Thursday, July 31, 2003

Thursday July 31, 2003

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:41 PM

Killer Radio

"See the girl with the diamond ring?
 She knows how to shake that thing."

— Jerry Lee "Killer" Lewis on
    KHYI 95.3 FM, Plano, Texas,
    at about 5:12 PM EDT 7/31/03,
    introduced by DJ Allen Peck Sr.

"And on this point I pass the same judgment as those who say that geometricians give them nothing new by these rules, because they possessed them in reality, but confounded with a multitude of others, either useless or false, from which they could not discriminate them, as those who, seeking a diamond of great price amidst a number of false ones, but from which they know not how to distinguish it, should boast, in holding them all together, of possessing the true one equally with him who without pausing at this mass of rubbish lays his hand upon the costly stone which they are seeking and for which they do not throw away the rest."

— Blaise Pascal, De l'Esprit Géométrique

"When the light came she was sitting on the bed beside an open suitcase, toying with her diamond rings.  She saw the light first in the depths of the largest stone."

— Paul Preuss, Broken Symmetries,
    scene at Diamond Head, Oahu, Hawaii

Now playing (6:41 PM EDT) on Killer Radio:

"Jack of Diamonds, that's
 a hard card to find."

"This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, patch, matchwood, immortal diamond…."

— Gerard Manley Hopkins, Society of Jesus

Perhaps Sam Phillips was twanged by a Hawaiian guitar. (See previous two entries.)


The Big Time

"The place outside the cosmos where I and my pals do our nursing job I simply call the Place.  A lot of my nursing consists of amusing and humanizing Soldiers fresh back from raids into time. In fact, my formal title is Entertainer…."

The Big Time,
    by Fritz Leiber

A Story That Works

  • "There is the dark, eternally silent, unknown universe;
  • there are the friend-enemy minds shouting and whispering their tales and always seeking the three miracles —
    • that minds should really touch, or
    • that the silent universe should speak, tell minds a story, or (perhaps the same thing)
    • that there should be a story that works, that is all hard facts, all reality, with no illusions and no fantasy;
  • and lastly, there is lonely, story-telling, wonder-questing, mortal me."

    Fritz Leiber in "The Button Molder"



See also "Top Ten Most Overheard Comments by new KHYI listeners" at Miss Lana's Anything Page, entry for

Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 2002.

Thursday July 31, 2003

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:07 AM


Sam Phillips and Elvis

The Father of Rock and Roll,
music legend Sam Phillips,
died in a Memphis hospital
Wednesday night.

See also my entry Wednesday morning
on rock and roll, country music,
the Stones, and The Last Picture Show.

Meditation for this, the feast day of the founder of the Society of Jesus:

John Belushi

“If there’s a rock and roll heaven,
Well you know they’ve got
a hell of a band.”

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Wednesday July 30, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:29 AM

Toronto Day

Today is said to be the day Toronto was founded, and is the day, they say, of what will be the largest concert in the history of Canada….

The Rolling Stones at
Downsview Park, Toronto.

Comparisons to Woodstock have been made, with attendance expected to be about half a million strong.  Thoughts of Woodstock reminded me of Joni Mitchell, and so I sought Joni’s advice for an alternative to the spirit of this event, recalling her words

Oh honey you turn me on
I’m a radio
I’m a country station
I’m a little bit corny
I’m a broadcasting tower
Waving for you
And I’m sending you out
This signal here
I hope you can pick it up
Loud and clear

A search for the promised
country station yielded….

The redneck alternative….

Ben Johnson, Oscar winner for Last Picture Show

95.3 FM
Plano, Texas


Today’s culture wars quote:

“God help me, I do love it so.” 

Wednesday July 30, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:55 AM

Into the Day

“…no-one sang the night into the day”

— Carly Simon, “Embrace Me, You Child,” quoted in yesterday’s entry Trick of the Light.

