More on Merle

A little late to the RIP-fest:

Nothing Says 'Girl's Empowerment' Like A Headscarf You'll Be Beaten for Not Wearing

Sesame Street's heart is in the right place, no doubt. And, in truth, a hijab is downright "feminist" in the context of Afghanistan, where the conservatives insist on a full burqa if women are not to be beaten or executed.

Still... c'mon.

Some Democrats Have That Fantasy, Too

Headline: "Hillary Clinton Mocks ‘Republican Fantasy’ That She’ll Be Put In Handcuffs."

Drinking water

Via Maggie's Farm, a promising development in producing fresh water from saltwater.

"Look, I'm Just Like You!"

Who raised this woman? I've know six-year-olds who could pour a better beer. Teaching them how is one of those things a man is supposed to do. It goes with the other common-sense teachings you learn at that age.

The True and the Beautiful

Claire Berlinski is trying to understand the collapse of architectural standards in Paris after the Second World War. (H/t: Instapundit.)

I need to make the case that my judgments about this aren’t arbitrary. I’m saying something more objective about beauty than, “I like building A but I don’t like building B.” So I need to start with a robust theory of aesthetics. Here’s what I need it to do:

It needs to be able to tell us, in some detail, why Building A is more beautiful than Building B. These principles should be broadly applicable to all buildings.

It would be useful to show that these principles may broadly be applied to the idea of “beauty,” generally.

I’d like to explore the idea that it’s at least reasonable to associate “the beautiful” and “the morally good.”

This point must be based on evidence, the nature of which must be defined. So, for example, I want to look at the criminogenic quality of ugly buildings, and the way people tend to get sick and die sooner when they live in and among them.
I've never been to Paris, so I can't speak with much authority on the beauty of the buildings there. However, I can tell her why the beautiful and the good used to be thought connected. Here is an old post:
Htom asked for a break to put his thoughts in order before we reconvened on the subject of levels of reality -- that is, whether a thing can be "more real" than another. Here's St. Augustine on the subject:
Look around; there are the heaven and the earth. They cry aloud that they were made, for they change and vary. Whatever there is that has not been made, and yet has being, has nothing in it that was not there before. This having something not already existent is what it means to be changed and varied. Heaven and earth thus speak plainly that they did not make themselves: "We are, because we have been made; we did not exist before we came to be so that we could have made ourselves!" And the voice with which they speak is simply their visible presence. It was thou, O Lord, who madest these things. Thou art beautiful; thus they are beautiful. Thou art good, thus they are good. Thou art; thus they are. But they are not as beautiful, nor as good, nor as truly real as thou their Creator art. Compared with thee, they are neither beautiful nor good, nor do they even exist. These things we know, thanks be to thee. Yet our knowledge is ignorance when it is compared with thy knowledge.
That gives us two 'levels' of reality: God, and creation. The original claim of Mark Twain's suggested that a human creation could -- if it were also true and beautiful -- be "more real" than other things that were part of God's creation.

Confer with Tolkien's idea of sub-creation, and his creation myth in the Silmarillion. Human nature has a capacity to seize upon the True and the Beautiful as they are in other things. We can separate them intellectually from the things they are in, and think about why they are beautiful. We can take things that are imperfectly beautiful, and imagine how to make them more so. We can, in our arts, make them actually more beautiful.
The Twain discussion tracks to this earlier post, and this one. Twain's subject was Wagner's opera, which he criticized intensely -- but his admission undoes all the criticism.

If you can make art that is more real than nature, then you are refining something found in the natural world. That is what Aristotle suggests art exists to do: to perfect the natures of things. You start with the good in the world, and perfect it. Nature might provide shelter in a cave. Men taking shelter in such caves made them places for worship by decorating their walls with other beautiful scenes found in nature. Such a cave begins to be improved by being made more perfect, and thus -- this was Twain's insight -- more real.

A cathedral is just an artificial cave, in a way. Notre Dame is more real because it is more beautiful. It is more beautiful because it more perfectly realizes the goods that it was brought into being to serve.

Break: Goodnight, Merle

A sad day for the nation. I'd say for 'the country,' but this is no time for puns.

I'm sorry to see him go. He was one of the last of the Outlaw Country greats.

UPDATE: I don't know if this story about Merle's last show is true. However, it is coherent with this news report about that show.

UPDATE: A young Merle Haggard does impressions of the singers who were great in those days.

Merle Haggard, RIP

Merle Hazard

I don't even know what to say about this ...

Hat tip to Greg Mankiw.


This game came up in a discussion on another site, and I thought the Hall would enjoy it.

Here's the description from Amazon:

Kolejka -- Queue -- Boardgame
by Instytut Pamici Narodowej
Get in a queue with your family in front of a store and experience a rush of genuine emotions! The board game Kolejka (a.k.a. Queue) tells a story of everyday life in Poland at the tail-end of the Communist era.

The players' task appears to be simple: They have to send their family members out to various stores on the game board to buy all the items on their shopping list. The problem is, however, that the shelves in the five neighborhood stores are empty.

The players line up their pawns in front of the shops without knowing which shop will have a delivery. Tension mounts as the product delivery cards are uncovered and it turns out that there will be enough product cards only for the lucky few standing closest to the door of a store. Since everyone wants to be first, the queue starts to push up against the door. To get ahead, the people in the queue use a range of queuing cards, such as 'Mother carrying small child', 'This is not your place, sir', or 'Under-the-counter goods'. But they have to watch out for 'Closed for stocktaking', 'Delivery error', and for the black pawns the speculators standing in the queue. Only those players who make the best use of the queuing cards in their hand will come home with full shopping bags.

On the product cards are photos of sixty original objects from the Communist era. The merchandise includes Relaks shoes, Przemysawka eau de cologne, and Popularna tea, as well as other commodities that were once in scarce supply.
The neighborhood also has an outdoor market but the prices there are steep unless, of course, you manage to strike a deal with the market trader. In this realistic game you really have to be savvy to get the goods. Are you brave enough to confront the everyday life of the 1980s?
Appropriately, the game is only available from 3rd party sellers and the lowest price is currently $473.46.

On the Road

Gone walkabout for a few days. Should be back late this week.

Pokey LaFarge's Tiny Desk Concert