are ghost sightings, hauntings, and witch doctor healings just like they were in the ancient world.” …

debunking-christianity miraclesJohn W. Loftus: The Case Against Miracles