Library of Congress-2

Martin Luther, Isaac Asimov, and the value of libraries; 50-plus true-crime books; and more; newsletter, April 27, 2018

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,067) on Friday, April 20, 2018. Finally, the crimson clover has started to bloom (about a month late, due mostly to cold weather). Agriculturally, that’s the big event in our lives this week. The bees have started to work the clover, and now, maybe, the […]

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Wittenberg in 1536

Martin Luther sparked the Reformation, and along with it, the printing industry

Most people who know about Luther understand how important printing — which was still in its fledgling stages — was to the spread of Luther’s ideas. But the relationship of Luther’s ideas and printing is much more than coincidental. It was symbiotic.

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Library of Congress

Library of Congress stands fast against America’s strain of anti-intellectualism

The strain of anti-intellectualism that pervades American culture is always at war with those of us who value learning and believe that life is more than just a set of economic facts. We have many valuable and visible allies. One of the most visible is the Library of Congress.

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In case you’re wondering: James Comey’s book sold 600,000 copies in its first week

Comey’s book came out with a well-planned marketing blitz centered around Comey being interviewed by just about every radio, television, and cable show that would have him. And most of them did.

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Bookriot author puts together 50 must-read true-crime books to add to your TBR stack

Katie McLain has done all of us true-crime fans a real service. She has put together 50 of the best true-crime books into one simple list. She writes: What is it about true crime books that are so addicting? Is it a voyeuristic, “train wreck” sort of reading experience? Is it an opportunity to understand […]

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Abby1

What Churchill feared; the real ‘Bloody Mary’; revisiting Watergate; newsletter April 20, 2018

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,129) on Friday, April 20, 2018. The weather in East Tennessee has gone from sunny with a high near 80 degrees last Friday to a cold rain on Sunday and sleet — and even a bit of snow — on Monday. All that has prevented […]

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Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov on thinking and writing clearly

In his 72 years (1920-1992), he wrote or edited more than 500 books and as many as 90,000 letters and postcards. An asteroid, a crater on Mars, and an elementary school in Brooklyn are named after him.

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Sam Ervin, chairman of the Senate Watergate Committee

Slow Burn: a podcast series about Watergate

If you lived through the Watergate crisis (1972-1974), you probably remember a lot about what happened and about the major characters, such as John Dean, Richard Nixon, John Ehrlichman, etc. And you probably remember how it felt to have a new development in the story just about every day. It was an interesting, often thrilling, […]

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MrShakespeare

Folger Shakespeare Library podcast interviews author of recent book on a newly discovered Shakespeare source

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. has an interesting podcast with June Schlueter and Dennis McCarthy. These authors were mentioned in a post on JPROF.com in February (and also in Jim’s newsletter) about a newly discovered source for William Shakespeare. How they discovered this source is as interesting as what they discovered. McCarthy is an […]

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The ‘Lightning Sketch Artist,’ a vaudeville act in the early 1900s

Not long ago, a friend alerted me to Gurney Journey, the website of artist James Gurney, and it has become one of my daily stops on my web rounds. Gurney comes up with a wide variety of fascinating items, including the video above that shows sometimes about which I was completely unaware: the lightning sketch […]

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A frame of bees from one of the hives

Starting beehives; surviving March; sketching in the urban; more on Darwin: newsletter April 13, 2018

There is this thing in America known as March Madness. To the untutored among you, that refers to the three-week long national collegiate basketball tournament that has the country mesmerized until the Monday evening (usually the first Monday of April) when the national championship games takes place, and in a few days, you’ve forgotten completely […]

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Winston Churchill during World War I; watercolor, Jim Stovall

Winston Churchill on the Western Front: ‘I am afraid only of people who cannot think.’

While at the front, Churchill started reading poetry, particularly the poems of Siegfried Sassoon, a British soldier not well known at the time but whose anti-war poetry would later become famous. Churchill not only read Sassoon’s poetry but memorized them and recited them whenever he could.

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Shadows of Summer - 1

Shadows of Summer – four line and wash drawings

  These drawings come from a watercolor class that I am taking at the local community college (Pellissippi State) this semester. They were executed in about an hour and a half. The main point of these drawings was for me to learn something about “hot press” paper. In watercolor there are three kinds of paper: […]

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Wrigley Field

Urban Sketching is among us – so pay attention

People who draw and paint outside the confines of their studio are now known as urban sketchers. In fact, there is a world-wide organization —  a long-standing one, I understand — of Urban Sketchers with a substantial website. Here’s the Urban Sketchers manifesto: We draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from […]

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MrDarwin

Charles Darwin’s plan for Origin of Species – and his luck

Darwin’s basic marketing plan, according to Johnson, was to let others promote the book while never appearing to do so himself. He planned to be drafted into immortality. And so he was.

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March: the month of madness

Glad you survived March, dear reader. It’s sometimes a dangerous place to be. There is this thing in America known as March Madness. To the untutored among you, that refers to the three-week long national collegiate basketball tournament that has the country mesmerized until the Monday evening (usually the first Monday of April) when the […]

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A frame of bees from one of the hives

Starting a new beehive – what it takes

We’ve had a cold, wet spring in East Tennessee this year, and that kind of weather is not particularly good for bees or their honey production. The crimson clover, which the bees love, still has not bloomed, although it should be at its peak in the first or second week of April. Our attitude is, of […]

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The fears of Charles Darwin; Typhoid Mary; installing the bees: newsletter, April 6, 2018

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,171) on Friday, April 6, 2018. Planting the garden was the first order of business on the farm this week. After I had completed the tilling last week, we had some more rain, so the planting did not begin on Good Friday, as is our […]

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Charles Darwin

The three fears of Charles Darwin and the writing of The Origin of Species

Two of them slowed his writing down. He feared that his work would be dismissed by the fellow scientists for whom it was written. That would have been a humiliation that he did not believe he could stand. He also feared what his wife, a deeply religious woman, would think. The final fear had the […]

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A newspaper depiction of Typhoid Mary (National Institutes of Health)

Typhoid Mary: not an ogre from the Dark Ages

Typhoid Mary is not just an expression, and she’s not a ghost from some mysterious past. She was a real person who lived in the 20th century and whose story is a sad one. Her name was Mary Mallon. She lived and worked in New York City during the first decade of the 20th century. […]

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