Saturday, June 23, 2018

From the Saturday Stumper

My three favorite clues from today’s challenging-at-first-but-then-surprisingly-doable-after-all Newsday Saturday Stumper, by Matthew Sewell:

27-Across, eight letters: “Turkey dinner.”

59-Across, ten letters: “One in a string band?”

23-Down, eleven letters: “Group outside the class system.” HOMESCHOOLS? No.

Oh — and did you know there was a REESE?

No spoilers, aside from the REESE, which may spoil your appetite. The answers are in the comments.

Stanley Cavell (1926–2018)

Stanley Cavell on watching tragic drama:

Now I can give one answer to the question: Why do I do nothing, faced with tragic events? If I do nothing because I am distracted by the pleasures of witnessing this folly, or out of my knowledge of the proprieties of the place I am in, or because I think there will be some more appropriate time in which to act, or because I feel helpless to un-do events of such proportion, then I continue my sponsorship of evil in the world, its sway waiting upon these forms of inaction. I exit running. But if I do nothing because there is nothing to do, where that means that I have given over the time and space in which action is mine and consequently that I am in awe before the fact that I cannot do and suffer what it is another’s to do and suffer, then I confirm the final fact of our separateness. And that is the unity of our condition.

The only essential difference between them and me is that they are there and I am not.

“The Avoidance of Love: A Reading of King Lear,” in Must We Mean What We Say? (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969).
Stanley Cavell, philosopher, died earlier this week. The New York Times has an obituary.

[I can’t help reading this passage — which, again, is about watching a play — in light of what it feels like to watch “the news.”]

Friday, June 22, 2018

A misspelling in the news

It’s rhythem.

N.B.: no misspelling can be called “minor” when it’s on a thirty-foot-tall guitar. Or, for that matter, on any guitar.

Related reading
All OCA spelling and misspelling posts (Pinboard)

“Pepper sardines”

Sardines are not a reason to watch The Other Side of Hope (dir. Aki Kaurismäki, 2017). There are many others. The story, which brings together a Syrian refugee and the owner and employees of a little restaurant in Helsinki, is an exceptionally timely reminder about the possibilities of human goodness and hospitality. Not that such things figure in this scene. Click any image for a larger view:

I especially like the non sequitir “We serve fusion cuisine.” But I think I like the pepper shaker more.

Related reading
All OCA Aki Kaurismäki posts
All OCA sardine posts (Pinboard)

“Against aspiring authoritarians,
and wolves of all kinds”

Cass Sustein, writing about accounts of “ordinary life under Nazism”:

Nearly two centuries ago, James Madison warned: “Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks—no form of government can render us secure.” Haffner offered something like a corollary, which is that the ultimate safeguard against aspiring authoritarians, and wolves of all kinds, lies in individual conscience: in “decisions taken individually and almost unconsciously by the population at large.”
[Sebastian Haffner: pen name of Raimund Pretzel, journalist and writer. His memoir Defying Hitler (1939) is an eyewitness account of Hitler’s rise to power.]

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Two words

Definitions from Merriam-Webster:

migrant: one that migrates: such as
a : a person who moves regularly in order to find work especially in harvesting crops
b : an animal that shifts from one habitat to another

refugee: one that flees; especially : a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution
Which word more accurately characterizes people leaving Central America and seeking asylum in the United States?

I started to type fleeing for leaving before realizing that I was giving away my answer to the question. We are prosecuting refugees.

20,000 children

From The New York Times:

The Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday asked the Pentagon to make preparations to house as many as 20,000 unaccompanied migrant children on American military bases, a United States official said.
“Zero-tolerance” policies never work well. These preparations bode a humanitarian nightmare — something like a junior version of Guantanamo Bay.


June 22: For clarity: these children will be “unaccompanied” because they will have been separated from their parents.

Zippy Lupino

[Zippy, June 21, 2018.]

Zippy must be thinking of the 1953 film The Hitch-Hiker. Ida Lupino directed. William Talman hitched. Elaine and I watched this film on YouTube just last week. But how did Bill Griffith know that?

Related reading
All OCA Zippy posts (Pinboard)

A summer salad

The first day of summer: Persian salad season begins. The link goes to a post with the recipe. Simple to make, goes with almost anything.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


Aaron Blake, writing in The Washington Post about an impending executive order to end the practice of separating parents and children at the U.S.–Mexico border:

Rarely has the White House so tacitly and unmistakably admitted to overplaying its hand. And rarely has it so blatantly copped to its own dishonesty about its actions. [Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen] Nielsen, in particular, has a lot of explaining to do. But this whole thing is an extremely ugly chapter. And it makes clear that, from Day One, this was a political gambit to force an immigration bill through. It didn't work.