I have no song to bring night into day; the best I can do for this morning, the birthday of director/author Peter Bogdanovich, is supply a Frank Russo RealAudio rendition of “Long Ago and Far Away,” from his CD “Quiet Now.”

The song’s connection with Bogdanovich, who turns 64 today, is through Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles.

Wednesday July 30, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:45 AM

Transcendental Meditation

This week’s
 New Yorker

Transcendental Man
New books on
Ralph Waldo Emerson
for his bicentennial.
by John Updike

This week’s
 Time cover

The bicentennial of Ralph Waldo Emerson was on May 25, 2003.  For a commemoration of Emerson on that date, click on the picture below of Harvard University’s Room 305, Emerson Hall.


This will lead you to a discussion of the properties of a 5×5 array, or matrix, with a symbol of mystical unity at its center.  Although this symbol of mystical unity, the number “1,” is not, pace the Shema, a transcendental number, the matrix is, as perhaps a sort of Emersonian compensation, what postmodernists would call phallologocentric.  It is possible that Emerson is a saint; if so, his feast day (i.e., date of death), April 27, might reveal to us the sort of miraculous fact hoped for by Fritz Leiber in my previous entry.  A check of my April 27 notes shows us, lo and behold, another phallologocentric 5×5 array, this one starring Warren Beatty.  This rather peculiar coincidence is, perhaps, the sort of miracle appropriate to a saint who is, as this week’s politically correct New Yorker calls him, a Big Dead White Male.

 Leiber’s fiction furnishes “a behind-the-scenes view of the time change wars.”

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

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Tuesday July 29, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:11 PM

The Big Time

“The place outside the cosmos where I and my pals do our nursing job I simply call the Place.  A lot of my nursing consists of amusing and humanizing Soldiers fresh back from raids into time. In fact, my formal title is Entertainer….”

The Big Time,
    by Fritz Leiber

A Story That Works

  • “There is the dark, eternally silent, unknown universe;
  • there are the friend-enemy minds shouting and whispering their tales and always seeking the three miracles —
    • that minds should really touch, or
    • that the silent universe should speak, tell minds a story, or (perhaps the same thing)
    • that there should be a story that works, that is all hard facts, all reality, with no illusions and no fantasy;
  • and lastly, there is lonely, story-telling, wonder-questing, mortal me.”

    Fritz Leiber in “The Button Molder

Tuesday July 29, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:00 AM

Trick of the Light

For Carly Simon

“… on the dance floor she seemed to be the only one completely alive.  It was a trick of the light that followed one person around.  Joe had seen the quality before; it was rare, but not unknown.

Every time we say good-bye…. Porter had written an intimate ballad…. “

— Martin Cruz Smith, Stallion Gate, Ch. 2

“At night I heard God
                          whisper lullabyes
While Daddy next door
                   whistled whisky tunes
And sometimes
            when I wanted,
                   they would harmonize
There was nothing
                    those two couldn’t do


Then one night Daddy died
                      and went to Heaven
And God came down to earth
                          and slipped away
I pretended not to notice
                      I’d been abandoned
But no-one sang the night
                                 into the day
And later night time songs
                          came back again
But the singers don’t compare
                        with those I knew
And I never figured out
          where God and Daddy went
But there was nothing
                   those two couldn’t do”

— Carly Simon,
  “Embrace Me, You Child”

Monday, July 28, 2003

Monday July 28, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:11 PM


At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, 1918, the Great War ended.  See

Plato, Pegasus, and the Evening Star.

Concluding Unscientific Postscript:


For Maggio.

See also


Monday July 28, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:59 PM

With a Smile

Heaven, Hell, and Hollywood:

On parent knees,
     a naked new-born child,
Weeping thou sat’st
     while all around thee smiled:
So live, that sinking to
     thy life’s last sleep,
Calm thou may’st smile,
     whilst all around thee weep.
— Sir William Jones, 1746-1794  

Reuters, July 28, 2003 5:56 PM ET:

Bob Hope Dies With a Smile

“… surrounded by family, including his wife of 69 years, the former Dolores Reade, and their children, as well as his personal physician, several nurses and a priest who celebrated mass in Hope’s bedroom.”

