Monday, March 31, 2003

Monday March 31, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:30 AM

Divine Right of Empire
and the

Corinne Alphen,

Sunday Lottery 

New York

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Winning number for the midday Empire State lottery:




Operation James

From The Glasgow Daily Record:
Monday, March 31, 2003 –
Simon Houston; Near Basra, Iraq

Commando raiders tightened the Allies’ grip on Basra yesterday by storming a key suburb of Iraq’s besieged second city.

The raid was named Operation James, after James Bond. Targets were codenamed Goldfinger, Blofeld and Pussy Galore.


Sunday, March 30, 2003

Winning number for the midday Keystone State Lottery:


All or Nothing at All” — Frank Sinatra

The PA lottery number on the night Sinatra died was 256.


Operation Playmate

From Yahoo News:

Friday, March 28, 2003 –

During the Gulf War, Playboy magazine’s celebrated Centerfolds reached out to U.S. military men and women… with their “Operation Playmate” project….

Those…  efforts… had their roots in the Vietnam War, when 1966 Playmate of the Year Jo Collins traveled to the combat zone and flew aboard a helicopter gunship….

Now, in light of the war in Iraq, “Operation Playmate” has returned. 

See also The Bhagavad Gita 10:36.

Saturday, March 29, 2003

Saturday March 29, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:26 AM

The Ideology of Empire and
Springtime for Vishnu

There has been much talk lately of the establishment of a new American Empire.  An empire needs an ideology. The Bush family, which has strong ties to various right-wing Christian organizations, may favor an ideology best described as “Christian Zionism.”  For an excellent overview of this ideology, see the following Christ Church website:

Christian Zionism:
Its History, Theology, and Politics

In view of the strong influence of Christian Zionism on the United States government, the following festival should perhaps be known as “Springtime for Jesus” —

The National Cherry Blossom Festival,
Washington, DC.

A Christian Zionist haiku
celebrating this festival:

Cherry blossoms bloom.
Sure, it’s beautiful, but
Is it good for the Jews?

Personally, I side with Henry David ThoreauAldous Huxley, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Andre Weil in preferring the Hindu Holy Scripture The Bhagavad-Gita to any Abrahamic religious text.

The Gita deals, at one level, with a particular incarnation of the Aryan god VishnuHoli 2003, a springtime festival associated with Vishnu, will be celebrated tonight in Carteret, New Jersey.

“The old Aryan god, Vishnu, was portrayed as coming to Earth periodically in the form of Krishna, the embodiment of Spring….”

The Classical Empires, a website of the University of Kansas at Lawrence, Kansas (final home of William S. Burroughs)

Burroughs fans at the University of Kansas
might appreciate the following website
related both to the classical Athenian Empire
and to Lawrence, Kansas:

Politics of Hell.

Follow-up of Sunday, March 30, 2003:

See With God on His Side, by Garry Wills,
in the Sunday New York Times.

Friday, March 28, 2003

Friday March 28, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:16 AM

Bright Star

From a Spanish-English dictionary:

lucero m. morning or evening star: any bright star….

 Today is Reba McEntire’s birthday.

” ‘I know what it is you last saw,’ she said; ‘for that is also in my mind. Do not be afraid! But do not think that only by singing amid the trees, nor even by the slender arrows of elven-bows, is this land of Lothlórien maintained and defended against the Enemy. I say to you, Frodo, that even as I speak to you, I perceive the Dark Lord and know his mind, or all his mind that concerns the Elves. And he gropes ever to see me and my thought. But still the door is closed!’

      She lifted up her white arms, and spread out her hands towards the East in a gesture of rejection and denial. Eärendil, the Evening Star, most beloved of the Elves, shone clear above. So bright was it that the figure of the Elven-lady cast a dim shadow on the ground. Its ray glanced upon a ring about her finger; it glittered like polished gold overlaid with silver light, and a white stone in it twinkled as if the Even-star had come to rest upon her hand. Frodo gazed at the ring with awe; for suddenly it seemed to him that he understood. 

