Thursday, January 1, 2009


Beginning the new year, blogwise, starts with a recap of the previous year. Here are the first sentences of the first blogs of each month of 2008. It starts with a statement about resolutions, fittingly. And of course I didn't live up to those resolutions. But, perhaps interestingly, some example of the kinds of topics I "resolved" to write about does appear in this sample. What's not so surprising is that, with the summer, comes my fixation on Musil's The Man Without Qualities; and, with the fall, fixation on topical stories dealing with the election biz. Topical this blog was never intended to be, so the prevalence of such entries says something about the media blitz of Election 2008.

To mark the new year, I thought I'd make some resolutions for blogging. ("New Year, Old Year" 1/1/08)

From a literary work that can be read in about four hours, let's turn to a film that takes about four hours to view: Jacques Rivette's L'amour fou (1969) which the WHC screened a week ago. ("Riveting Rivette" 2/3/08)

I suppose my recent foray into male-centered Western sagas of bonding, agon and identity must have propelled me to the other end of the pendulum-swing: to female-centered urban sagas of bonding, agon and identity -- in this case Alison Lurie’s novel The Truth about Lorin Jones (1988). ("Some Chicklits...?" 3/3/08)

The first of April has acquired some significance for me, in part because it's the date dedicated to my favorite Tarot card, The Fool -- which is also the name of the rock group on whose album cover Pynchon's Tyrone Slothrop is supposedly visible in the background -- and the date has meaning in Gravity's Rainbow because of the fact that in 1945 Easter and April Fool's Day were the same day. ("April Fools" 4/13/08)

World War II has been the setting of so many films, it seems dangerous terrain for a filmmaker attempting anything new. ("World War II Revisited" 5/5/08)

There was a fairly amusing piece in The New York Times Book Review today, about the rigors of reading “jumbo lit” and the toll it takes on one’s day to day life. ("Caveat Lector" 6/1/08)

One could do worse on Independence Day than read Robert Pinsky’s long poem, “An Explanation of America” (1979). ("And It's Almost Independence Day" 7/4/08)

I've made it to the end of the portion of Der Mann that Musil published in 1930 (725 pages). ("Thou Wouldst Be Great" 8/5/08)

After hearing more about Gov. Palin, I realize that her choice is not quite the bad faith move that I originally claimed; it initially struck me as aimed primarily at the disgruntled Hilaryites who might decide to jump to the Republican side. ("Addendum" 9/1/08)

In the best tradition of Nero -- "he fiddled while Rome burned" -- I'm going to talk about music while debate about the debate rages, while the presidential candidates compare bracelets, while the Dow Jones drops and rallies and drops and whatever, while the bailout efforts continue and my own bank gets the kiss of life from a bigger bank. ("The CDs: BabyShambles" 10/1/08)

David Brooks has some sobering thoughts in the New York Times today, even assuming "our guy" wins. ("End of an Era?" 11/4/08)

At long last, I've made it through the 1,130 pages of The Man Without Qualities that Musil published in his lifetime. ("Of Ulrich and Agathe" 12/11/08)

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