Monthly Archives: December 2020

Roger W. Smith, “Leo Durocher”; “Wesley Branch Rickey”


Leo Durocher – Notable Sports Figures

Branch Rickey – Notable Sports Figures


I am reposting here two articles (downloadable Word files above) I wrote in 2004 for Notable Sports Figures (published by the educational publishing company Gale) about two Hall of Fame baseball figures, Leo (The Lip) Durocher and Branch Rickey.

The word limit was very strict — 3,500 words — and both articles came in at almost exactly that length. Published authors writing for hire (for, say, newspapers or reference books) know how it can be a challenge to cover the topic and write prose that reads well while adhering to such a limit. The amount of research I did was extensive. People don’t usually realize or appreciate how much spade work goes into such a piece.


— Roger W. Smith

   December 2020




This track contains mezzo-soprano Dame Janet Baker’s performance of the aria “When I Am Laid In My Grave” (also known as Dido’s lament) from Henry Purcell’s opera Dido and Aeneas.

It was on  side 2 of a precious LP that I purchased in a Manhattan record store in the 1970s: of a groundbreaking performance conducted by Anthony Lewis (made in the 1950s) of Purcell’s opera.

I don’t think I have ever heard a more beautiful aria. Purcell’s death, at the age 36,  was a tragic loss — speaking in general terms, to music.


— Roger W. Smith

   December 2020

new coauthored article on Sorokin


‘Special Considerations in Translating Pitirim Sorokin’s Work’

‘Special Considerations in Translating Pitirim Sorokin’s Work’

Downloadable documents above.


Special considerations in translating Pitirim Sorokin’s work “City and country” (Prague, 1923)

By Natalia S. Sergieva and Roger W. Smith

филологические науки

Международный научный журнал

№ 6 Часть 2

Ноябрь 2020

(Philological Sciences, International Scientific Journal, No. 6, Part 2, November 2020)

pp.  227-232


— posted by Roger W. Smith

   December 2020

new vocabulary IV




new vocabulary words – December 2020



See attached downloadable Word document, above. It is my ongoing “diary” of words looked up during the past year. It shows that new vocabulary is acquired solely by READING.


— Roger W. Smith

   December 2020




See also my posts:


new vocabulary III


vocabulary redux

thoughts about Beethoven



5 Minutes That Will Make You Love Beethoven

The New York Times

December 2, 2000


My younger brother alerted me and our siblings to this New York Times article, and asked us to pick a favorite among the Beethoven pieces discussed. The following is the text of an email of mine in reply to my brother.

— Roger W. Smith

    December 2020



Thanks for sharing and alerting me to this Times article. I find such articles sort of silly, usually. But, here are my favorites.



Weston Sprott

The “incredible transition” into the work’s final movement (between the third and fourth movements) of Beethoven’s Fifth. Yes, incredible. It never fails to thrill me. It’s brilliant and overpowering.


Steve Reich

Slow (third) movement of the A minor String Quartet (Op. 132). Yes, so profoundly. Plumbs spiritual and emotional depths. I got to know the Late Quartets in my senior year in college. They were a revelation.


Patricia Morrisroe

“Moonlight” Sonata, third movement. The “Moonlight’ sonata was one of the first Beethoven piano sonatas I got to know, in my senior year in high school and, mostly, during the summer of 1964, when I listened to it countless times.


Paul Lewis

The first movement of the piano sonata Opus 78. For some reason, I got to know this sonata only rather recently. This movement is one of my absolute favorites among the piano sonatas. A brilliant opening. Is enchanting the right word?


Seth Colter Walls

The second movement of the Seventh Symphony. I became familiar with all the Beethoven symphonies quite early, in my teens. I probably did not really get to know the Seventh until my freshman year in college (thanks in large part to the portable stereo that Mom and Dad gave me as a high school graduation present). When I first heard the seventh symphony, I found the second movement haunting, and still do. Like a lot of great Beethoven music, great passages, it is unique. He seems to be always original. Which is why he never tires (I should say, to be grammatically correct, never tires the listener).


Toynbee and Gibbon


In London [in 1919], in the southern section of the Buckingham Palace Road, walking southward along the pavement skirting the west wall of Victoria Station, the writer, once, one afternoon not long after the end of the First World War–he had failed to record the exact date–had found himself in communion, not just with this or that episode in History, but with all that had been, and was, and was to come. In that instant he was directly aware of the passage of History gently flowing through him in a mighty current, and of his own life welling like a wave in the flow of this vast tide …. An instant later, the communion had ceased, and the dreamer was back again in the every-day cockney world.

— Arnold J. Toynbee, A Study of History


It was at Rome, on the 15th of October 1764, as I sat musing amidst the ruins of the Capitol, while the bare-footed fryars were singing vespers in the temple of Jupiter, that the idea of writing the decline and fall of the city first started to my mind. But my original plan was circumscribed to the decay of the city rather than of the empire: and though my reading and reflections began to point towards that object, some years elapsed, and several avocations intervened, before I was seriously engaged in the execution of that laborious work.

— Edward Gibbon, Memoirs of My Life and Writings


— posted by Roger W. Smith

  December 2020