The strange death of Margaret Fuller

The Library of America

The American Literary Blog notes that July 19th marks 160 years since the bizarre turn of events that led to the death of critic/editor/reformer/feminist/poet/travel-writer Margaret Fuller. During her return voyage from a three-year sojourn in Italy, the captain of her ship died of smallpox.

The inexperienced first mate who took charge ran the ship aground in a storm just 100 yards off Fire Island. Fuller, her husband Marchese Giovanni Angelo d’Osso, and their one-year-old son all drowned before they could be rescued. Their bodies were never recovered, nor was the manuscript on the Italian revolution she was carrying with her.

In his 1846 essay, “The Literati of New York,” Edgar Allan Poe offered a brief portrait of Margaret Fuller, “the personal woman”:

She is of the medium height; nothing remarkable about the figure; a profusion of lustrous light hair; eyes a bluish gray, full of fire; capacious forehead; the mouth when in repose indicates profound sensibility, capacity for affection, for love — when moved by a slight smile, it becomes even beautiful in the intensity of this expression; but the upper lip, as if impelled by the action of involuntary muscles, habitually uplifts itself, conveying the impression of a sneer.

Imagine, now, a person of this description looking you at one moment earnestly in the face, at the next seeming to look only within her own spirit or at the wall; moving nervously every now and then in her chair; speaking in a high key, but musically, deliberately, (not hurriedly or loudly,) with a delicious distinctness of enunciation — speaking . . . and emphasizing the words . . . not by impulsion of the breath, (as is usual,) but by drawing them out as long as possible, nearly closing her eyes the while — imagine all this, and we have both the woman and the authoress before us.

This essay also appears in Edgar Allan Poe: Essays and Reviews.


Señor Del Bosque

Humble, loving, and sarcastic, the coach has given Spain’s greatest joy football history without raising his voice or the twist of the mustache

EL PAÍS – LUIS MARTÍN – Madrid (English Translation)

Toni Grande Vicente Del Bosque says he’s a very humble, loving, intelligent, cunning and genius: “Not likely, but has very bad temper.” Grande, as well as a very authentic, is the right hand of Del Bosque in the selection as it was before in Madrid. Few, except for Trini, the wife of coach Salamanca, can speak more authoritatively on the coach who led Spain to win the championship. They are friends for years, and have taken a thousand cubits by the old city of Madrid sports, especially in the Fontona.

Del Bosque has a reputation for successful and would be contradictory to deny seeing his resume and learning about his family, his true passion, maybe only comparable to the predilection he feels for what he calls “the seafood Salamanca”, that is, good sausage. But the fact remains that in his house as a child, not on a drive. “I had to football boots, shoes playing with could,” recalled long ago.

Del Bosque has always had a reputation for leading man, so he married well past 30 because as explained once, waiting for Trini, a woman in his life, with whom he has three children: Vincent, 23, 21 and Álvaro Gemma, 17. The coach was born in Salamanca in 1950 and the origins of the family would have to be found in Carpio del Campo, the heart of old Castile, full of railway. Vitorino Both his uncle who spent 51 years devoted to such work-like his father, Fermin, exercised the profession.

The father was ruined the career civil war was denounced and spent three years in a prison of Alava, bordered by a Republican. “He did nothing, but you know how were these things … it was where it was, he stated for the red and ended up in jail,” said the coach resigned, which house the files saved in the trial against his father. “I’m not as radical,” Del Bosque assumes, of progressive thought. Trini Also, his wife, whom he met in Madrid, is the daughter of rail. The coach had a younger brother named Fermin, who died of cancer at age 43, who dedicated the victory against Germany, just match played on 7 July, San Fermin.

Of the three sons of Del Bosque, there is one, Álvaro, the medium that changed his life. He was born on August 6, 1989 and Del Bosque, at the time, was coach of Castilla. A few days later, tests confirmed that Alvarito was born with Down syndrome. “At first I cried a lot,” confessed in a conversation with Gemma Smith published in the book 39 stories of solidarity around the sport. “Now when I look back I think: ‘that we were assholes.”

