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Maclin Horton
Fairhope, Alabama [email: my first name followed by a period followed by my last name at gmail.com]
Victor Hugo said "50 is the youth of old age." Now it's 60, I think.
Interests: music, literature, film, politics., catholic spirituality and doctrine
Recent Activity
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A train of thought that began with my noticing that in a few days it will be December eventually carried me to these lines from "The Raven": Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor... I hadn't read the poem in I don't know how long, so I pulled out my old Norton anthology of American literature and did so. Oh my goodness! As a reasonably sophisticated reader of poetry, I'm probably not supposed to think very highly of "The Raven," but...oh my goodness, it's a fine... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Light On Dark Water
Extremely idle question to which a very brief search did not yield an answer: when did movies stop saying "The End" at the end? Or maybe some of them still do, but I don't think I've seen it for a long time. Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Light On Dark Water
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And they've invited me to contribute a monthly post. I'm extremely flattered, and a bit intimidated, as it puts me alongside Peter Hitchens and probably some other people who are better writers than I am. My first post appeared yesterday. It's called "Being Honour Bred," a phrase from a Yeats poem which mentions people who lie without shame. It's a pretty grumpy post, which was not really the way I wanted to start out, but the poem has been very much on my mind. The next post should appear in late December and will be about Christmas. Peter Hitchens's first... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Light On Dark Water
Very early in my life as an adult Christian I realized that I had to come to terms with the fact that a lot of my fellow Christians were really Not My Sort. More significantly, they held views, or at least expressed them in ways, with which I disagreed significantly. I have in mind a particular incident: it was around 1979, and I had a friend who, like me, had recently joined the Episcopal Church. He mentioned that he had just heard on the radio a hick preacher who denounced homosexuality in terms that to say the least showed no... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2021 at Light On Dark Water
"Bishop Steven J. Lopes, the bishop of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, was elected to head the Committee for Divine Worship by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) at their annual general assembly in Baltimore." Full story at the web site of the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society. My master plan for the Ordinariate is a slow infiltration of the Novus Ordu by the language and other elements of the Anglican tradition. So far so good. I don't really know what this means, and have not seen any commentary. The vote was as close as it could be... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2021 at Light On Dark Water
I went to hear the Mobile Symphony on Saturday. There were three works on the fairly short program: Rossini's overture to The Thieving Magpie, Saint-Seans's Violin Concerto #3, and Mendelssohn's Symphony #4, known as "The Italian." I was slightly surprised to find that I recognized the overture--just slightly, not very. I knew it was one of those that gets played fairly often, and figured I had probably heard it on the radio somewhere along the way. I did not recognize the violin concerto, and I quite enjoyed it. I will no doubt seek it out again. The violinist was Bella... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2021 at Light On Dark Water
I recently read Vows, the title given by translator Tiina Nunnally to the first book in the tetralogy previously known as The Master of Hestviken, called in the new translation simply by the name of the main character, Olav Audunsson. From the book's brief Wikipedia entry it's not clear to me whether Undset gave titles to the individual books, but apparently the English translators and publishers have felt free to choose their own. I will say that the new title of the tetralogy seems more fitting than the old; if nothing else it makes for an appropriate juxtaposition with Kristin... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2021 at Light On Dark Water
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Anybody seen this? I'd been hearing about it-it's very popular right now--and watched an episode out of curiosity, slightly against my better judgment. Should've listened to my better judgment, because of course once I got to a certain point I wanted to see what was going to happen. And then I was sorry. It's a sort of variation on the gladiatorial game concept, or the Hunger Games concept. It's equal parts violent and creepy-weird, the sort of thing that makes you feel a little polluted for having watched it. Strongly not recommended. Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2021 at Light On Dark Water