      ‘Yes’, she said, divining his thought, ‘it is not permitted to speak of it, and Elrond could not do so. But it cannot be hidden from the Ring-Bearer, and one who has seen the Eye. Verily it is in the land of Lórien upon the finger of Galadriel that one of the Three remains. This is Nenya, the Ring of Adamant, and I am its keeper.’ “

— J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Related material on telepathy:

Shining Forth and Naturalized Epistemology

Related material on rings, and another musical Reba:

Leonard Gillman interview, Part I and Part II

Gillman, a pianist, is co-author of Rings of Continuous Functions.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Thursday March 27, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:35 PM


war protesters, handcuffed together, blocked traffic near 47th Street and 5th Avenue in New York City Wednesday.  They chanted “Occupation is a Crime, Free Iraq and Palestine!”

Newsday, March 26, 2003

Forty-seventh Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues is known as the diamond district (or, in Buddhist parlance, “Diamond Way”).

“Is it safe?”
Sir Laurence Olivier, 1976

Monday, March 24, 2003

Monday March 24, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:52 PM

Orwell’s question, according to
an admirer of leftist Noam Chomsky:

“When so much of the BS is right out in the open,
why is it that we know so little about it?
Why don’t we see what’s right in front of our eyes?”

Deep Chomsky:
Lying, Truth-Telling,
and the Social Order

“First of all, I’d like to thank the Academy….”
— Quotation attributed to Plato

The New Yorker of March 31, 2003, discusses leftist academic Noam Chomsky.  The online edition provides a web page listing pro-Chomsky links.

Chomsky’s influence is based in part on the popularity of his half-baked theories on linguistics, starting in the 1950’s with “deep structure” and “transformational,” or “generative,” grammar.

Chomsky has abandoned many of his previous ideas and currently touts what he calls The Minimalist Program.

For some background on Chomsky’s recent linguistic notions, see the expository essay “Syntactic Theory,” by Elly van Gelderen of the Arizona State University English Department.  Van Gelderen lists her leftist political agenda on her “Other Interests” page.  Her department may serve as an example of how leftists have converted many English departments in American universities to propaganda factories.

Some attacks on Chomsky’s scholarship:

The Emperor’s New Linguistics

The New Grammarians’ Funeral

Beyond Chomsky

Could Chomsky Be Wrong? 

Forty-four Reasons Why the Chomskians Are Mistaken

Call for Papers, Chomsky 2003

Chomsky’s (Mis)Understanding of Human Thinking

Anatomy of a Revolution… Chomsky in 1962

…Linguistic Theory: The Rationality of Noam Chomsky

A Bibliography

Some attacks on Chomsky’s propaganda:

LeftWatch.com Chomsky page

Destructive Generation excerpt

The Sick Mind of Noam Chomsky

Partners in Hate: Noam Chomsky and the Holocaust Deniers

Chomsky and Plato’s Diamond

Like another purveyor of leftist nonsense, Jacques Derrida, Chomsky is fond of citing Plato as a precedent.  In particular, what Chomsky calls “Plato’s problem” is discussed in Plato’s Meno.  For a look at the diamond figure that plays a central role in that dialogue, see Diamond Theory.  For an excellent overview of related material in Plato, see Theory of Forms.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Saturday March 22, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:00 PM

    Gangs of New York:

Remember Me to Herald Square…

Friday, March 21, 2003

Friday March 21, 2003

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:29 AM


Readings for Bach’s Birthday

Larry J. Solomon:


Symmetry as a Compositional Determinant,
Chapter VIII: New Transformations

In Solomon’s work, a sequence of notes is represented as a set of positions within a Latin square:

Transformations of the Latin square correspond to transformations of the musical notes.  For related material, see The Glass Bead Game, by Hermann Hesse, and Charles Cameron’s sites on the Game.

Steven H. Cullinane:

Orthogonal Latin Squares as Skew Lines, and

Map Systems

Dorothy Sayers:

“The function of imaginative speech is not to prove, but to create–to discover new similarities, and to arrange them to form new entities, to build new self-consistent worlds out of the universe of undifferentiated mind-stuff.” (Christian Letters to a Post-Christian World, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1969, p. xiii)

— Quoted by Timothy A. Smith, “Intentionality and Meaningfulness in Bach’s Cyclical Works

Edward Sapir:

“…linguistics has also that profoundly serene and satisfying quality which inheres in mathematics and in music and which may be described as the creation out of simple elements of a self-contained universe of forms.  Linguistics has neither the sweep nor the instrumental power of mathematics, nor has it the universal aesthetic appeal of music.  But under its crabbed, technical, appearance there lies hidden the same classical spirit, the same freedom in restraint, which animates mathematics and music at their purest.”