“Say Formaggio.”

Monday July 28, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 AM

City of God

Today's site music is

Nous Voici Dans La Ville.

The central aim of Western religion —

"Each of us has something to offer the Creator... 
the bridging of                  
masculine and feminine,                       
life and death. It's redemption.... 
nothing else matters." 
-- Martha Cooley in The Archivist (1998) 

The central aim of Western philosophy —

                 Dualities of Pythagoras 
                 as reconstructed by Aristotle: 

                 Limited     Unlimited                      
                 Odd         Even           
                 Male        Female                    
                 Light       Dark                 
                 Straight    Curved                   
                 ... and so on .... 

"Of these dualities, the first is the most important; all the others may be seen as different aspects of this fundamental dichotomy. To establish a rational and consistent relationship between the limited [man, etc.] and the unlimited [the cosmos, etc.] is… the central aim of all Western philosophy."
— Jamie James in
   The Music of the Spheres (1993)

"In the garden of Adding,
Live Even and Odd….
And the song of love's recision
is the music of the spheres."
— The Midrash Jazz Quartet in
   City of God, by E. L. Doctorow (2000)

Today is the feast of St. Johann Sebastian Bach.

Monday July 28, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:01 AM

The Transcendent
Signified, Part II –

A sequel to my recent entries
The Transcendent Signified and
Catholic Tastes

From a July 28 New York Times story on a controversy over the Latin Mass:

“Granted, most of the people don’t understand Latin,” he said, “yet they understand its evocation of the transcendent.”

— Father John A. Perricone

From the excellent site

Quotations on Sound,
the Name, and the Word

Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth
Part 2: Interviews with Bill Moyers —

Campbell: “We want to think about God. God is a thought. God is a name. God is an idea, but its reference is to something that transcends all thinking. The ultimate mystery of being is beyond all categories of thought. My friend Heinrich Zimmer of years ago used to say, ‘The best things can’t be told,’ because they transcend thought. ‘The second best are misunderstood,’ because those are the thoughts that are supposed to refer to that which can’t be thought about, and one gets stuck in the thoughts. ‘The third best are what we talk about.’ And myth is that field of reference, metaphors referring to what is absolutely transcendent.”

Moyers: “What can’t be known or can’t be named except in our own feeble attempt to clothe it in language.”

Campbell: “And the ultimate word in our language for that which is transcendent is God.”

Monday July 28, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 AM

Midnight Cowboy

A Last Hurrah for Harold C. Schonberg, New York Times music critic (not to be confused with Arnold Schoenberg, composer):

“His criticism of music he disliked could be harsh, and in a valedictory essay published at the time of his retirement as senior critic, he explained himself unrepentantly.

‘I thought the serial-dominated music after the war was a hideously misbegotten creature sired by Caliban out of Hecate, and I had no hesitation in saying so,’ he wrote. ‘Nor has it been proved that I was all wrong. Certain it is that the decades of serialism did nothing but alienate the public, creating a chasm between composer and audience.'”

The serialist composer Arnold Schoenberg, on the other hand, wrote:

“I believe what I do and do only what I believe; and woe to anybody who lays hands on my faith. Such a man I regard as an enemy, and no quarter given!”


To which the appropriate reply is:

“Here’s a quarter, call someone who cares.”

— Travis Tritt, CowboyLyrics.com

Harold C. Schonberg

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Sunday July 27, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:59 PM

Catholic Tastes

In memory of New York Times music critic Harold C. Schonberg, who died Saturday, July 26, 2003:

Nous Voici Dans La Ville – A Christmas song from 15th century France (midi by John Philip Dimick).