Kompakt is a German electronica label which I think is mainly oriented toward the types of music that those of us who aren't into them lump together as "techno." EDM, for "electronic dance music," is the preferred term, I think. Whatever you call it there are actually quite a number of sub-genres; see this Wikipedia article if you want to know more, and note that it includes links to information on sub-sub-genres. Do you know the difference between house and trance? I don't, even though I once read a few paragraphs of a music producer complaining, and illustrating his complaint... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2021 at Light On Dark Water
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I went to a traditional Latin Mass last Sunday. Three observations: (1) I prefer the Novus Ordo (assuming no gross abuses thereof). (2) Of the roughly 50 people who were there, by far the majority were no older than 40-ish. (3) Traditiones Custodes was a mistake. I've done my share of griping about the liturgy over the years. But really I'm content with my suburban parish and its Novus Ordo Mass. The one I normally attend has a "folk," actually pop, band, and though it's not my choice of music they do it well. More importantly, I very much agree... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2021 at Light On Dark Water
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I thought I had posted this picture before, but if so I can't find it. Happy All Hallows' Eve and All Saints' Day. Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2021 at Light On Dark Water
I read the other day on an Ordinariate forum that Church of England Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali has been received into the Catholic Church. Well, that's nice, I thought, but that was about the extent of my reaction. These crossovers happen now and again and are of course always welcome, but they are few and don't generally have a great deal of larger significance; they don't represent a broad trend. But then I actually read one of the posted articles, and found that it's more significant than I thought. I was vaguely aware of Nazir-Ali's name and that he was somehow... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2021 at Light On Dark Water
...but haven't, and/or if you like film noir, you might want to consider subscribing now. See this for their November new arrivals, which feature a lot of noir, including many with Robert Mitchum, who's the star (along with Jane Greer) of my favorite in this genre, Out of the Past. I wrote about it in the 52 Movies series. Also among the new arrivals is Thunder Road, which appeared to be available on Netflix back when I first subscribed, when it was all or mostly DVDs by mail. I put on my list but it soon went into the "Saved"... Continue reading
Posted Oct 27, 2021 at Light On Dark Water
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By an appropriate coincidence, on the same day that I did that last post the new issue of The Lamp arrived. It includes an essay of mine which discusses the development of the counter-culture of the 1960s toward the current culture war, and the post reiterates a point made in that piece: The essential feature of the youth rebellion of the Sixties is that it arrived at the point at which the simultaneous decline of Christian culture and the rise of secular materialism produced a mass movement which was in fact a new ersatz cultus, the Great Awakening of a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2021 at Light On Dark Water
The end of the Cold War three decades ago followed by the terror attacks in 2001 should have ushered in an era of consensus and low-intensity politics in the United States. That was the expectation at the time—but it turned out to be wrong. Over the past few decades Americans have turned on themselves, dividing into hostile tribes and parties with little common ground to hold the national enterprise together. As a result, as many now agree, the United States finds itself more polarized and divided over politics than at any time since the 1850s. But today, in contrast to... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2021 at Light On Dark Water
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A few days ago I was looking for a CD to play while I was doing some not-very-demanding software work--something more or less in the ambient vein, not too insistent on attention. I noticed this one, which I hadn't heard for quite some time, put it on, and very quickly wondered why I even had it. The first couple of tracks are a sort of slick rock-jazz-new-age-world-music hybrid and I started thinking that I should get rid of it. Toward the end it got better, and finally with this track I remembered why I had bought it in the first... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2021 at Light On Dark Water
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...it probably should. This of course is from the Department of Homeland Security. I cringed when the Bush administration created DHS. Apart from its ominous name, it seemed an admission that the Department of Defense is not primarily about defense, and that the existing law enforcement and intelligence agencies weren't up to the job. Now that the Washington establishment, with help from some Trump followers, is trying to make the case that right-wing "extremists" pose a major threat to the nation, this kind of thing is more unsettling than ever. Even parents yelling at school boards, when the complainers are... Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2021 at Light On Dark Water
