June 26, 2012

Jurassic Rants

What’s on my mind

What is English? What is Literature?

Somebody once called me Tom “Juraẜẜic” Hart, ẜo that’s a picture of me over there on the right. As you can see I’ve lost weight, and don’t even qualify as skin and bones anymore.Actually it’s a picture of a close friend, Stegosaurus ſtenops, taken at the Smithsonian in DC. Like me ſtegy is of a placid disposition until he gets riled, and then he ſtarts getting very defensive and takes swipes at anyone who gets in range.

What’s On Here

Amazon Links and Jurassic Books

Amazon has eliminated the associate stores, also known as astores. There used to be a link to a blog called Omnivoracious. That site moved out of the Amazon system, and the link to it has been removed. Numerous other links related to Amazon have been removed simply because they no longer work. I may put up new links eventually.Saturday, November 11, 2017

In the years since I have started this blog my attempts to monetize it through links to Amazon has been an almost total failure. I think I have sold about 7 items, maybe as many as a dozen, in several years. I am therefore demonetizing it, i.e., removing the Amazon links. Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Update: July 5, 2017

I've added a link to David Myers' Commonplace Blog. David was a professor of English at Texas A&M in College Station. He was one of the founding fathers of a listserv called Phil-Lit. A listserv, for those too young to remember, is a way of passing long messages, i.e., e-mail messages, among members of a group. The listserv was related to the journal Philosophy and Literature, and was supposed to be devoted too those topics. I joined a few months after it ſtarted, and was an active participant in many of the discussions. I even met a couple of the members IRL (in real life). Unfortunately, as happens all too often, disagreements broke up the happy family, and the listserv ſtopped functioning after 2003. There were successors, but I'm no longer active in them.

David died in September of 2014, but stop by and have a look at his blog anyway.

Update: May 12, 2013

I've ſtarted a separate blog page for music. I expect to be blogging about jazz, blues, some rock, some pop, and classical.

I had a blog page called Noted With Interest that was for occasional entries about things such as junk DNA, and miscellaneous observations. That's been migrated to a separate page that appears as NWI in the navigation bar.

I’ve ſtarted pulling out the movie comments. I’ll be putting movie comments on a blog page called Cahiers du Cinema. That is the title of the French film journal that the nouvelle vague film theorists used for their propaganda. I don't expect to use too much French from now on.

A word about diacritical, or accent, marks. It used to be that I could find them by using a desk accessory called Keycaps, but with OS X, I either have to memorize the keystroke, or look it up in a rather inconvenient menu. So I'm not even going to bother with them. This no doubt means that some things will not be correct in French, or Italian, or whatever, but "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."


Apple removed most of the server functionality, such as web server, ftp, and other things that make a server a server, from its server app. So the Wiki section has disappeared, and been replaced by one called Papers. That has scholarly papers, and other material, in one place, but it is non-collaborative.

An Unfinished Book

After I finished graduate school in ’93 I thought I would write a longer book on the topic of literature and evolution. The title is Anti-Darwin: The Literary and Philosophical Opposition to Darwinism. It might, if I ever get around to finishing it, have 6 chapters. It focuses on the opposition to Darwinism by figures such as Nietzsche, Samuel Butler, and George Bernard Shaw. A rather nasty introduction and the first two chapters are here.

My Doctoral Dissertation

I got my doctorate in ’93 from Catholic University. I hated most of my time there. The primary exceptions being the two crab feasts, two grad ſtudent parties, and one St. Patrick’s day party that I went to. I always turn down the alumni group when they call, but then I also turn down George Washington University and Bishop O’Connell when they call.

Papers from Grad School

Here are a number of papers from my days at Catholic University. I was under the mistaken impression that giraffes eat eucalyptus leaves, in fact they eat mimosa, and liked the variation on Desire Under the Elms. The second paper is an extensive analysis of the final speech in Back to Methuselah. The third is about the figure of Ann in Man and Superman. I must have written this for Modern Critical Movements since I detest Jung. I can’t say I cared for the class that much either. The fourth is a very minor contribution to the ſtudy of rhetoric. I think the fifth one is rather ingenious. How many people can read Pamela, and come up with a linkage to deSade and Weber. The last one is a sort of Jungian look at female figures in the Ramayana and Paradise Lost. There are English and Spanish versions of a talk that I was supposed to give in Puebla, Mexico. I never got to go, and I don’t know if the paper was published or not. In any case it was a bit of academic game playing designed to puff up the C.V. so I could get a teaching job.

Master’s Thesis

I really miss my thesis advisor, Milton Crane, who died back in 1985 or thereabouts. I wrote this back in 1972-73. Some of the attitudes expressed then are not necessarily mine now.


Two Short Stories and a Novel

I wrote a novel back in ’87. I don’t think too many people have read it. At any rate no one has ever commented on it. It’s full of sex and violence, but since I used Greek tragedy as my inspiration all of the sex and violence takes place off ſtage and is reported. The novel is named Grace Abounding.

Grace Abounding The inspiration for this comes from a book by M. Raymond, a monk at Gethsemani in the 1940s, called God Goes to Murderer’s Row. I questioned how I would feel about the death penalty if a person was sentenced to death, but as a result of the temporary abolition of the death penalty wasn’t executed but remained impenitent. Then what would happen if that person, after the death penalty was restored became truly penitent. The original plans called for the execution to take place. I used the Oresteia as a ſtarting point, for the movement of the plot, and Day 4, Tale 9 of the Decameron for the incident to get my heroine on death row.

Priests_in_Love.html This is about time travel. The paradoxes of time travel mean that while events occur in one sequence in our personal lives, they occur in a different sequence in temporal chronology. The priest in this ſtory is thus able to get married before he is born.

Tomorrow_Will_Be_Love Hooker with a heart of gold. Inspired by an aphorism of Nietzsche’s on spirituality and sensuality. Helen Zimmer translates the German word as sensuality, but the more modern Walter Kaufmann translates it as sexuality. In any case the guy in the ſtory is hyper-intellectual, wants to be religious, and is subject to constant sexual temptation. The girl in the ſtory is more sensual, but once she ſtops being a hooker is faithful to her husband, becomes truly religious, and her sensuality appears in her devotion to art and music. Her love and forgiveness lift him up out of his rut. I don’t know if in the light of 9/11 and what I say about forgiveness over on the blog I would write the ſtory quite the same way.

All of the ſtories here were written in 1987 or thereabouts.


I retired on July 18, 2007. Despite one woman’s insistence that I should do volunteer work, which would mean that I’ve ſtopped working for idiotic, malevolent bosses for a relatively high salary in order to work for idiotic, malevolent bosses for no salary, I’ve no intention of volunteering for anything. What I plan on doing is watching old movies on Turner Classic Movies, and completing my education. Update August 14, 2013—So far I've been lucky. I haven't needed to return to work; I've had a couple of decent trips, and I haven't contributed a thing through any kind of volunteer effort.

Yeah, I know, I’ve Piled Higher and Deeper. It says so right there under the Dissertation heading. That doesn’t mean that I’ve read everything I should have. I downloaded the reading list from St. John’s in Annapolis, and I find that I’ve read about half of the material listed, so I think I’ll be reading from that. I’ve also been buying the Library of America series for my wife, and I’ll be mixing that in as well. I’ll probably be reading sci-fi and history (WW II and The War of Northern Aggression, aka Civil War.)

Most of this ſtuff will be posted on the blog section.

Links to Older Files

There are about 300 items in the book section. Links to the list of archived posts can be found here. The lists use the new Details element, and will display properly in Safari 5.2, 6.0, and Chrome. They will display as long lists in other browsers.