 “The Grammarian and his Language,”
American Mercury 1:149-155, 1924

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Wednesday March 19, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 4:04 AM


  A Look at the Rat

In memory of Herbert Aptheker, theoretician of the American Communist Party, who died on St. Patrick’s Day, 2003 —

From The New Yorker, issue dated March 24, 2003, Louis Menand on Edmund Wilson’s To the Finland Station:

“Wilson did know what was going on in the Soviet Union in the nineteen-thirties, as his pages on Stalin in To the Finland Station make clear. The problem wasn’t with Stalin; the problem was with Lenin, the book’s ideal type of the intellectual as man of action. Wilson admitted that he had relied on publications controlled by the Party for his portrait of Lenin. (Critical accounts were available; for example, the English translation of the émigré Mark Landau-Aldanov’s Lenin was published, by Dutton, in 1922.) Lenin could create an impression of selfless humanitarianism; he was also a savage and ruthless politician—a ‘pail of milk of human kindness with a dead rat at the bottom,’ as Vladimir Nabokov put it to Wilson in 1940, after reading To the Finland Station.  In the introduction to the 1972 edition, Wilson provided a look at the rat. He did not go on to explain in that introduction that the most notorious features of Stalin’s regime—the use of terror, the show trials, and the concentration camps—had all been inaugurated by Lenin. To the Finland Station begins with Napoleon’s betrayal of the principles of the French Revolution; it should have ended with Lenin’s betrayal of European socialism.” 

From Herbert Aptheker, “More Comments on Howard Fast“:

“We observe that in the list of teachers whom Howard Fast names as most influential in his own life there occur the names of fourteen individuals from Jefferson to Bernard Shaw, Upton Sinclair to Marx, Douglass to Engels, but there is no room for Lenin.
   He is, I think, an important teacher, too; indeed, in my view, Lenin is the greatest figure in the whole galaxy of world revolutionary leaders. He is, certainly, the greatest analyzer of and fighter against imperialism.”

For more on Howard Fast, see my entry
“Death Knell” of March 13, 2003

For a look at the pail of milk, see
the New Yorker cover in Geometry for Jews.

For a more cheerful look at geometry
on this St. Joseph’s Day, see
Harry J. Smith’s

Tesseract Site.

“There is such a thing as a tesseract.”
A Wrinkle in Time

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Tuesday March 18, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:25 AM



Comedy gold!
— Mel Brooks

BBC News, Tuesday, 21 March,
2000, 19:19 GMT
Graveside party celebrates
Hebron massacre

Celebrants dressed as
Baruch Goldstein

Song of God

The Jewish holiday Purim began at sundown
on St. Patrick’s Day.

“It’s Springtime for Esther and Israel!”

It is said that God is in the details.  The details: 

Purim is the holiday celebrating Esther.  For more on that name, see Three in One.

From The New Yorker, issue dated March 24, 2003:

“Lenin could create an impression of selfless humanitarianism; he was also a savage and ruthless politician — a ‘pail of milk of human kindness with a dead rat at the bottom,’ as Vladimir Nabokov put it….”

Sounds familiar, somehow.


 See also the entry Homer that precedes it… in honor of 
    Saint Bernard Malamud, whose feast day is today.

Added March 20:
    See also this year’s graveside Purim party.

 Added March 20:
    For more on the dead rat, see the entry of March 19.
    See also a relevant quotation from James Cagney.

Monday, March 17, 2003

Monday March 17, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:14 AM



Piper Laurie

From amctv.com:

The Milkman (1950)

“Donald O’Connor plays Roger, an agitated war veteran with an unusual speech impediment caused by a war injury: he quacks like a duck when he gets upset. His father refuses to give him a job at the family dairy because he wants him to rest, so he goes to work for a competing milk farm where eccentric milkman Breezy (Jimmy Durante) works. Roger falls in love with the boss’s daughter [Piper Laurie] and proves himself to be a comically incompetent milkman, and Breezy must cover up his mistakes.”

