Monday, May 31, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
The operative word is could.When hunters arrived in North America and drove mammoths and other large mammals to extinction, the methane balance of the atmosphere could have changed as a result, triggering the global cool spell that followed.
"It is conceivable that this drop in methane contributed to the Younger Dryas cooling episode," says Smith.
See also Hopper Lives. (The Iggy Pop bit reminds me of what Dock Elllis said when asked how he could have pitched a no-hitter on acid: "Wasn't easy." And, speaking of pitchers, congratulations to Roy Halladay.)
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Amyway, blogging will reflect the holiday irregularities.
Friday, May 28, 2010
The question, I suppose, is who is facing reality more honestly, those who spurn or those who embrace sentiment?
The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life. To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.- Walker Percy, born on this date in 1916
Thursday, May 27, 2010
I'm not sure about whether or not dogs (or cats) can reason. When I found my late cat Pandora, she was a kitten and I was house-sitting for a friend who was a ballet director. In the living room of his house was a large ballet mirror. One day, soon after she moved in, Pandora noticed a cat image in the mirror. She scratched at the glass with her paw, then went into the next room (the door to which was right beside the mirror) to determine if the cat she saw was in the other room. Having determined that whatever it was she was seeing was no real cat, she never looked in the mirror again. Seemed pretty reasonable to me.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
I find the world monstrous. Just in the news, that Israel won't let eight Palestinian Fulbrights — and the way the United States has cravenly rolled over and let Israel dictate whether these eight scholars, high-minded people, can't even get out of that horrible place in Gaza to come to the United States to be Fulbrights — that's the kind of thing I'm attacking. That's the kind of pain I'm inflicting. That's the kind of no-punch-pulling, unsparing, pitiless, even cruel attitude that I try to launch in the book.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
"Flarf is a hip, digital reaction to the kind of boring, genteel poetry" popular with everyday readers, says Marjorie Perloff, a poetry critic and professor emeritus of English at Stanford University. "You used to find it only in alternative spaces, but it has now moved into the art mainstream."
Professors emeriti, however, are not usually the best judges of hip.
As philosopher Edward Skidelsky of the University of Exeter, UK, has argued, crying denialism is a form of ad hominem argument: "the aim is not so much to refute your opponent as to discredit his motives". The expanding deployment of the concept, he argues, threatens to reverse one of the great achievements of the Enlightenment - "the liberation of historical and scientific inquiry from dogma".
Monday, May 24, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
By readers, I don't mean people who pick up a book, once in a while. By readers, I mean people who when they are at work during the day think that after dinner tonight and after the kids are in bed, I'm going to read for two hours. That's what I mean. No. 2, these people do it three or four nights a week for two and half, three hours, and while they do it they don't watch television or answer the phone.'
Lynne says that's the kind of reader she is and suspects I am. Well, that's me all right. Between 8 and 11 most nights, anyway.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
The answer lies in a new idea, borrowed from economics, known as collective intelligence: the notion that what determines the inventiveness and rate of cultural change of a population is the amount of interaction between individuals. Even as it explains very old patterns in prehistory, this idea holds out hope that the human race will prosper mightily in the years ahead—because ideas are having sex with each other as never before.
Is it really the answer, or just a proposed answer couched in terms of a popular frame of reference?
Friday, May 21, 2010
Ironstone Sculpture Garden
This 4.5 acre sculpture garden, with its wild grasses, trees and shrubs features works by Daniel Gantenbein, Mitsuo Kikuchi, Casey Schwarz, and David Tothero.
218 Commissioners Pike, Woodstown, NJ 08098.
More here: In rural Alloway, sculpture blooms.
And what's fascinating in The Ten Thousand Things is that although there's time, an inexorable time of the three generations of lives, actively present, but place is the time, time doesn't really have to do with simply the human experience of it.- Robert Creeley, born on this date in 1926
Thursday, May 20, 2010
The best Norwegian novelist alive today, the great Torgny Lindgren, is a Catholic. Come on, Lars. Come on over to Rome. (Just kidding.)
I'm not sure, but is Bennett a convert? That could explain why he didn't know who Undset was.
Today we don’t share the kiss of peace, but shake hands. It seems sensible, less challenging. But it’s less free too, and perhaps it risks one of the subtle perversions of Christianity that exercised Illich. For a handshake holds the other at a distance. We can see their eyes, and so assess them. It’s a calculated greeting – not acting freely towards another, but only insofar as is appropriate. It wasn’t the greeting of the good Samaritan.
