Lost Among Europeans

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Musings–one of many

In my last blog post I explained why I was going to start writing to keep track of what I read or otherwise consume.

Lately I’ve been low energy. Perhaps the spring, or perhaps having begun to run regularly, and with a running club that is pushing me to run hard.

Some things I’ve learned:

Old men looking back

A reference in Twitter mentioned Donald Hall, who had just died. The reference itself was not important, but I read this beautiful article Hall wrote for The New Yorker: Between Solitude and Loneliness.

It’s plainly written. He drops the word “fuck” nonchalantly. He doesn’t seek sympathy, and is talking very plainly about being alone. Not in the same style, but it reminds me a bit of Norman Maclean, writing of his days of youth simply, with sensitivity but not over-emotionality. This seems to be a genre I enjoy.


Recently, and again I don’t remember how, I saw this twitter feed from an agricultural scientist, Sarah Taber, talking about the sustainability of veganism vs. meat consumption. This is an area I know nothing about, but one I find interesting. I would have not known where to begin.

Her point is that vegetarianism, to be sustainable, depends on a supply of certain edible nutritious plants that consume lots of water. A field devoted to such plants feeds more humans than the same extension devoted to cattle, but consumes 1000 times as much water. So, from a sustainability point of view, it makes sense that populations in dry areas raise ruminants. This is the link to the thread.


Now and then I try to widen my knowledge of movie classics. Years ago I had watched Ozu’s Tokyo Story, considered one of the best movies ever, perhaps even the best. I had not been that impressed with it, but recently I decided to give Ozu another shot, and saw Late Spring, also a perennial favorite. And what a brilliant movie it is!

I’ve watched it a few times, and have bought the DVD for my collection. I also loved Ozu’s Early Summer — like Late Spring, with the great Setsuko Hara torn between fulfilling her family’s expectations and being true to herself.

The other Ozu films I’ve seen (Floating Weeds, Good Morning), while estimable, are in my view, nowhere close to Summer and Spring.

I’ve also explored more of Kurosawa, and I have to say, I don’t get why he’s so revered. Ran, Seven Samurai, Rashomon, are all at once boring and over-emotional to me.

Shorter bits