For Del Bosque and his friends, no doubt: Álvaro is a gift that gave them life. Yesterday, in La Moncloa, Alvarito donned a blue shirt with the number 6 Del Bosque. It changed shortly afterwards by a red 12 and before entering the palace was cast in a very emotional hug with his father, coach. Later he was seen joking with coach Xavi uploaded to the champions. “My son is happy and spread happiness. It’s rogue, but do not know what is evil,” he explains proudly. Del Bosque, convinced that things do not happen by chance, that when he was player of Madrid, each morning I visited in the locker room of the old city sports a child with the same condition that his son: “I do not remember the name, only was fun and we caught lots of love. I always played the mustache. “

They say that Alvaro is a lovely boy, but that does not mean that is very critical. When coach Del Bosque was Madrid, bitterly reproached him for Casillas to leave on the bench – “Hell, Alvarito, I’m missing you!” Replied the father-and before it closed the final list for the World Cup there was no day that does not insist that Guiza not forget. “He was very upset when he learned that he would not play the World Cup Jerez,” explain in the vicinity of Del Bosque. During his stay in South Africa, the youngest son went with the family for ten days, to witness two games of the first phase and the final, became defender of Llorente and Javi Martinez. The explanation is not soccer: he went on safari with the families of the Athletic players and they took care.

A Del Bosque is recognized as a type “strongly felt” in selection and say it has been the World Cup with a bitter taste: he would have liked to give more minutes to the theoretical alternates. The players recognize him as a person of dialogue and funny – “It’s not Luis, but also talks us laugh with his jokes – very football fan and quite thorough. “He likes to have lots of information,” he indicated his assistants. “It’s a little sponge, because he likes to collect many opinions. But in his decision is firm, they are often the product of long reflection” counted. That itself is fast on the bench: “He sees things very clear and active solutions with determination.”

Mentally say tension has been a month for Salamanca, which at any time anyone affected “the evil of the coach,” that often has affected their predecessors, filling them with irritability and paranoia to fit some criticism. Far from it, never been used as a conciliatory gesture to cope with the media, which has treated gently, from first to last day. Avid reader of newspapers, touch paper has supplied with the computer, but is one which starts the day with a coffee and the newspaper on the table. “He understands your work and is convinced that to make clear the doubts is good for everyone, not a task that gives laziness,” explain the Federation.

The players, who blanketed him after the final – “is not Guardiola, weighs a little more,” acknowledged one of the Barca players, “have that night in which Spain lost to Switzerland was knackered. “I was scared in case they attacked us,” says one player. “I am a perfectionist and I often stay with the ultimate feeling,” admitted Del Bosque. Although it costs him to lose the papers and rare is the day that you protest to the referee, suffers badly in the matches and the next morning or even the same night, often see them again. And often their views differ from the original. “Live the parties with a lot of tension.” None as the final when he attended a recital of faults of Netherlands and came to get into the field to protest the referee.

On Sunday, a medal around the neck of World Champion, attended the media in the press room, as mandated by FIFA, and passed through the mixed zone, where it has no obligation to reply, but stood with all those who required. “The image of a coach is that of a country,” he says. It was his first World Cup because he never played one as a player. In 1978 when he had Kubala, Zamora broke his leg in Atotxa. He never complained. His father always taught him to get up and walk, unfair to be stumbling. And step by step, has given Spain the greatest joy in football history, without raising his voice or the twist of his mustache.




Your Olive Oil May Not Be The Virgin It Claims

NPR – By Elaine Corn (Listen to the Story)

The next time you reach for a bottle of extra-virgin olive oil, beware. A new study from the University of California- Davis claims more than two-thirds of random samples of imported so-called extra-virgin olive oil don’t make the grade.

The Olive Oil Chemistry Lab overlooks many of the 2,000 olive trees on the Davis campus.

“It’s like we have our own CSI: Olive Oil lab here,” says chemist Charles Shoemaker, who manages the lab’s forensics.

To be extra-virgin, olive oil can’t be rancid or doctored with lesser oils. Shoemaker wasn’t all that surprised that many of the 14 major brands failed certain tests.

