On one unseasonably warm day in December 1975, two candidates vying for the mayoralty of Clyde Hill, WA, a 3200-strong suburb sandwiched between Seattle and Bellevue, met in the office of the King County Superintendent of Elections. Against all odds, the normal course of count and recount in the scheduled November election had exhausted itself … Continue reading Local Notes No. 2: Clyde Hill, WA’s Coin-Flip Mayor
The builders have picked up their shovels in Maryland. Cajoled, at long last, by the recent bounding pace of economic growth in the state between D.C. and Baltimore, these planners, developers, architects and contractors have brought something not seen in quite some time to the Old Line State – a renovation of the built environment, new neighborhoods, lecture halls, office parks, and glitzy, pedestrian shopping centers presenting a bold vision of what a suburban built environment ought to be. And now this rolling stone of bricks and draft plans presents me, whose vision of Central Maryland was frozen in the lows of recessionary apathy, with a jarring experience of coming home again.
He was sat in an obscure corner of the world, In Memphis (of late), and left alone to read Obscure histories, of the fishing of sea-bream, And grouper, of the proper ecological relations, Of sponge, tortoise, and the sunlight which scatters Thru the unlanc’d emeraldry of sea-skin, Their holy bilayer. This curriculum Like most, went … Continue reading After “Vor dem Gesetz,” At Home, Oct ’20
If geopolitics ever found itself in need of a fabulist, it could do worse than to give Peter Zeihan a call. To be fair, geopolitics today does need a fabulist – one of the wittier passages in Zeihan’s recent book, Disunited Nations: The Scramble for Power in an Ungoverned World, concerns the moment in 1990 … Continue reading Review: Peter Zeihan, “Disunited Nations”
American movies have lost their sense of place. What did we lose when that happened?
Wanted to pass along some beloved excerpts from John Ashbery, who I try my utmost to imitate. Nothing is like his poetry. An immodest little white wine, some scattered seraphs,recollections of the Fall—tell me,has anyone made a spongier representation, chasedfewer demons out of the parking lotwhere we all held hands? Little by little the idea … Continue reading Sharing some John Ashbery, and Poetry in California
I was asked, after posting my translation of this story, whether I could offer readers a link to the original. Hoping ardently that I’m not running afoul of any copyright laws for posting a 117-year-old story, here it is in full. Das Wunderkind kommt herein – im Saale wird’s still. Es wird still, und dann … Continue reading “Das Wunderkind,” by Thomas Mann
For the Christmas 1903 issue of Vienna’s Die Presse, the Nobel laureate-to-be Thomas Mann contributed this lovely short story, about a wintertime concert given by a prodigy pianist. “Das Wunderkind” was the title it carried when published as a novella in 1914. Mann himself wrote in 1910 that it was his “most beloved” work. I … Continue reading “The Prodigy,” by Thomas Mann – My Translation
The arduous discovery of the properties of the quaternions by William Rowan Hamilton has always stuck in my mind as among the most romantic of modern math’s encounters. Until the fall of 1843, Hamilton was set to work extending the complex numbers, by then a regular feature of the theory of equations. As he would … Continue reading Hamilton, the Quaternions, and Mathematical Mythologies
There are no mountains On the sky-rim here, no. Not much offered to the gauzy eye, Squat and squinting, On the lookout for orogenies And irruptions. It’s a flat place. For the Puritans, the most attractive features of this, The nearer coast, was respite, a chance to get away from it all, Arable land less … Continue reading Predestination, Home, Aug ’20
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