Sentence of the Day: Kevin Canty


I was out on the porch, smoking a cigarette, enjoying the long, slow twilight of the northern spring, when I heard her scream inside the apartment.

— from Kevin Canty’s “Story by Bird” in the 6 October 2014 New Yorker

Kevin Canty has written three short-story collections and four novels, including Everything.

More from Joan Acocella on Martin Luther (The New Yorker, 30 October 2017)

Still reading the Joan Acocella essay from a month and a half ago. It’s a great essay which somehow also manages to call up Freddie Krueger and his origin story (but self will not mention that here, as it’s getting close to Christmas).

In addition to fascinating examples of Luther’s ripe way with speech, it brings up Luther’s anti-Semitism (which was not uncommon at the time).

Acocella on the Jews: “Luther despised them dementedly, ecstatically.”

Then follows many scatological references. Also, this:

  • “what makes Luther’s anti-Semitism most disturbing is not its extremity (which, by sounding so crazy, diminishes its power)”

which recalls the present day (calling 45 “mental” thereby diminishing him — which does our country no favors because, after all, 45 is a dangerous guy, and probably NOT crazy)

Martin Luther lived to “an old age”: 62. But “the years were not kind to him . . . He spent days and weeks in pamphlet wars over matters that, today, have to be patiently explained to us, they seem so remote.”

This is sad!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Quote of the Day: Joan Acocella on Rescuing Luther’s Bibles From a 2004 Fire

The book historian Stephan Fussel, in the explanatory paperback that accompanies the two-volume facsimile, reports that in 2004, when a fire swept through the Duchess Anna Amalia Library, in Weimar, where this copy was housed, it was “rescued, undamaged, with not a second to lose, thanks to the courageous intervention of library director Dr. Michael Knoche.” I hope that Dr. Knoche himself ran out with the two volumes in his arms. I don’t know what the price of a calf is these days, but the price of this facsimile is sixty dollars.

The New Yorker, 30 October 2017

Martin Luther: Importance

Excerpts from The Hammer: How Martin Luther Changed the World, by New Yorker critic-at-large Joan Acocella (The New Yorker, 30 October 2017)

The crucial text is his Bible: the New Testament, translated from the original Greek and published in 1523, followed by the Old Testament, in 1534, translated from the Hebrew. Had he not created Protestantism, this book would be the culminating achievement of Luther’s life.

*     *     *

Luther very consciously sought a fresh, vigorous idiom. For his Bible’s vocabulary, he said, “we must ask the mother in the home, the children on the street,” and, like other writers with such aims — William Blake, for example — he ended up with something songlike. He loved alliteration — Der Herr ist mein Hirte (“The Lord is my shepherd”); Dein Stecken und Stab (“thy rod and thy staff”) — and he loved repetition and forceful rhythms.

*     *     *

The books also featured a hundred and twenty-eight woodcut illustrations, all by one artist from the Cranach workshop, known to us only as Master MS.

*     *     *

The three-thousand copy first edition of the New Testament, though it was not cheap (it cost about as much as a calf), sold out immediately.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Must Begin With the Letter ‘N’

Self is always happy when she can participate in Cee Neuner’s Fun Foto Challenge.

Since this week’s Foto Challenge is the Letter ‘N’, she thought this would fit the bill:


Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Tom Wales, Federal Prosecutor, Murdered 2001, In His Own Home (No Arrests)

Self is doing this because she knew his ex-wife, Elizabeth Wales.

Perhaps because of his line of work, he was cautious. His home was equipped with motion sensors connected to floodlights.

30 days after 9/11, Tom Wales was shot multiple times through a basement window of his home office in Seattle, by a killer who surely had been observing him for a while, who knew that Wales worked late into the night, sitting at his desk, his back to the window.

The weapon was a Makarov 9mm semi-automatic handgun . . .  believed to have been threaded for a silencer (and yet, neighbors, one of whom was the acting District Attorney, heard the shots)

Public FBI reports state that Soviet Bloc countries manufactured the Makarov through approximately 1968 . . .

More in The New Yorker, a piece by Jeffrey Toobin, 6 August 2007, and The Atlantic, a piece by James Fallows, 10 October 2014.

Stay tuned.

Women Writers For the Reading List

It’s taken self over two years to get to an issue of The New Yorker, the issue of 27 July 2015. The Book Review section. Here are her picks to add to her reading list:

Independence Lost, by Kathleen DuVal: An “intrepid history of the American Revolution that shifts the focus from the rebellious thirteen colonies to the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi Valley, where Native Americans, African slaves, and Spanish, French, and British colonials were fighting very different battles.” (The New Yorker, 27 July 2015)

Life After Life and A God in Ruins, by Kate Atkinson: In Life After Life, “Ursula Todd, a young Englishwoman, repeatedly dies and starts her life again.” In the follow-up, Ursula’s younger brother, Teddy, lives “a life of quiet sadness: he is widowed early, has a selfish daughter, and struggles to connect with his grandchildren. Teddy, unlike his sister, lives only one life, but Atkinson’s deft handling of time . . . is impressive.” (The New Yorker, 27 July 2015)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Also Reading: Evan Osnos in The New Yorker, 8 May 2017

Many scholars believe that the most plausible bases for a Trump impeachment are corruption and abuse of power. Noah Feldman, a Harvard Law School professor who specializes in constitutional studies, argues that, even without evidence of an indictable crime, the Administration’s pattern of seemingly trivial uses of public office for private gain “can add up to an impeachable offense.” Last week, after the State Department took down an official Web page that showcased Trump’s private, for-profit club, Mar-a-Lago, Feldman told me, “A systematic pattern shown through data points would count as grounds for impeachment.”

And self is nowhere near the end of this article. It’s taken her days just to get this far.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading Evan Osnos’s New Yorker Article, “Endgame: What would it take to cut short Trump’s Presidency?”

Self hopes dear blog readers appreciate that she is giving up precious time she could have spent writing her most kick-ass story to date (pagophilics, a Captain, a woman, an alien invasion launched from the Bering Sea) to continue reading the Evan Osnos article (in the 8 May 2017 issue of The New Yorker):

Trump has embraced strategies that normally boost popularity, such as military action. In April, some pundits were quick to applaud him for launching a cruise-missile attack on a Syrian airbase, and for threatening to attack North Korea. In interviews, Trump marvelled at the forces at his disposal, like a man wandering into undiscovered rooms of his house. (“It’s so incredible. It’s brilliant.”)


The White House recently stopped releasing visitors’ logs, limiting the public’s ability to know who is meeting with the President and his staff.

This is indeed a very enthralling piece, dear blog readers. Self can’t wait to read how it ends.

Stay tuned.

#amreading: “Endgames” by Evan Osnos (The New Yorker, 8 May 2017)

  • By this point in George W. Bush’s term, Bush had travelled to twenty-three states and a foreign country. Trump has visited just nine states and has never stayed the night. He inhabits a closed world that one adviser recently described as ‘Fortress Trump.’

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