“It’s become a very sophisticated practice, the adulteration of olive oil throughout the world,” Shoemaker says. He says the lab can prove defects, degradation and dilution in olive oil beyond what human taste buds can figure out. The lab testing zeroes in on specific flaws.

“We do spectroscopic studies looking for oxidation,” he says. That means the oil’s old or spoiled. Shoemaker also tests fatty acids “to make sure the oil is all from olives and not from soybean, sunflower or other types of oil.”

No molecule can hide. Shoemaker revs up a small vacuum that removes solvents and isolates chlorophyll, which is always in oil made from green olives, but never in lesser-grade seed oil. As it sucks a sample, he’s patient.

“It takes about 25 minutes per sample to do just this one step,” he says.

The UC-Davis study was funded in part by the California Olive Oil Council. Oils were tested by some methods not yet recognized by international standards. For that reason, Bob Bauer of the North American Olive Oil Association, which represents importers, disputes the Davis study.

“It’s irresponsible to create the misperception that they’ve done based on unrecognized tests,” he says. “These results directly contradict our 20 years of more extensive sampling than what those results show.”

There’s never been a legal definition in the U.S. for any grade of olive oil, but mounting concern over truth-in-olive-oil-labeling has drawn in the USDA, and new American regulations will conform to international standards. Starting in October, olive oil from every olive oil-producing country, including America, will be subject to random sampling off retail shelves.

Related (PDF): The UC-Davis Olive Oil Report



Duvall, Nearly 80, Is Still a Darling of Hollywood

NYT – By JONAH WEINER

WHEN it came time to fill the lead role in “Get Low” — which embellishes the real-life story of a septuagenarian Tennessee hermit who gave his own “funeral party” in 1938 while still alive — the options weren’t plentiful for the people behind the film. The hermit, Felix Bush, is a worn-out man who has exiled himself to a cabin for four decades, haunted by a youthful trespass.

The object of nasty countywide gossip, Felix has a short fuse but comports himself with grizzled dignity. “It’s the kind of role where you want to blur the line between the legend and gravitas of the character and the legend and gravitas of the performer,” the film’s director, Aaron Schneider, said by phone. “Our list of actors was short: Our list was Robert Duvall.”

Next January Mr. Duvall will celebrate his 80th birthday. He has been a Hollywood actor for 48 years, having moved from stage to screen in 1962 as Boo Radley in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” He is among a handful of A-list actors who have neared or reached 80 while suffering little to no career slowdown. Clint Eastwood is 80. Michael Caine is 77. Morgan Freeman and Anthony Hopkins are both in their early 70s. With Gene Hackman, 80, retired, the list pretty much stops there.

Mr. Duvall’s longevity raises two intertwined questions. For one, what has he been doing right all these years? For another, is the end of his laws-of-Hollywood-physics-defying run in sight?

“It’s coming. It’s got to be,” Mr. Duvall said, addressing the second question over an Earl Grey tea at the Four Seasons hotel in Manhattan last Monday. (He’d also spoken by phone a few days earlier.) In town from Virginia, where he shares a 360-acre farm with his wife, two dogs and several horses, he wore black jeans, cowboy boots and a Texas Longhorns track jacket that hewed close to his barrel chest…

To answer the question of Mr. Duvall’s longevity, a good place to start is the range of characters he’s inhabited over the years. He began acting in the ’50s but was a Hollywood latecomer — he “arrived a fully formed actor,” said the British film critic Tom Shone, the author of “Blockbuster: How Hollywood Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Summer.”

Mr. Duvall rose to prominence in the ’70s alongside figures like Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro, who brought a new energy to the movies. They were not simply “movie stars, like Errol Flynn or Clark Gable,” said Bruce Beresford, who directed Mr. Duvall in 1983’s “Tender Mercies,” but also “superlative actors” who “became totally identified with whichever role they were playing.”

