The breeder from whom we bought Angus would like to have a portrait of him now that he’s a big boy. The above is what happened when I tried to take that portrait.
Recently on my blog: My one piece of advice about personal-organization systems; some thoughts about John Crowley’s Little, Big; reflections on “change merchants” who’d like us to “start from zero”; and my new job title.
Richard Gibson: “Any of Elizabeth and Darcy’s exchanges could be cited here as models of the art of dialogue, but in my humble estimation Austen’s genius is best appreciated in their failed interviews. Why do we love to listen to Elizabeth and Darcy even when, maybe especially when, they fail to communicate?”
A terrific essay by Ted Gioia on Lalo Schifrin’s Mission Impossible theme song. Schifrin is still around, by the way, at age 91.
Douglas Hofstadter counsels us to “Learn a Foreign Language Before It’s Too Late.”
I think often of this David Remnick profile of Leonard Cohen, especially one passage:
Dylan was especially interested in “Hallelujah.” Even before three hundred other performers made “Hallelujah” famous with their cover versions, long before the song was included on the soundtrack for “Shrek” and as a staple on “American Idol,” Dylan recognized the beauty of its marriage of the sacred and the profane. He asked Cohen how long it took him to write.
“Two years,” Cohen lied.
Actually, “Hallelujah” had taken him five years. He drafted dozens of verses and then it was years more before he settled on a final version. In several writing sessions, he found himself in his underwear, banging his head against a hotel-room floor.
Cohen told Dylan, “I really like ‘I and I,’” a song that appeared on Dylan’s album “Infidels.” “How long did it take you to write that?”
“About fifteen minutes,” Dylan said.
When I asked Cohen about that exchange, he said, “That’s just the way the cards are dealt.”
G. K. Chesterton, from Charles Dickens:
Do not sneer at the time when the creed of humanity was on its honeymoon; treat it with the dreadful reverence that is due to youth. For you, perhaps, a drearier philosophy has covered and eclipsed the earth. The fierce poet of the Middle Ages wrote, “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here,” over the gates of the lower world. The emancipated poets of to-day have written it over the gates of this world. But if we are to understand the story which follows, we must erase that apocalyptic writing, if only for an hour. We must recreate the faith of our fathers, if only as an artistic atmosphere. If, then, you are a pessimist, in reading this story, forego for a little the pleasures of pessimism. Dream for one mad moment that the grass is green. Unlearn that sinister learning that you think so clear; deny that deadly knowledge that you think you know. Surrender the very flower of your culture; give up the very jewel of your pride; abandon hopelessness, all ye who enter here.