There is a merchant on Ninth Street. His name is Sol. He is, I believe, from Sierra Leone. When we meet each other, we often embrace. I call him my friend, he calls me his brother. I feel honored to know him.
It will be interesting to see how widely broadcast this is.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Of course, what do you expect? It's Fox News.
Some of the statements recorded herein don't strike me as very serious at all.
This is an extraordinarily good piece. I especially liked this:
The literary critic Frank Kermode, in “The Genesis of Secrecy” (1979), a pioneering attempt to read Mark seriously as poetic literature, made a similar point, though his is less historical than interpretative. Kermode considers Mark to be, as the French would say, a text that reads itself: the secret it contains is that its central figure is keeping a secret that we can never really get. It is an intentionally open-ended story, prematurely closed, a mystery without a single solution.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Frank Wilson is correct in that the U.S. Postal Service is nearing $15 billion in borrowing ("A man who put his stamp on postal bargains," May 9). However, the Postal Service has no unfunded pension obligation; in fact, the Postal Service has $38 million in its future retirees' health fund.
Wilson tries to suggest that private mail companies are the future. But in his article he points out that Lysander Spooner, who in the 1840s started his own private company, delivered mail only in certain areas. There was no universal service.Whom do you want delivering your mail: the most trusted organization of the government, or a private company based on profit, not service? It will deliver to Wall Street, and forget about Main Street.
USPS employees know of the economic problems . But we think we should expand on a network that touches every American, instead of having a doomsday outlook.
I wrote to Mr. Smith to point out that what my article said about the unfunded pension obligation was taken from the GAO report that I referenced. He then sent me his entire letter and I asked him if I could post it here, because I think people should read his full response. He gave me permission, and here it is:
In response to Frank Wilson's fine column about Lysander Spooner(Aman who put his stamp on postal
bargains)Mr Wilson is correct in that the postal service is nearing the 15 billion in borrowing . However the postal service has no unfunded pension obligation, in fact the postal service has 38 million in future retirees health fund.
Under the 2006 postal reform the USPS has to pre fund future retirees health benefits 5.6 billion annually. Last year a last minute bill (HR 22) reduced the payment by 4 billion, this annual payment requires prefunding 80 %
of a 75 year liabiliity in 10 years. No other organization or company has this obligation. Also postal servive pay 7% annually for future health care most companies pay 5%.
Due to unfair calculations of CSRS postal payment to Treasury Department dating back to July 1, 1971(postal
reorganizationact). A OIG report has stated the USPS overpaid the CSRS account by 75 billion.
A fix of either one of these issues and the postal service would be in the black. Mr Wilson quotes Mr. Spooner
that no man shall be taxed to carry civilization to him.
The postal service is off budget and all liabilities are paid by postage.
Mr Wilson seems to make a point that private mail companies are the future. But in the article he makes a reference that would be the reason this is not a good idea. Mr Spooner started his private company only delivery
in certain areas (no universal service).
Who do you want delivering your mail ?
Your USPS letter carrier the most trusted organization of the government or a private company who will work on profit not service, deliver Wall Street and forget about Main Street.
USPS employees know of the economic problems. But we think we should expand on a network that touches every American, instead of looking at a doomsday outlook, already the 238 billion 10 year short fall outlook has been flawed.
And don't miss Dumb Things Said By Philosophers 2.
All seem interesting, many are obviously debatable, but no less interesting for that. A sample:
This is a kind of corollary to Jacques Brel's explanation of why he never wrote love songs - that love can be faked, but tenderness cannot.
Hatred is much harder to fake than love. You hear of fake love; never of fake hate.
The topical subject matter and contemporary habitats of Prose’s later work have confused many critics, who continually stumble into the error of describing it as “satirical.” Michiko Kakutani started the habit of getting it wrong, remarking in the New York Times that Primitive People “veers sharply between sentiment and satire.” Little in Prose, though, is the stuff of satire, and there is even less sentiment.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Amazing how much of an inherited aristocracy the literary world has become. Adam Begley is the son of Louis Begley. Then there's Martin Amis, of course. I could go on. The Victorians' progeny do not in general seem to have taken up their writing parents' trade. Something to think about.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
The true aim of the humanities is to prepare citizens for exercising their freedom responsibly.
The aim of such an education is to prepare one for leading a fully human life, and such a life is not possible unless one is free
Friday, May 14, 2010
I like this: "Dahlberg’s refreshing refusal to demarcate a writer’s life and work will infuriate born-again New Critics, but so be it. Common readers have no such scruples."