Mr. Duvall stood out in Robert Altman’s “Countdown” (1968) and George Lucas’s “THX 1138” (1971), but it was in Francis Ford Coppola’s “Godfather” (1972), playing cool-headed Corleone consigliere Tom Hagen, that he gave his first indelible performance. In 1979 he took a 180-degree turn and won raves playing two military men whose heads were about as cool as napalm: Bull Meechum in “The Great Santini” and Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore in “Apocalypse Now.” In “Apocalypse” Mr. Duvall’s performance “upset the moral tidiness of the film,” Mr. Shone said, complicating the “peacenik” proceedings “with this charismatic, full-throated, fantastic hawk.

Downshifting in “Tender Mercies,” Mr. Duvall won the best actor Oscar for his restrained portrayal of Mac Sledge, a down-and-out country singer whose inner storms roil beneath but never quite break through his wistful surface. In the years since, Mr. Duvall has played a hardboiled detective, a Texas preacher, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Stalin. What unites these performances, he said, is that, “Within each character, I like to find the contradictions. Even when I played Stalin, I tried to find a vulnerable point for that guy.”

Sissy Spacek said, “He embodies the character,” describing the experience of watching Mr. Duvall at work on “Get Low,” which opens Friday, and in which she has a supporting role. (Bill Murray co-stars as an undertaker.) “Every actor has their own process, but his is seamless. He just becomes.”

That aura of seamlessness results from a technique that balances intense preparation and spontaneity. After taking a role, Mr. Duvall does his homework. To play Mac Sledge he frequented honky-tonk bars and even sang with a makeshift country band. To inhabit Euliss Dewey, a Pentecostal preacher and heartfelt ham in “The Apostle” (1997), which Mr. Duvall also wrote and directed, he spent years visiting black churches. He marinates in such research but makes no firm decisions about how to play a part until cameras roll…



BP’s Deepwater Oil Spill – Bonnie’s Expected Impacts; Industry New Containment Plan

The Oil Drum – Posted by Gail the Actuary

With Tropical Depression Bonnie dissipating, the slow process of getting all of the boats back in place and workers back to work is now beginning. Much of the discussion at Admiral Allen’s press conference on Saturday, however, was about the expected impact of the Bonnie. NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco was present to explain the impacts. She indicated she expected a number of positive benefits of the storm:

  • It will spread the surface slick out and thereby lower oil concentrations.
  • It’s expected to break tar patches and tar mass into smaller tar balls which means faster weathering and faster natural biodegradation.
  • It will also cause more natural dispersion again lowing the concentration of oil in the water and making it more available to the natural bacteria that are in the water that do this natural biodegradation.
  • Some waves generated by Bonnie may act to flush the beaches and redistribute oil and tar balls that are on the beaches. Some of those tar balls may be dispersed, some may move back out to sea. In some cases, the beaches may look cleaner as a result of this redistribution.

Admiral Allen mentioned that it had been possible to keep two vessels on the scene, so they were able to be with the ROVs overnight. Thus, they were able to continue monitoring pressure readings. Pressure readings continue to slowly rise (6,891 psi at midnight last night), showing evidence of integrity at the well head…

Dr. Lubchenco wouldn’t quite go as far as say that she expected the storm to be a net benefit, though. She said it would depend on where you are. Some places might be better, but others might be worse. In some places, oil might be pushed farther inland, although with little storm surge, this would be a relatively smaller problem. The storm wouldn’t have any impact on the deep oil mixed with the water…


A Closer Look: A closer look at the Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa was painted on a poplar wood panel. The wood, cut from a single plank and bearing no traces of woodworking tools, is of exceptional quality. On the back there are traces of an edging paper having been scraped off. A crack eleven centimeters long was prevented from widening by two dovetails. After one of these disappeared, canvas was stuck over the crack to consolidate it. The picture, which is slightly warped, was strengthened with an oak frame in 1951.

Mona Lisa is wearing a very dark, severe dress with a pleated bodice, embroidered with interlacing forms in gold. The dress’s low neckline exposes her chest down to the top of her cleavage. She is wearing no jewelry. A scarf is hanging from her left shoulder and the yellow sleeves of her dress are rumpled into little folds. She is wearing a veil over her slightly tousled hair. Her attire is surprisingly sober compared to other costumes painted at the time.

