This is Getting Creepy

Alexa skills: the Triumph of the Virtual over the Virtuous. "Alexa, play relaxing sounds." "Alexa, give me a compliment." "Alexa, read me a bedtime story." "Alexa, help me meditate."

Reform is Not Enough

That some "minor" adjustment to second amendment rights will solve the "crisis" (which should never be wasted) of school shootings seems dubious, in fact, impossible of belief.  It would take draconian action, both on gun access and police practice, to rid ourselves of the scourge.  If that is so, then those urging reform are really urging repeal. 

If they succeed they will be disappointed in the result. Reality bites. 

Thomas H. Huxley with Skull and Side Whiskers

From the front matter of The Harvard Classics, Vol.22. "Essays English and American." Charles Eliot Norton, editor, emerges this image of the naturalist.

What a pose. Hamlet with the skull of Yorick, he is not. His skull is a mere object of study, held as any object would be, the hand in pocket pose making sure that no idea of reverence or even awe would be welcomed by the man whose gaze confronts us with intelligence and a hint of amusement, I fancy.

Basic Counterpoint

Composing using counterpoint. Two lines. Excellent presentation of what, if you think about it, is the defining feature of Western music. I wish my lectures had been this clear.

Tidbits from Alexander Pope

A reviewer of Maynard Mack's biography of Pope, writing in the National Review in 1986

Mack offers sound but unoriginal readings of the poems and reminds us that, after Shakespeare, Pope "contributed more to our common language than any other poet." He also examines Pope's astonishing technique and diversity of tone, which ranged from the erotic wit of The Rape of the Lock ("Oh Hadst thou, Cruel!, been content to seize / Hairs less in sight, or any Hairs but these!") and the subtle sensitivity of An Essay on Man ("The spider's touch, how exquisitely fine!/ Feels at each thread, and lives along the line") to the inquisitive arrogance of the inscription on the collar of the Prince of Wales's puppy ("I am his Highness' Dog at Kew,/Pray tell me Sir, whose Dog are you?") and the savage pride in the power of the satirist in 1738 ("Yes, I am proud; I must be proud to see/Men not afraid of God, afraid of me").

The last quotation is interesting. The frail Pope refused to cower in fear of those who might do him physical harm, but he did not venture out without his Great Dane (Bounce) and two pistols.