I found Dahlberg off-putting when I read him in college. Will have to take another look.
... wisdom may come from just the right balance between our more primitive brain regions and our more recently developed brain functions like the pre-frontal cortex.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Oh, this terrible second me, always seated whilst the other is on foot, acting, living, suffering, bestirring itself. This second me that I have never been able to intoxicate, to make shed tears, or put to sleep. And how it sees into things, and how it mocks!- Alphonse Daudet, born on this date in 1840
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
This is something I feel I have to work through - and not just think about. I am not even sure how one goes about doing that, though I may have had some sense of it lately when I have been absorbed in doing things - working in the garden or cooking. These have seemed to me simply more vital than anything I have thought or written - and most of what I have read.
Here is something else from Krishnamurti: "Truth cannot be invited. It must come to you. To search for truth is to deny truth. It comes into being when you are open, when you are completely without any barrier, when the mind is no longer creating. It comes into being when the mind is still."
The upshot is that posting here over the next few days will be sporadic at best. Surely someone who has reached my age ought to be concerned principally with being authentic - though those are only words expressing only thoughts, precisely what it seem one must get beyond.
For Nietzsche, “scientism”—the belief that the modern scientific method is the only avenue of truth, one capable of providing moral truth or moral meaning—is the worst dogmatism yet, and the most pathetic of all metaphysical nostalgias. And it is, in his view, precisely men like the New Atheists, clinging as they do to those tenuous vestiges of Christian morality that they have absurdly denominated “humanism,” who shelter themselves in caves and venerate shadows. As they do not understand the past, or the nature of the spiritual revolution that has come and now gone for Western humanity, so they cannot begin to understand the peril of the future.
I'm presuming this is the same show that was at the Rubin Museum in Manhattan that Debbie and I saw. Also I think there's a typo in this article: Septem Sermones ad Mortuos translates as Seven Sermons to the Dead. They're appended to one of the books of his that I read years ago (maybe Memories, Dreams, Reflections).
I am reading The Red Book. It is unquestionably fascinating.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
The post links to this interview with Woody Allen, which I think is fascinating: Whatever Works.
See also: A warrior's farewell.
But why would one want spend one's vacation doing that?"You are more than just sleeping there – you are looking around and learning about modern architecture."
What does the location of Derek Jarman's house got to do with this?... a tar-black house with a concrete and timber interior on the shingle beach of Dungeness in Kent, which will be near the home of the late film-maker Derek Jarman.
... the award-winning Swiss minimalist Peter Zumthor, whose buildings are said to echo, in architectural terms, the writings of Martin Heidegger, the German philosopher.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Heidegger undoubtedly inspires violent passions: he was a National Socialist, and what's worse, he never admitted he was wrong about his political alignment. But according to Michael Dummett, the great logician Gottlob Frege was an anti-Semite. (Dummett says this in either the preface or the introduction to Frege: The Philosophy of Language. ) Now will you ignore Frege's seminal teachings because of his alleged anti-Semitism? That would be senseless. And let's not forget that the later Jean-Paul Sartre was not just a Commie, but a Stalinist. Should Critique of Dialectical Reason be dismissed as hate speech? Should we deny Sartre the title 'philosopher' and re-classify him as a Commie ideologue? Of course not. And please no double standard. Why is being a Nazi worse than being a Stalinist? Why is murdering people because of their ethnic affiliation worse than murdering people because of their class affiliation?
Whatever variety evolution brings forth ... Every new dimension of world-response ... means another modality for God's trying out his hidden essence and discovering himself through the surprises of world-adventure ....- Hans Jonas , born on this date in 1903
Sunday, May 09, 2010
... London is still the best city in the world for exhibitions. One of those that I went to was that of the work of Paul Sandby, at the Royal Academy. I was astonished at the picture of Nottingham Market Square in the 1740s: a grand, elegant and even magnificent urban space. How did they do it without town planners? Go to Nottingham now and it is like having your retinas scoured by wire wool.
... to insert God into the causal chain is a category mistake and, in fact, technically a blasphemy. It implies that God is one more thing along with all the other things in the universe. You're not dealing with divinity there, but an idol.
Mark's conclusion echoes my own view that the problem with ID theory is its notion of God as some everlasting Edison puttering about in his celestial laboratory tinkering with the wombats.
Related thoughts here.