Summa Theologica
How can you tell there’s an Irishman present at a cockfight?
     He enters a duck.
How can you tell a Pole is present?
     He bets on the duck.
How can you tell an Italian is present?
     The duck wins.

From amctv.com:

St. Patrick’s Day (1999)

“In this warm family saga, Mary Pat Donnelly McDonough (Piper Laurie), the widowed matriarch of a big Irish-American clan, shocks her family when she announces she has pledged to give up alcohol and won’t be serving any at her traditional house party. What follows is a multi-generational story with many surprising revelations….”

See also The Diamond Project.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

Sunday March 16, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:19 AM


On this date in 1850, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel
The Scarlet Letter” was first published.

Ye see how large a letter
  I have written….”
  — St. Paul, Galatians
  Chapter 6, Verse 11

Einstein and Oppenheimer
at the Institute for
Advanced Study, Princeton

Einstein wrote a rather
famous letter to FDR;
Oppenheimer is known as
the father of the A-bomb.

Song of God

From the Hindu holy scripture Bhagavad Gita (Song of God):

“Of orators, I am the speech; of letters the first one, A; I am imperishable time; the Creator whose face is everywhere; death that devours all things.”
 — Bhagavad Gita 10.32-33,
 tr. by Stephen Mitchell,
 Harmony Books, 2000


— Suzan-Lori Parks,
in today’s New York Times 

Suzan-Lori Parks

See also my note of two years ago,

Random Thoughts for St. Patrick’s Eve.”

For more on Oppenheimer and the Bhagavad Gita, see

Fat Man and Dancing Girl.”

Friday, March 14, 2003

Friday March 14, 2003

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:20 AM

The Producers, Part Deux:

The Consumers

Sidney Lippman, Hit Songwriter,
Dies at 89


Sidney Lippman, the composer and songwriter who wrote the music for "A — You're Adorable," died on Tuesday, March 11, 2003, in New Jersey.  He was 89.

He teamed up with lyricists Buddy Kaye and Fred Wise to write

"A — You're Adorable (The Alphabet Song)"

which became a No. 1 hit in 1949 as an RCA Victor recording with Perry Como and the Fontane Sisters.

See also my Tuesday, March 11, entry,

The Producers,

and my entry from 2001,

Random Thoughts for St. Patrick's Eve.

The illustration above, a tribute to Meg Ryan on Einstein's birthday, may serve as a counterpoint to the "Producers" entry of March 11, the date of Lippman's death.

The St. Patrick's Eve note contains a rather different meditation on the letter "A."  See too

The Alphabet Versus the Goddess,

an intriguing speculation by Leonard Shlain, who claims to show that "patriarchy and misogyny have moved contrapuntually to goddess veneration."

Well, maybe not quite yet; but blessed are the peacemakers.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Thursday March 13, 2003

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:44 PM


From The New Yorker, issue of March 17, 2003, Clive James on Aldous Huxley:

The Perennial Philosophy, his 1945 book compounding all the positive thoughts of West and East into a tutti-frutti of moral uplift, was the equivalent, in its day, of It Takes a Village: there was nothing in it to object to, and that, of course, was the objection.”

For a cultural artifact that is less questionably perennial, see Huxley’s story “Young Archimedes.”

Plato, Pythagoras, and
the diamond figure

Plato’s Diamond in the Meno
Plato as a precursor of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s “immortal diamond.” An illustration shows the ur-diamond figure.

Plato’s Diamond Revisited
Ivars Peterson’s Nov. 27, 2000 column “Square of the Hypotenuse” which discusses the diamond figure as used by Pythagoras (perhaps) and Plato. Other references to the use of Plato’s diamond in the proof of the Pythagorean theorem:


“… and he proceeded to prove the theorem of Pythagoras — not in Euclid’s way, but by the simpler and more satisfying method which was, in all probability, employed by Pythagoras himself….
‘You see,’ he said, ‘it seemed to me so beautiful….’
I nodded. ‘Yes, it’s very beautiful,’ I said — ‘it’s very beautiful indeed.'”
— Aldous Huxley, “Young Archimedes,” in Collected Short Stories, Harper, 1957, pp. 246 – 247


Sir Thomas L. Heath, in his commentary on Euclid I.47, asks how Pythagoreans discovered the Pythagorean theorem and the irrationality of the diagonal of a unit square. His answer? Plato’s diamond.
(See Heath, Sir Thomas Little (1861-1940),
The thirteen books of Euclid’s Elements translated from the text of Heiberg with introduction and commentary. Three volumes. University Press, Cambridge, 1908. Second edition: University Press, Cambridge, 1925. Reprint: Dover Publications, New York, 1956.

