In 1956, Doubleday published The Dragon in the Sea, the first novel by a California newspaperman named Frank Herbert. Even now, the book seems a little hard to pin down. It was, for the most part, a Cold War thriller about the race to harvest offshore oil—except crammed inside the thriller was a near-future science-fiction tale of fantastic technology. And crammed inside the science fiction was a psychological study of naval officers crammed inside submarines.
BOGSAT: according to urbandictionary.com, a “Bunch Of Guys Sitting Around Talking” in “regularly scheduled daily/weekly worthless meetings.”
The Inklings: according to religion scholars Philip and Carol Zaleski, “a small circle of intellectuals” who “from the end of the Great Depression through World War II and into the 1950s . . . gathered on a weekly basis in and around Oxford University to drink, smoke, quip, cavil.”
When Vita Sackville-West, daughter of the third Lord Sackville, recalled her childhood at the family’s ancestral home, Knole, she described “a person called Henry who from time to time came to the entrance and demanded to see Grandpapa, but was not allowed to.” So recounts Robert Sackville-West, author of The Disinherited and also the current, and seventh, Baron Sackville. Henry, in fact, was Vita’s uncle on her mother’s side.
Based on her latest column, Maureen Dowd is not a fan of Hillary Clinton's campaign run. But how do the Times's readers feel? It's a guilty pleasure of mine (or a bad habit) to read comment sections in order to gauge the mood out there. At the New York Times, however, comments are broken into three sections—All, Readers' Picks, and NYT Picks. The All section is a rabbit hole. A subthread can go on for hundreds of comments, none of them addressing the column but rather a reader who mentioned Hubert Humphrey and Vietnam. So I skipped ahead to the ultrafiltered NYT Picks—letters, if you will, selected by the Times as noteworthy. Here's where it got interesting.
Libertarians in Colorado are flying high after their success in getting marijuana legalized in the state. In our little town of Aspen, there are now seven stores in which eager consumers – I perhaps should say addicts because one user recently held up a store, threatening staff with a hammer, because he absolutely positively had to have the $11,000 worth of weed – can satisfy their desire for the stuff. Score one for libertarians.
One of the more frustrating things about the three years I lived in a “mixed” neighborhood in Northeast Washington, D.C., was the bus I was forced to rely on to get to work. The infamous X2, which promenades down H Street, not far from the U.S.
Vladimir Horowitz and Maria Callas, Ella Fitzgerald and Laurence Olivier, Sarah Bernhardt and Luciano Pavarotti—these transcendent performers communicated a point of view, an inexpressible feel for life. And they did so despite their spells of stage fright.
It’s too soon to tell whether the world will be able to recover from its grief, but we suppose civilization must go on, if for no other reason than to preserve the memory of the deceased. We speak, of course, of the tragic killing of Cecil the Lion—the beloved symbol of Zimbabwe’s wildlife. To be abundantly clear, The Scrapbook abhors the illegal or gratuitous killing of animals.
Some years ago, while visiting T. S. Eliot’s native St. Louis, I took in a lecture on Eliot’s poem “Marina,” delivered by the Scottish poet and critic Robert Crawford. Most people will grant that T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) is a difficult poet, but after 20 years of reading him, I find that “Marina” is the only one of his poems I continue to find obscure, even opaque. Crawford interpreted the poem astutely, but what most impressed me was his willingness to set aside certainty of sense in favor of an exceptional richness of sound:
A reader writes to ask about the photo we’ve been using in our subscription ads (see the back cover of this week’s edition, or last week’s, for that matter). Is it real, he wonders, or Photoshopped to show the three men together? “If it is an actual photo, it certainly is very interesting: three young men with impressive careers before them. All three were warmly dressed and their shoulders appear to touch one another. All three were staring directly toward the camera. . . . Stalin is almost smiling, the other two not quite so much.”
Leonard L. Richards, professor emeritus of history at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), has given us a compelling and multi-faceted account of how the antislavery movement achieved its definitive triumph in the form of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
Daša Drndić, a Croatian, has gained respect in her country as a novelist, literary critic, and playwright. After teaching in Canada and completing a master’s degree in communications in the United States, thanks to a Fulbright grant, she now teaches philosophy at the University of Rijeka.
The country has been roiled in recent weeks by videos showing two Planned Parenthood executives chirpily telling pro-life undercover investigators that fetal organs could be had for a price. The executives—both themselves abortionists—explained that their techniques could be adapted to “crush” fetuses in a “less crunchy” manner so as to better insure harvests suitable for research.
Juan Reinaldo Sánchez was drafted into the Cuban Army in 1967 and assigned to the Department of Personal Security, the branch dedicated to protecting Fidel Castro. Starting at the lowest rung, where he was assigned to the blocks where Cuba’s top revolutionary leaders worked, Sánchez quickly rose through the ranks because of his good performance and revolutionary attitude. As a result, he was selected to join an elite group, made up of two divisions of 1,500 handpicked troops, who protected Fidel Castro 24 hours a day.