In memory of my own youth:

Address Paseo del Conquistador # 144 Food Type Italian Dress Casual Tel 777-313-0584
Comment Chef Lorenzo Villagra is formally trained in Italian Cuisine. Great food and views of the valley of Cuernavaca.

In memory of love:

Volverán del amor en tus oídos

Las palabras ardientes a sonor;

Tu corazón de su profundo sueño

Tal vez despertará;

Pero mudo y absorto y de rodillas,

Como se adora a Dios ante su altar,

Como yo te he querido…desengáñate,

¡Así no te querrán!

— from Rima LIII
    by Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer

Translation by Young Allison, 1924:

Burning words of love will come
Again full oft within thine ears to sound;
Perchance thy heart will even be aroused
From its sleep profound;

But mute and prostrate and absorbed,
As God is worshipped in His holy fane,
As I have loved thee…undeceive thyself:
Thou wilt not be thus loved again!

The Robert Lowell version of
the complete poem by Bécquer:

Will Not Come Back

Dark swallows will doubtless come back killing
the injudicious nightflies with a clack of the beak:
but these that stopped full flight to see your beauty
and my good fortune… as if they knew our names–
they’ll not come back. The thick lemony honeysuckle,
climbing from the earthroot to your window,
will open more beautiful blossoms to the evening;
but these… like dewdrops, trembling, shining, falling,
the tears of day–they’ll not come back…
Some other love will sound his fireword for you
and wake your heart, perhaps, from its cool sleep;
but silent, absorbed, and on his knees,
as men adore God at the altar, as I love you–
don’t blind yourself, you’ll not be loved like that.

“…my despair with words as instruments of communion is often near total.”

— Charles Small, Harvard ’64 25th Anniversary Report, 1989 (See 11/21/02).

Perhaps dinner and a movie?
The dinner — 
at Formaggio in Cuernavaca.
The movie —

(Bright Star),
portrayed by
Megan Follows


Hoc est enim
corpus meum…

See also
A Mass for Lucero.

See, too, my entry for the feast day of
Saint Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer,
which happens to be
December 22.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Saturday July 26, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 11:11 PM

The Transcendent

“God is both the transcendent signifier
and transcendent signified.”

— Caryn Broitman,
Deconstruction and the Bible

“Central to deconstructive theory is the notion that there is no ‘transcendent signified,’ or ‘logos,’ that ultimately grounds ‘meaning’ in language….”

— Henry P. Mills,
The Significance of Language,
Footnote 2

“It is said that the students of medieval Paris came to blows in the streets over the question of universals. The stakes are high, for at issue is our whole conception of our ability to describe the world truly or falsely, and the objectivity of any opinions we frame to ourselves. It is arguable that this is always the deepest, most profound problem of philosophy. It structures Plato’s (realist) reaction to the sophists (nominalists). What is often called ‘postmodernism’ is really just nominalism, colourfully presented as the doctrine that there is nothing except texts. It is the variety of nominalism represented in many modern humanities, paralysing appeals to reason and truth.”

Simon Blackburn, Think,
Oxford University Press, 1999, page 268

The question of universals is still being debated in Paris.  See my July 25 entry,

A Logocentric Meditation.

That entry discusses an essay on
mathematics and postmodern thought
by Michael Harris,
professor of mathematics
at l’Université Paris 7 – Denis Diderot.

A different essay by Harris has a discussion that gets to the heart of this matter: whether pi exists as a platonic idea apart from any human definitions.  Harris notes that “one might recall that the theorem that pi is transcendental can be stated as follows: the homomorphism Q[X] –> R taking X to pi is injective.  In other words, pi can be identified algebraically with X, the variable par excellence.”

Harris illustrates this with
an X in a rectangle:

For the complete passage, click here.