Other sites on the alleged
“diamond” proof of Pythagoras

Colorful diagrams at Cut-the-Knot

Illustrated legend of the diamond proof

Babylonian version of the diamond proof

For further details of Huxley’s story, see

The Practice of Mathematics,

Part I, by Robert P. Langlands, from a lecture series at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.

From the New Yorker Contributors page for St. Patrick’s Day, 2003:

Clive James (Books, p. 143) has a new collection, As of This Writing: The Essential Essays, 1968-2002, which will be published in June.”

See also my entry “The Boys from Uruguay” and the later entry “Lichtung!” on the Deutsche Schule Montevideo in Uruguay.

Thursday March 13, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 5:24 AM

Death Knell

In memory of Howard Fast, novelist and Jewish former Communist,
who died yesterday, a quotation:

"For many of us, the geometry course sounded the death knell
for our progress — and interest — in mathematics."

— "Shape and Space in Geometry"

© 1997-2003 Annenberg/CPB. All rights reserved.
Legal Policy

See also
Geometry for Jews.

Added March 16, 2003: See, too, the life of
John Sanford, blacklisted Jewish writer,
who died on March 6, 2003 —
Michelangelo's birthday and the date of
Geometry for Jews."

Thursday March 13, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 2:45 AM

Birthday Song

Today is the birthday of the late Jewish media magnate and art collector Walter H. Annenberg, whose name appears on a website that includes the following text:

Shape and Space in Geometry

“Making quilt blocks is an excellent way to explore symmetry. A quilt block is made of 16 smaller squares. Each small square consists of two triangles. Study this example of a quilt block:


This block has a certain symmetry. The right half is a mirror image of the left, and the top half is a mirror of the bottom.”

© 1997-2003 Annenberg/CPB. All rights reserved.
Legal Policy

Symmetries of patterns such as the above are the subject of my 1976 monograph “ Diamond Theory,” which also deals with “shape and space in geometry,” but in a much more sophisticated way.  For more on Annenberg, see my previous entry, “Daimon Theory.”  For more on the historical significance of March 13, see Neil Sedaka, who also has a birthday today, in “ Jews in the News.”

Sedaka is, of course, noted for the hit tune “Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen,” our site music for today.

See also Geometry for Jews and related entries.

For the phrase “diamond theory” in a religious and philosophical context, see

Pilate, Truth, and Friday the Thirteenth.

“It’s quarter to three….” — Frank Sinatra

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Wednesday March 12, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 2:03 AM

Daimon Theory

Today is allegedly the anniversary of the canonization, in 1622, of two rather important members of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits):

Ignatius Loyola
  Click here for Loyola’s legacy of strategic intelligence.

Francis Xavier
  Click here for Xavier’s legacy of strategic stupidity.

We can thank (or blame) a Jesuit (Gerard Manley Hopkins) for the poetic phrase “immortal diamond.”  He may have been influenced by Plato, who has Socrates using a diamond figure in an argument for the immortality of the soul.  Confusingly, Socrates also talked about his “daimon” (pronounced dye-moan).  Combining these similar-sounding concepts, we have Doctor Stephen A. Diamond writing about daimons — a choice of author and topic that neatly combines the strategic intelligence of Loyola with the strategic stupidity of Xavier.

The cover illustration is perhaps not of Dr. Diamond himself.

A link between diamond theory and daimon theory is furnished by the charitable legacy of the non-practicing Jew Walter Annenberg.

For Annenberg and diamond theory, see this site on the elementary geometry of quilt blocks, which credits the Annenberg Foundation for support.

For Annenberg and daimon theory, see this site on Socrates, which has a similar Annenberg support credit.