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Benjamin Britten: Serenade for Tenor Solo, Horn, and Strings, Op 21; Les Illuminations for Tenor Solo and Strings, Op. 18. Peter Pears, tenor; Dennis Brain, horn; The New Symphony Orchestra conducted by Eugene Goosens. London LL 994 Clearly, the use of the word "perfect" requires some justification and explanation. What I mean is that this is great music, performed and recorded in such a way that I can't really imagine it done better. If you don't care for Britten's music, or for these particular pieces, then obviously this can't be considered a perfect recording. But I do like the music,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2021 at Light On Dark Water
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This was another one of those unplanned reading detours that I mentioned earlier. I went to the shelf intending to re-read Dostoevsky's Demons (the novel formerly known as The Possessed), maybe in the old Constance Garnett translation, since my previous reading was the newer one. I'd been thinking of re-reading it, although it hasn't been that long since the last time, because of its relevance to what's going on politically and culturally now. But for reasons unknown I found myself hesitating and thinking instead of Henry James, and that I would really like to read one of his full-length novels;... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2021 at Light On Dark Water
This was mentioned in a weekly Friday Reflection from Touchstone. I had no idea the search had begun so early: It began in concept as early as 1896 when Nikola Tesla suggested wireless electrical transmission to contact Martians. In 1899, he thought he had detected a signal from Mars—so he was listening. In 1924, an attempt to listen for Martians from the U. S. Naval Observatory was assisted by Admiral Eberle, chief of Naval Operations: a “National Radio Silence Day” was promoted with radios going silent for five minutes on the hour for 36 hours while a radio receiver in... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2021 at Light On Dark Water
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I feel like I should like Dashiell Hammett more than I do. Back in the '70s sometime I discovered Raymond Chandler and pretty much fell in love with the kind of detective story that he wrote: "hard-boiled," but with a vividly poetic streak. And I expected to like Dashiell Hammett just as much. I think I had already seen the famous movie of The Maltese Falcon, and one of the Nick and Nora Charles "Thin Man" movies. I suppose I was thinking that Hammett would be much like Chandler, and very much in the Humphrey Bogart, film noir style of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 25, 2021 at Light On Dark Water
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I'm actually not a grammar martinet, although it may sometimes seem that way. I've never paid a lot of attention to rules of grammar, not in the sense of being able to state them, and talk of verb tenses and such usually confuses me. It's just a matter of what sounds right or wrong, very much like hearing the right or wrong notes in music (leaving out the case where the "wrong" one is deliberately used, or the whole idea of wrongness is being subverted). Certain grammatical errors give me something like the pain of hearing a bad mistake in... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2021 at Light On Dark Water
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When I watched the series I was so struck by this segment that I went looking for the soundtrack. It's called "New Queen," with apparently semi-ironic intent, since it occurs at the end of Series 3, Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee. I absolutely love that piece. I just wish it went on longer. There are other good things in the soundtrack but nothing grabbed me as much as this. Here's the whole scene. I take it for granted that the series gives a picture in some ways false, but whatever might be said along that line, Olivia Colman's performance as Elizabeth is... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2021 at Light On Dark Water
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My attempts to impose some kind of order and method on my reading never last, and the reason is usually that some stray impulse seizes me and I pick up a book that was not in line to be read, sometimes not even toward the end of that line but rather in the "someday" or even the "maybe someday" category. This book was one of those. I don't even remember why I picked it up, except that it was lying conspicuosly on the shelf out of place and on top of a stack. Probably I was looking for another book... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2021 at Light On Dark Water
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From a comment at Rod Dreher's blog: "Throughout human history....people have gone stark raven mad or crazy." I like that. I had a post about that kind of thing not so very long ago--not craziness, I mean, but the phenomenon where someone substitutes for a word that was really part of a saying or idiom another that sounds like it, as in "tow the line." Though this one may just be an erroneous auto-correct that slipped by. Anyway, it's a rather striking image. Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2021 at Light On Dark Water
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