med_cat: (woman reading)
Ich beholde emeraude treen, and eke roses redde,
For me and yow thei bloome on the mede,
And methinketh, ywis, what a merveil ys thys worlde

Lo, azur skyes and cloudes pearl-lyned
The fayre bright daye, the nightes sacred shryne,
And methinketh, ywis, what a merveil ys thys worlde

The colors of the rainbowe have beauté yn the welkin
And also goodlye faces of the folke that walke and wenden

Looke upon felawes shakinge handes, askinge 'how fareth yt wyth thee?'
But trewleye thei yntend to sayen 'thou art beloved by me.'

Ich hear the cryinge babes, Ich see as thei grow,
Thei shal know more than Ich evir know
And methinketh, ywis, what a merveil ys thys worlde

Aye, mekinketh, ywis, what a merveil ys thys worlde

(heere endeth Chauceres translacioun of the songe of What a Merveil Ys Thys Worlde)

(done by ChaucerDothTweet)

med_cat: (cat and books)
Faith Baldwin's "Evening Star", published in 1964.

I've never heard of her--have you? Came upon her book by chance, in the Little Free Library, but apparently, the author had written more than sixty novels, two volumes of poetry, five books of juvenile literature, and six inspirational books.

This is one of the inspirational ones, an almanac book. Makes for quite pleasant reading, author's reflections on each month, and general ruminations; one has the impression of taking tea with a talkative elderly aunt, who unhurriedly chats on all sorts of topics.

Here's an excerpt from March:
"...In my lifetime I have seen many changes, some which appear to me to be good and some which do not. We can certainly accept the good and try to further it, each in his own way; and, with whatever weapons we possess, we can also fight the evils. It is not sufficient to deplore, fear, and rail against them.
Nostalgia is charming if it does not become a way of life. Too many of us, through memory and wishful thinking, try to escape into what we consider the good old days. It cannot be done, any more than we can return physically to houses in which we once lived happily, but which are now razed to the ground.
As a matter of sober fact, the past was never smooth sailing. We tend to remember the quiet waters and to forget the rough.
No era is without its inequities, its slow, or sudden changes, and every generation has known the fear, and anger, and bewilderment.

From time immemorial, people have complained that the seasons do not adhere to identical patterns, but indulge in variations.

That time I went away not because I wanted a change, but in order to escape from myself, which, of course, I found I couldn't do; I had to travel with me!"
med_cat: (woman reading)
News and Politics:

Robert Reich: Republicans Are Afraid Trump Is Genuinely Nuts:
The former secretary of labor reflects on a Washington more divided and fearful than ever.

(thanks to [ profile] elenbarathi)

The Westminster attack is a tragedy, but it’s not a threat to democracy, by Simon Jenkins

The terrorists’ aim is not just to kill a few but to terrify a multitude. For politicians and media to overreact would play into their hands.

(thanks to [ profile] lindahoyland for this one)

Languages, History, and Literature:

15 Encouraging Spanish Phrases a Bilingual Spanish Speaker Would Like Everyone to Learn

The Coolest Things You Wish Were True About the Middle Ages

The Crows of Pearblossom, by Aldous Huxley--the only children's book he wrote. The illustrations are quite charming as well.
med_cat: (woman reading)
See below for excerpts; click article titles for full articles.

...Does anyone here know more about this cyclical theory of history? What do you think of it? This article presents a different opinion.

Cyclical models of history are something academics kick around every now and then, said Sean Wilentz, an American history professor at Princeton University. But the idea has not caught on among historians or political actors.

“It’s just a conceit. It’s a fiction, it’s all made up,” Wilentz said about cyclical historical models. “There’s nothing to them. They’re just inventions.”

Michael Lind, a historian and co-founder of the New America Foundation, a liberal think tank, has called Strauss and Howe’s work “pseudoscience” and said their “predictions about the American future turn out to be as vague as those of fortune cookies.”


President Trump wants to put on a show. Governing matters less.

Last spring, while reporting The Washington Post’s biography of Donald Trump, I asked an executive who had worked for Trump for more than three decades to help me understand a central contradiction about the man: How could he be at once the micromanager who in the 1980s would call an employee at 2 a.m. and order her out of bed to clean up litter he’d noticed in the lobby of one of his buildings, and also the boss who was so detached that he claimed to be ignorant of his hotels’ finances as they fell into bankruptcy?

The executive offered this guidance: “If you’re ever confused about Trump’s motives, go to showman first.” The building lobby was a showcase for the Trump brand, requiring the close attention of the man behind the name; the finances were backstage stuff, easily ignored.

Where did Steve Bannon get his worldview? From my book.