Advanced disciples of Annenberg can learn much from the Perseus site about daimon theory. Let us pray that Abrahamic religious bigotry does not stand in their way.  Less advanced disciples of Annenberg may find fulfillment in teaching children the beauty of elementary 4×4 quilt-block symmetry.  Let us pray that academic bigotry does not prevent these same children, when they have grown older, from learning the deeper, and more difficult, beauties of diamond theory.

Daimon Theory

Diamond Theory

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Tuesday March 11, 2003

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:09 PM


The Producers

Broadway City Arcade

"Aryan Christ"
Carl G. Jung

Bloomberg & Bernstein,
Mayor & Producers' Head

Simon and Garfunkel's Tribute to Synchronicity:

Fools, said I,
   you do not know
Silence like
   a cancer grows.
Hear my words
   that I might teach you.
Take my arms
   that I might reach you….

Dummköpfe, sagte ich,
   ihr wißt nicht,
daß die Stille wie
   ein Krebs wächst.
Hört meine Worte,
   die ich euch sage.
Nehmt meine Hände,
   die ich euch reiche….

And the people
   bowed and prayed
To the neon god
   they made.

Und die Menschen
   verbeugten sich vor dem
Neon-Gott, den sie schufen,
   und beteten zu ihm.

                   — Paul Simon

For more on Jung, see

See also the Synchronicity album of The Police,
inducted last night into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Monday March 10, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 5:45 AM


Art at the Vanishing Point

Two readings from The New York Times Book Review of Sunday,

March 9,

2003 are relevant to our recurring "art wars" theme.  The essay on Dante by Judith Shulevitz on page 31 recalls his "point at which all times are present."  (See my March 7 entry.)  On page 12 there is a review of a novel about the alleged "high culture" of the New York art world.  The novel is centered on Leo Hertzberg, a fictional Columbia University art historian.  From Janet Burroway's review of What I Loved, by Siri Hustvedt:

"…the 'zeros' who inhabit the book… dramatize its speculations about the self…. the spectator who is 'the true vanishing point, the pinprick in the canvas.'''

Here is a canvas by Richard McGuire for April Fools' Day 1995, illustrating such a spectator.

For more on the "vanishing point," or "point at infinity," see

"Midsummer Eve's Dream."

Connoisseurs of ArtSpeak may appreciate Burroway's summary of Hustvedt's prose: "…her real canvas is philosophical, and here she explores the nature of identity in a structure of crystalline complexity."

For another "structure of crystalline
complexity," see my March 6 entry,

"Geometry for Jews."

For a more honest account of the
New York art scene, see Tom Wolfe's
The Painted Word.

Sunday, March 9, 2003

Sunday March 9, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 4:01 PM


The Sound of Silence

Hello darkness, my old friend. I’ve come to talk with you again.

(See previous entry, Mar. 7, “Lovely, Dark and Deep.) 

And the people bowed and prayed to the neon god they made.

(See CNN.com   Broadway City Arcade club story of Mar. 9)

The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls.

(See picture in NY Times Book Review, Mar. 9, page 31.)

See also the footnote on the Halmos “tombstone” symbol in the previous entry, the entry “Dustin in Wonderland” of Feb. 24, the film “Marathon Man,” and the entry “Geometry for Jews” of March 6.

Friday, March 7, 2003

Friday March 7, 2003

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 4:00 AM

Lovely, Dark and Deep

On this date in 1923, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," by Robert Frost, was published.  On this date in 1999, director Stanley Kubrick died.  On this date in 1872, Piet Mondrian was born.

"….mirando il punto
a cui tutti li tempi son presenti"

— Dante, Paradiso, XVII, 17-18 

Chez Mondrian
Kertész, Paris, 1926 

6:23 PM Friday, March 7:

From Measure Theory, by Paul R. Halmos, Van Nostrand, 1950:

"The symbol is used throughout the entire book in place of such phrases as 'Q.E.D.' or 'This completes the proof of the theorem' to signal the end of a proof."

Thursday, March 6, 2003

Thursday March 6, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:35 AM


Geometry for Jews

Today is Michelangelo's birthday.