If we rotate the Harris X by 90 degrees, we get a representation of the Christian Logos that seems closely related to the God-symbol of Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick in 2001: A Space Odyssey.  On the left below, we have a (1x)4×9 black monolith, representing God, and on the right below, we have the Harris slab, with X representing (as in “Xmas,” or the Chi-rho page of the Book of Kells) Christ… who is, in theological terms, also “the variable par excellence.”



For a more serious discussion of deconstruction and Christian theology, see

Walker Percy’s Semiotic.

Saturday July 26, 2003

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 5:29 AM

Funeral March

John Schlesinger dead at 77;
‘Midnight Cowboy’ director

Anthony Breznican
Associated Press
Jul. 26, 2003 12:00 AM

LOS ANGELES – Oscar-winning director John Schlesinger, who daringly brought gay characters into mainstream cinema with Midnight Cowboy and tapped into nightmares with the teeth-drilling torture of Marathon Man, died Friday at 77.

The British-born filmmaker…. died about 5:30 a.m….

Schlesinger also directed The Day of the Locust, based on a novel by Nathanael West.

See Heaven, Hell, and Hollywood and

Dogma Part II: Amores Perros.

From the latter:

“Then you know your body’s sent,
Don’t care if you don’t pay rent,
Sky is high and so am I,
If you’re a viper — a vi-paah.”

The Day of the Locust,
    by Nathanael West (1939),
    New Directions paperback,
    1969, page 162

This song may be downloaded at

Pot Culture, 1910-1960.

That same site begins with a traditional Mexican song…

La cucaracha, la cucaracha,
 ya no puede caminar,
 porque no quiere,
 porque le falta
 marihuana que fumar.

(“The cockroach, the cockroach,
 can’t walk anymore,
 because he doesn’t want to,
 because he has no
 marihuana to smoke.”)

This suggests an appropriate funeral march for John Schlesinger:

“Ya murió la cucaracha, ya la llevan a enterrar…”La Cucaracha

Those attending Schlesinger’s wake, as opposed to his funeral, may wish to perform other numbers from the Pot Culture page, which offers a variety of “viper” songs.

Bright Star and Dark Lady

“Mexico is a solar country — but it is also a black country, a dark country. This duality of Mexico has preoccupied me since I was a child.”

Octavio Paz,
quoted by Homero Aridjis

Bright Star



Dark Lady

For the meaning of the above symbols, see
Kubrick’s 1x4x9 monolith in 2001,
the Halmos tombstone in Measure Theory,
and the Fritz Leiber Changewar stories.

No se puede vivir sin amar.

Concluding Unscientific Postscript:

Oh, yes… the question of
Heaven or Hell for John Schlesinger… 

Recall that he also directed the delightful
Cold Comfort Farm and see
last year’s entry for this date.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Friday July 25, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 11:59 PM

Realism in Literature:
Under the Volcano

Mexican Volcano Blast
Scares Residents


Filed at 11:13 p.m. EDT Friday, July 25, 2003

PUEBLA, Mexico (AP) — Mexico’s Popocatepetl volcano shot glowing rock and ash high into the air Friday night, triggering a thunderous explosion that panicked some residents in nearby communities.

Here are 3 webcam views of the volcano.   Nothing to see at the moment.

Literary background:

Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano,

Plato, Pegasus, and the Evening Star,

A Mass for Lucero,

Shining Forth,

and, as background for today’s earlier entry on Platonism and Derrida,

The Shining of May 29.


For more on Plato and Christian theology, consult the highly emotional site

Further Into the Depths of Satan:

“…in The Last Battle on page 170 [C. S.] Lewis has Digory saying, ‘It’s all in Plato, all in Plato.’ Now, Lewis calls Plato ‘an overwhelming theological genius’ (Reflections on the Psalms, p. 80)….”