Beyond ideology, I think there’s another reason for the rising interest in our book. We reject the deep premise of modern Western historians that social time is either linear (continuous progress or decline) or chaotic (too complex to reveal any direction). Instead we adopt the insight of nearly all traditional societies: that social time is a recurring cycle in which events become meaningful only to the extent that they are what philosopher Mircea Eliade calls “reenactments.” In cyclical space, once you strip away the extraneous accidents and technology, you are left with only a limited number of social moods, which tend to recur in a fixed order.

Along this cycle, we can identify four “turnings” that each last about 20 years — the length of a generation. Think of these as recurring seasons, starting with spring and ending with winter. In every turning, a new generation is born and each older generation ages into its next phase of life.

The cycle begins with the First Turning, a “High” which comes after a crisis era. In a High, institutions are strong and individualism is weak. Society is confident about where it wants to go collectively, even if many feel stifled by the prevailing conformity. Many Americans alive today can recall the post-World War II American High (historian William O’Neill’s term), coinciding with the Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy presidencies. Earlier examples are the post-Civil War Victorian High of industrial growth and stable families, and the post-Constitution High of Democratic Republicanism and Era of Good Feelings.

The Second Turning is an “Awakening,” when institutions are attacked in the name of higher principles and deeper values. Just when society is hitting its high tide of public progress, people suddenly tire of all the social discipline and want to recapture a sense of personal authenticity. Salvation by faith, not works, is the youth rallying cry. One such era was the Consciousness Revolution of the late 1960s and 1970s. Some historians call this America’s Fourth or Fifth Great Awakening, depending on whether they start the count in the 17th century with John Winthrop or the 18th century with Jonathan Edwards.

The Third Turning is an “Unraveling,” in many ways the opposite of the High. Institutions are weak and distrusted, while individualism is strong and flourishing. Third Turning decades such as the 1990s, the 1920s and the 1850s are notorious for their cynicism, bad manners and weak civic authority. Government typically shrinks, and speculative manias, when they occur, are delirious.

Finally, the Fourth Turning is a “Crisis” period. This is when our institutional life is reconstructed from the ground up, always in response to a perceived threat to the nation’s very survival. If history does not produce such an urgent threat, Fourth Turning leaders will invariably find one — and may even fabricate one — to mobilize collective action. Civic authority revives, and people and groups begin to pitch in as participants in a larger community. As these Promethean bursts of civic effort reach their resolution, Fourth Turnings refresh and redefine our national identity. The years 1945, 1865 and 1794 all capped eras constituting new “founding moments” in American history.

Just as a Second Turning reshapes our inner world (of values, culture and religion), a Fourth Turning reshapes our outer world (of politics, economy and empire)
med_cat: (cat and books)
Originally posted by [ profile] thnidu at Amazon "best-sellers" aren't--many thanks!

Behind the Scam: What Does It Take to Be a ‘Best-Selling Author’? $3 and 5 Minutes.

Brent Underwood, on Medium

I would like to tell you about the biggest lie in book publishing. It appears in the biographies and social media profiles of almost every working ‘author’ today. It’s the word ‘best seller.’

This isn’t about how The New York Times list is biased (though it is). This isn’t about how authors buy their way onto various national best-seller lists by buying their own books in bulk (though they do). No, this is about the far more insidious title of ‘Amazon Bestseller’ — and how it’s complete and utter nonsense.

(Click headline for article.)

This entry was originally posted at You can comment here, or there using OpenID or your Dreamwidth ID. comment count unavailable comments there so far.
med_cat: (cat and books)
"Fiction is the lie through which we see the truth." (Albert Camus)
med_cat: (cat in dress)
Why Our Partners Drive Us Mad: Philosopher Alain de Botton to the Central Foible of the Human Heart and How to Heal It, from Brain Pickings

The Erasure of Islam from Poetry of Rumi, by Rozina Ali, in The New Yorker

(makes sense...I did wonder why Rumi, unlike his sort-of-contemporary, also Muslim poet Mirza-Shafi, doesn't mention Islam...)

Gestures to Avoid in Cross-Cultural Business: In Other Words, ‘Keep Your Fingers to Yourself!’

11 WTF Items That Kids Ordered Online Without Telling Their Parents--I was especially amused by the mom's clever handling of #9
med_cat: (cat in dress)

(posted by Dennis Kesler in The Golden Age of Illustration FB group)
med_cat: (dog and book)
Originally posted by [ profile] nic_angel at кофе дальних странствий

чашка кофе в саламанке, испания.
(in Salamanca, Spain)

It's a cafe and hostel named after Erasmus of Rotterdam, look! I was just thinking the other week, that a conversation I was having very much reminded him of one of his Dialogues, "A dialogue of two deaf men".
med_cat: (woman reading)
Another Christmas Carol: A Yuletide Fable

Book's description:

"Charles Dickens left us with the notion that Ebenezer Scrooge was "better than his word and became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man as the good old city knew."