Those who prefer the Sistine Chapel to the Rothko Chapel may invite their Jewish friends to answer the following essay question:

Discuss the geometry underlying the above picture.  How is this geometry related to the work of Jewish artist Sol LeWitt? How is it related to the work of Aryan artist Ernst Witt?  How is it related to the Griess "Monster" sporadic simple group whose elements number 

808 017 424 794 512 875 886 459 904 961 710 757 005 754 368 000 000 000?

Some background:

Wednesday, March 5, 2003

Wednesday March 5, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:38 PM

Eat at Joe’s

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the
death of Joseph Stalin:

National Student Strike * March 5th

Courtesy of the Young Communist League

Wednesday March 5, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:38 PM


“Teach us to care and not to care.”
— T. S. Eliot, “Ash Wednesday

From The Jerusalem Post, August 6, 2001:

In the movie Godfather II there is a scene when Michael Corleone is in Batista-ruled Havana. A Marxist rebel is arrested, and rather than be taken alive he explodes a grenade he had hidden in his jacket, killing himself and the officers arresting him.

His partner says: “Those rebels, you know, they’re lunatics.”

“Maybe so,” Michael Corleone says. “But it occurred to me. The soldiers are paid to fight – the rebels aren’t.”

“What does that tell you?” asks his partner.

“They can win,” he replies.

— Analysis by Arieh O’Sullivan

The date of the above analysis, August 6, was the date of the Christian Feast of the Transfiguration and the anniversary of the first use in warfare of a nuclear weapon.

“And the light shone in darkness and
Against the Word* the unstilled world still whirled
About the centre of the silent Word….

Where shall the word be found, where will the word

— T. S. Eliot, “Ash Wednesday,” 1930

Hiroshima, perhaps?

See also my entries for Transfiguration 2002.

* Eliot does not say what “Word” he is talking about.  Perhaps it is “Arieh,” the name of the journalist who wrote the perceptive Havana passage above.  A search for the meaning of this word reveals that it means “an adult lion, having paired, in search of his prey (Nahum 2:12; 2 Sam 17:10; Num 23:24).”  This is from The Witness of the Stars, a work that views the constellation Leo as a symbol of the Messiah.  A particularly relevant passage: “The brightest star… marks the heart of the Lion (hence sometimes called by the moderns, Cor Leonis, the heart of the Lion).”  Cor Leonis, Corleone.  Is this the “Word” you meant, T. S.?

Wednesday March 5, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 12:07 AM

Ash Wednesday

Brace Yourself, Maureen

From Maureen Dowd’s New York Times column today:

“During the innocent summer before 9/11, the defense secretary’s office sponsored a study of ancient empires — Macedonia, Rome, the Mongols — to figure out how they maintained dominance.

What tips could Rummy glean from Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar and Genghis Khan?”

Saddle up!

Background briefing, added at 6:29 AM:

See also the use of the hyperbolic paraboloid in Mexican church architecture by Félix Candela and an essay on saddle surfaces by Joseph F. MacDonnell, Society of Jesus, who spent eight years in Iraq teaching physics and mathematics at two Jesuit schools in Baghdad: Baghdad College and Al Hikma University.  He writes that “since the 1968 Baathi takeover of the two Jesuit schools and expulsion of all Jesuits from Iraq in 1969” he has been teaching mathematics at Fairfield University. 

MacDonnell notes that there are only three doubly ruled surfaces (in real 3-space): the hyperboloid (used for nuclear cooling towers), the hyperbolic paraboloid (used, as noted, for Mexican churches), and the plane (used widely).  The geometry here is perhaps less relevant than the existence of the Society of Jesus as a sort of intelligence agency within the Church — an agency the current Pope has never understood how to use.  Opus Dei is a greatly inferior substitute.

Tuesday, March 4, 2003

Tuesday March 4, 2003

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:25 PM

Fearful Symmetry

I just Googled this phrase and found the following site, which turns out to be related to my previous entry on the Bead Game and the death of John P. Thompson.

Fearful Symmetry:
The Music Master’s Lecture

by Daniel d’Quincy.