We know nothing about the commissioning of the portrait, its painting and payment. One of the first biographies of Leonardo states that it was painted for Francesco del Giocondo and is the portrait of his wife, Mona Lisa, whose maiden name was Gherardini. The birth of their third child in 1502 and the acquisition of a house would have been ideal pretexts for commissioning the portrait.

Giorgio Vasari, painter and author of The Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, published in Florence, cites the portrait of Francesco del Giocondo’s wife and gives a legendary description based on the painting’s reputation.

“Leonardo undertook to paint for Francesco del Giocondo the portrait of Mona Lisa his wife, but having spent four years on it left it unfinished. This work is now the property of King Francis of France in Fontainebleau. In this head, whoever wished to see how closely art could imitate nature, was able to comprehend it with ease; for in it were counterfeited all the minutenesses that with subtlety are able to be painted, seeing that the eyes had that luster and watery sheen which are always seen in life, and around them were all those rosy and pearly tints, as well as the lashes, which cannot be represented without the greatest subtlety.

The eyebrows, through his having shown the manner in which the hairs spring from the flesh, here more close and here more scanty, and curve according to the pores of the skin, could not be more natural. The nose, with its beautiful nostrils, rosy and tender, appeared to be alive. The mouth, with its opening, and with its ends united by the red of the lips to the flesh-tints of the face, seemed, in truth, to be not colors but flesh. In the pit of the throat, if one gazed upon it intently, could be seen the beating of the pulse. And, indeed, it may be said that it was painted in such a manner as to make every valiant craftsman, be he who he may, tremble and lose heart.”



Humbled Haggard Climbs Back in Pulpit

WSJ – By STEPHANIE SIMON

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.— The Rev. Ted Haggard stood at a pulpit made from stacked buckets one recent Sunday and announced his resurrection.

Mr. Haggard was forced to resign nearly four years ago as president of the politically powerful National Association of Evangelicals and to step down from the megachurch he founded, after admitting that he had bought methamphetamine from, and had a sexual encounter with, a gay prostitute.

Once one of the most prominent church leaders in the U.S., Mr. Haggard confessed in a tortured letter, calling himself “a deceiver and a liar” who had long wrestled with desires he described as “repulsive and dark.” He signed a contract promising to follow a path laid out by fellow clergy: to find a new career in a new state and to stay away from pastoral work.

Then, his wife at his side, Mr. Haggard left town.

He is back now. In a move that thrilled some of his former flock—and alarmed some of his fellow evangelical Christians—Mr. Haggard and his wife Gayle recently launched a new church in their backyard barn, a few miles from the enormous campus of his old congregation.

In two months of preaching with sacks of fence-post concrete at his feet, Mr. Haggard, who is 54 years old, has built a congregation of nearly 200 people. His church, St. James, has outgrown the barn and this Sunday moves to a rented community center.

Ebullient as ever, bouncing with energy, Mr. Haggard said he is back doing what he was born to do.

“Tiger Woods needs to golf. Michael Vick needs to be playing football,” Mr. Haggard said as his new congregation joined him and Gayle in their backyard for a post-worship picnic. Little kids, shrieking with joy, splashed in the pool. Men grilled burgers. Women set out chicken salad. “Ted Haggard,” Mr. Haggard said, “needs to be leading a church.”

… Friends say Mr. Haggard has matured. “He has a humility of spirit and a recognition of how gripping sin can be in a person’s life,” said Paul DeVries, president of New York Divinity School, an evangelical seminary in Manhattan.

Many in his new congregation echo those words, saying they can relax and be their imperfect selves with Pastor Ted; there is no pressure to put on the facade of a model Christian. “People are not afraid to come forward with their pain,” said Linda Coates, 65, a retired teacher.

Mr. Haggard plays up his new regular-guy image. At the picnic, he asked a friend whether anyone noticed he had said “hell” in the sermon—and not in a Biblical context.

“I cuss now,” he said proudly. Mr. Haggard said he believes people trust him more as a pastor since his spectacularly public fall. Strangers, he said, keep pulling him aside, asking advice about their personal struggles.

“It’s amazing. People tell me everything,” Mr. Haggard said. “That never happened when we were respectable.”



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