August 4, 2013

About Me

My Stats

What’s on my mind

Many years ago I was thinner and had more hair. The hair was blonde, not white, and I was a hottie, or at least I’m deluded enough to think so.

Now that I’ve grown out of the radical grad student phase, as shown by the picture on the left, appropriately enough, and I’ve gotten out of Hell (Grand Cayman, BWI) as shown by the picture above, and my ship,
while it did come in, was sunk in an artillery exercise, it seems like this is an ideal time to kick back, and do some serious reading, and to write about the things that I actually care about. So I propose to write about books that I’m finally getting around to reading, and music that I like. This means that I’ll be focusing on classic literature, and science fiction, and history when it comes to reading, and jazz, blues, and classical when it comes to music.

I was a long-time Carmelite secular, a lay person who is part of the Carmelite order, and I’ll be doing classic works of Western spirituality as well. Many people act like there is nothing “spiritual” in Christianity. I think they confuse spirituality with marshmallow gooieness. Now there’s nothing wrong with marshmallows, God knows I’ve eaten more than a few in my day, and they helped me morph from the 1960s hottie with the accompanying blonde, to the oughties fattie by the pool, but a God who can will a universe into existence is not a cosmic marshmallow. So I’m going to write about books by people like Pseudo-Dionysius, Thomas Merton, St. Bonaventure, and others. I am a philo-Semite, and I find Judaism interesting and attractive, so I’ll be writing about classic Jewish works too. Since I’m writing as an outsider, and a non-Jew, I welcome correction, and contrary opinions. I’m not doing Islamic works, because since 9/11 Islam and I have been on the outs. I’m also not going to do works that lend themselves to a marshmallow gooey interpretation.

As to secular literature, I’m focusing pretty much on books from a reading list for St. Johns College in Annapolis. I’ll also be doing classic works, such as Orlando Furioso, that aren’t on the list. I like science fiction, and I’m interested in the Civil War and WW II, so I’ll be reading books about those wars, and blogging about them as well. As far as music goes, I actually like Gregorian chant, and Anonymous 4, is one of my favorite groups. I also like blues and jazz, but my knowledge of them is based on fairly recent artists, such as Dave Brubeck, Joshua Redman, Holly Cole, Debbie Davies, Sue Foley, and others. So I want to learn more about the roots of jazz and blues, and will be buying, listening to, and writing about older jazz and blues musicians.

Update: February 17, 2014—I finished the St. Johns reading list, to my satisfaction, if not to the TPTB at St. Johns, which doesn't really matter since I'm neither teacher nor student there, and I've been concentrating on sci-fi, history, and classics. I'm trying to get through some Christmas books right now, and I'm thinking of re-reading Kant, and maybe, if I can stand it, all three volumes of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. End update.

Update: May 20, 2014—I started The Critique of Pure Reason on April 6, 2014, and finished it on the 13th or 14th. I immediately started Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and finished it today. End update.

The pictures are:

  1. Me, relaxing by the pool in July 2007. I’ve had gastric banding surgery since then, and lost about 60 pounds so far.Update February 18, 2014—Since removed out of respect for the sensibilities of others. I've substituted a picture of me at a chocolate shop in Bath, UK.
  2. Me and my wife about 1970.
  3. Me in Hell in the Grand Caymans.
  4. The USS Rathburne in the Caymans. Sunk in the RimPac exercises in 2002.
  5. Me. Probably about 1968. The painting behind me was acrylic with paper and aluminum foil collage.
  6. Library in my basement.
  7. Nelli, one of my friends from L-3. This contract was the only one where I had a decent boss, and which I actually regretted leaving once we lost the contract.
  8. Madhuri, another friend from L-3.
Update February 16, 2010 
I’ve been scanning a bunch of old slides that I finally found. Here’s one of a smokin’ hot blonde babe from 1967 or 1968. The poster behind her shows Paul Krassner, editor of a counter-culture magazine called The Realist. The magazine and the poster have disappeared from my life. The smoking hot blonde babe has not. Would you believe I lucked out and married her?


Nelli. One of my friends from the only job I ever hated leaving.

Madhuri. Another friend from L-3

My Music

Favorite Comics


Right Politics

The Corner
Big Hollywood

Cost of Living

Historical CPI Data
The Debt Clock

Mac News Aggregator

MacSurfer Headline News™

Classic Books

I Tatti Renaissance Library-Home
Loeb Classical Library
Library of America

Classic Films

Flicker Alley, Silent Films
Kino Films
Kino Lorber
Criterion Collection

Food & Drink

Broken Arrow Ranch: Free Range Game
Schneider's of Capitol Hill
Kybecca, Wine and Beer in Fredericksburg
Steaks and Game
Total Wine & More

Flaviar, Whisky & Other Booze

20 Most Recent Posts

Pictures from Italy
Shakespeare Play by Play
Conmen and Cutpurses
Boswell and Johnson Go To Scotland
The Savior Generals
Early Hemingway
Finnegans Wake
Strands of Sorrow
The Riverside Chaucer
Heinlein Biography: Vol 2
The Founding Fathers and Science
The Classical World
Salinger: 3 Early Stories
Call of Duty
Full Force and Effect
James Joyce and Ulysses
Dickens Book by Book
Boswell London Journal
Dublin, Edinburgh and London
Islands of Rage and Hope

Slides from Italy

Meal service on Lufthansa
The Locanda de la Spada and Surroundings
Breafast at the hotel
The scene around St. Marks
Venetian Ghetto
Our hotels in Florence
Il Mercato Centrale in Florence>
The Duomo in Florence
Our hotel in Rome
Caffeteria Gracchi in Rome
The Borghese Museum and grounds in Rome>
The ruins of the ancient port of Ostia
Vatican Museum
The Roman Forum & the Fountain of Trevi
Museum in Naples (NSFW)
The end of the trip>

Add widget to site