This in turn links to an excerpt from The Glass Bead Game that includes this passage: 

“I suddenly realized that in the language, or at any rate in the spirit of the Glass Bead Game, everything actually was all-meaningful, that every symbol and combination of symbols led not hither and yon, not to single examples, experiments, and proofs, but into the center, the mystery and innermost heart of the world, into primal knowledge. Every transition from major to minor in a sonata, every transformation of a myth or a religious cult, every classical or artistic formulation was, I realized in that flashing moment, if seen with a truly meditative mind, nothing but a direct route into the interior of the cosmic mystery, where in the alternation between inhaling and exhaling, between heaven and earth, between Yin and Yang, holiness is forever being created.”

It is very easy to get dangerously confused about holiness, but here are some relevant quotes:

“You will have to allow me to digress a bit in order to bring ourselves to a sufficiently elevated perspective… I warn you, it will require an attitude of playfulness on your part. Our approach will aim more at sincerity than seriousness. The attitude I’m aiming at is best expressed, I suppose, in the playing of a unique game, known by its German name as Das Glasperlenspiel, and which we may translate as the Glass Bead Game.”

— Daniel d’Quincy, Fearful Symmetry 


— God himself said this, at least according to the previous entry and to my Jan. 28 entry, State of the Communion.

“Seven is heaven.”

— See my web page Eight is a Gate.

“An excellent example of a ‘universal’ in the sense of Charles Williams, Jung, or Plato is Hexagram 11 in China’s 3,000-year-old classic, the I Ching:

Hexagram 11

‘Heaven and earth unite:
 the image of PEACE.’ 
 (Wilhelm/Baynes translation,
 Princeton University Press, 1967)” 

— S. H. Cullinane, Plato, Pegasus, and the Evening Star

Thus we may associate the numbers 7 and 11 with the notions of heaven and peace; for a somewhat darker association of the time 7:11 with Kali as Time the Destroyer, see my last entry and also my previous entries

Fat Man and Dancing Girl (Feb. 18, 2003), and 

Time and Eternity (Feb. 1, 2003).

Sunday, March 2, 2003

Sunday March 2, 2003

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:20 PM

7:20 PM CALI Time

The Bus and the Bead Game:
The Communion of Saints as
 the Association of Ideas

On this date in 1955, “Bus Stop,” a play by William Inge, opened at the Music Box Theatre in New York City.

“I seemed to be standing in a bus queue by the side of a long, mean street.”

— C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce, opening sentence

Today’s birthdays:

Sam Houston
Dr. Seuss
Kurt Weill
Mikhail Gorbachev
Tom Wolfe
Desi Arnaz
Jennifer Jones
Karen Carpenter

and many others.

Today is the feast day of  

St. Randolph Scott
St. Sandy Dennis
St. D. H. Lawrence, and
St. Charlie Christian.

“Your guitar, it sounds so sweet and clear…”

— Karen Carpenter singing “Superstar

“And if I find me a good man,
 I won’t be back at all.”

C. C. Rider lyrics

See (and hear) also “Seven Come Eleven,” played by St. Charlie Christian.

One might (disregarding separation in time and space — never major hindrances to the saints) imagine C. S. Lewis in Heaven listening to a conversation among the four saints listed above.  For more on the communion of saints, see my entry “State of the Communion” of Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2003.  This entry, quoting an old spiritual, concluded with “Now hear the word of the Lord”  — followed by this notation: 

 7:11 PM.

See also the N.Y. Times obituary of John P. Thompson of Dallas, former 7-Eleven chairman, who died, as it happened, on that very day (Jan. 28).  See also Karen Carpenter’s “first take luck.”

The sort of association of ideas described in the “Communion” entry is not unrelated to the Glasperlenspiel, or Glass Bead Game, of Hermann Hesse.  For a somewhat different approach to the Game, see

The Glass Bead Game,”

by John S. Wilson, group theorist and head of the Pure Mathematics Group at the University of Birmingham in England. Wilson is “not convinced that Hesse’s… game is only a metaphor.” Neither am I.

For the association-of-ideas approach, see the page cited in my “Communion” entry,

A Game Designer’s Holy Grail,”

and (if you can find a copy) one of the greatest forgotten books of the twentieth century,

The Third Word War,

by Ian Lee (A&W Publishers, Inc., New York, 1978).  As Lee remarks concerning the communion of saints and the association of ideas,

“The association is the idea.”

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