Friday, March 28, 2014

Book & Music Notes (Weekend Edition)

* Scott Johnson over at PowerLine not only mentioned a short story by Sinclair Lewis that I had never heard of, he quite decently provided a link to it. Thanks, Scott; the story (“Young Man Axelbrod”) is a gem.

Here’s a brief excerpt to serve as an introduction:

And at sixty-five Knute Knute Axelbrod was like one of his own cottonwoods, his roots deep in the soil, his trunk weathered by rain and blizzard and baking August noons, his crown spread to the wide horizon of day and the enormous sky of a prairie night. This immigrant was an American even in speech. Save for a weakness about his j's and w's, he spoke the twangy Yankee English of the land. He was the more American because in his native Scandinavia he had dreamed of America as a land of light. Always through disillusion and weariness he beheld America as the world's nursery for justice, for broad, fair towns, and eager talk; and always he kept a young soul that dared to desire beauty…

With a longing for music and books and graciousness such as the most ambitious boy could never comprehend, this thick-faced farmer dedicated himself to beauty, and defied the unconquerable power of approaching old age. He sent for college catalogues and school books, and diligently began to prepare himself for college.

* “To understand why Putin took Crimea, read his favourite authors” (Colin Freeman, Telegraph)

* “Chick Webb: ‘The Lord Gave Me Some Years To Play’" (Vital Signs Blog)

* “Getting Upset About the Wrong Things in Disney Movies: A Christian Tradition” (Brian Brown, aleteia)

* “The library of the future” (Jane Fagan, Mercator)

* And here's a couple more articles from Breitbart's Big Hollywood on the new movie, Noah. --- “9 Problems with Aronofsky's Noah” by Ben Shapiro and  “Noah Review: Brilliantly Sinister Anti-Christian Filmmaking” by John Nolte.

* Okay, this YouTube video isn’t a quick thing. But if you want a delightful, thoughtful hour and a half, connect your computer to your TV and watch, listen, and enjoy this performance by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra (directed by Sergiu Celibidache) of Anton Bruckner’s haunting Symphony Number 8 in C minor.

The performance was filmed in Suntory Hall in Tokyo, October 1990. (And yes, you could always play the music in the background while you’re reading. No one will know you are using this complex, ethereal beauty for mere background music. I won't tell anyway.)