Another Christmas Carol, by author Lee E. Woodard, picks up where Dickens left off. This story chronicles the life and times of Scrooge from the point of his reclamation throughout the balance of his life.

As the trials and tribulations of everyday life in Victorian London come alive, Woodard's continuing story highlights Scrooge's interaction with the Cratchit family and the other wonderful characters Dickens created.

As Scrooge attempts to spread his newfound happiness, he is forced to deal with painful parts of his past and must once again connect with the spirit world to fulfill his destiny.

What was true in Dickens' original classic work is true yet again. Relive the joy of the familiar characters as they grow up, grow old, and live out their lives."

Have a look via the Look Inside feature, folks--what d'you think? I must say I'm not terribly impressed...
med_cat: (cat in dress)

Today in Mighty Girl history, Emily Warren Roebling, the "woman who saved the Brooklyn Bridge," was born in 1843. Early in its construction, Roebling's husband, the chief engineer in charge of the bridge’s construction, became bedridden due to decompression sickness. Emily Roebling stepped in to become the first female field engineer and supervised the bridge's construction for over ten years until its completion in 1883.
Read more... )

med_cat: (SH education never ends)

Happy Ada Lovelace Day -- an international celebration of women in science and technology! English mathematician Ada Lovelace is widely considered the world's first computer programmer for her invention of the computer algorithm. Born in 1815 to the poet Lord Byron and Anne Isabella Byron, Lovelace's mathematical talents led to an ongoing collaboration with mathematician Charles Babbage, who called Lovelace the "Enchantress of Numbers." While translating an article by an Italian engineer on Babbage's Analytical Engine, a proposed early version of a mechanical general-purpose computer, Ada added her own set of notes which contained a tremendous breakthrough -- the first computer program or algorithm.
Read more... )
med_cat: (cat in dress)
This man is using the dictionary (of all things) to write stories--do take a look, quite original ;)

Mycroft Holmes: Kareem Abdul Jabbar reveals his love of Sherlock--from the current issue of Parade

9 Baking recipes that require 4 or fewer ingredients
(tried the oatmeal-banana cookies and the peanut butter cookies; will report on the results tomorrow)
(Update: the peanut butter ones are quite good; the oatmeal-banana ones, passable)
Banana-oatmeal cookie recipe: )

Peanut butter cookie recipe: )

And further, regarding food:

More stories of fantastically stupid restaurant customers

Restaurant employees who were abjectly terrible at their jobs

Smile ;)

Jun. 22nd, 2015 06:06 am
med_cat: (dog and book)

("I tried everything to get to sleep last night. Well, everything except closing the book and putting it on the nightstand. Let's not get too crazy.")
med_cat: (cat and books)

These 7 Books Look Like Nothing You’ve Ever Seen!

Have you ever seen a book carved out of another book? How about billions of sonnets written in ten pages? In this post-modern literary landscape we find ourselves in, experimentation is not only rewarded, but also sought after. Kurt Vonnegut often included drawings in between his insightful, witty prose. We are frequently coming across books (old and new) that are fascinating beyond their prose; books that re-imagine what a novel looks like on the inside.

See these books in this article

med_cat: (Hourglass)
It is the 100th anniversary of the publication of Ford Madox Ford’s pre-First World War novel, The Good Soldier, a seminal book of the 20th century. It opens with this sentence: “This is the saddest story I ever heard,”–spoken by the narrator, John Dowell—my part, in the Granada TV adaptation filmed in 1980.

Read further:
med_cat: (Blue writing)
Thought some people here might be interested, esp. [ profile] methylviolet10b, [ profile] earthspirits, [ profile] debriswoman, [ profile] capt_facepalm, and [ profile] wirral_bagpuss :)

Top 4 free and incredibly useful writing apps

100 best websites for writers in 2015

6 blogs for bookworms

E.B. White on the role and responsibility of the writer, from BrainPickings:

"A writer should concern himself with whatever absorbs his fancy, stirs his heart, and unlimbers his typewriter. I feel no obligation to deal with politics. I do feel a responsibility to society because of going into print: a writer has the duty to be good, not lousy; true, not false; lively, not dull; accurate, not full of error. He should tend to lift people up, not lower them down. Writers do not merely reflect and interpret life, they inform and shape life."

(see further in the article)


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