The title “Further Into the Depths of Satan,” along with the volcano readings above, suggests a reading from a related site:

Gollum and the Mystery of Evil:

“Gollum here clearly represents Frodo’s hidden self. It is ‘as if we are witnessing the darkest night of the soul and one side attempting to master the other’ (Jane Chance 102). Then Frodo, whose finger has been bitten off, cries out, and Gollum holds the Ring aloft, shrieking: ‘Precious, precious, precious! My Precious! O my Precious!’ (RK, VI, 249). At this point, stepping too near the edge, he falls into the volcano, taking the Ring with him. With this, the mountain shakes.’ “

In the above two-step vignette, the part of Gollum is played by the author of “Further Into the Depths of Satan,” who called  C. S. Lewis a fool “that was and is extremely useful to his father the devil.”

See Matthew 5:22: “…whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” 

Friday July 25, 2003

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 5:24 PM

For Jung’s 7/26 Birthday:
A Logocentric Meditation

Leftist academics are trying to pull a fast one again.  An essay in the most prominent American mathematical publication tries to disguise a leftist attack on Christian theology as harmless philosophical woolgathering.

In a review of Vladimir Tasic’s Mathematics and the Roots of Postmodern Thought, the reviewer, Michael Harris, is being less than candid when he discusses Derrida’s use of “logocentrism”:

“Derrida uses the term ‘logocentrism’… as ‘the metaphysics of phonetic writing’….”

Notices of the American Mathematical Society, August 2003, page 792

We find a rather different version of logocentrism in Tasic’s own Sept. 24, 2001, lecture “Poststructuralism and Deconstruction: A Mathematical History,” which is “an abridged version of some arguments” in Tasic’s book on mathematics and postmodernism:

“Derrida apparently also employs certain ideas of formalist mathematics in his critique of idealist metaphysics: for example, he is on record saying that ‘the effective progress of mathematical notation goes along with the deconstruction of metaphysics.’

Derrida’s position is rather subtle. I think it can be interpreted as a valiant sublation of two completely opposed schools in mathematical philosophy. For this reason it is not possible to reduce it to a readily available philosophy of mathematics. One could perhaps say that Derrida continues and critically reworks Heidegger’s attempt to ‘deconstruct’ traditional metaphysics, and that his method is more ‘mathematical’ than Heidegger’s because he has at his disposal the entire pseudo-mathematical tradition of structuralist thought. He has himself implied in an interview given to Julia Kristeva that mathematics could be used to challenge ‘logocentric theology,’ and hence it does not seem unreasonable to try looking for the mathematical roots of his philosophy.”

The unsuspecting reader would not know from Harris’s review that Derrida’s main concern is not mathematics, but theology.  His ‘deconstruction of metaphysics’ is actually an attack on Christian theology.

From “Derrida and Deconstruction,” by David Arneson, a University of Manitoba professor and writer on literary theory:

Logocentrism: ‘In the beginning was the word.’ Logocentrism is the belief that knowledge is rooted in a primeval language (now lost) given by God to humans. God (or some other transcendental signifier: the Idea, the Great Spirit, the Self, etc.) acts a foundation for all our thought, language and action. He is the truth whose manifestation is the world.”

Some further background, putting my July 23 entry on Lévi-Strauss and structuralism in the proper context:

Part I.  The Roots of Structuralism

“Literary science had to have a firm theoretical basis…”

Part II.  Structuralism/Poststructuralism

“Most [structuralists] insist, as Levi-Strauss does, that structures are universal, therefore timeless.”

Part III.  Structuralism and
Jung’s Archetypes

Jung’s “theories, like those of Cassirer and Lévi-Strauss, command for myth a central cultural position, unassailable by reductive intellectual methods or procedures.”

And so we are back to logocentrism, with the Logos — God in the form of story, myth, or archetype — in the “central cultural position.”

What does all this have to do with mathematics?  See

Plato’s Diamond,

Rosalind Krauss on Art –

“the Klein group (much beloved of Structuralists)”

Another Michael Harris Essay, Note 47 –

“From Krauss’s article I learned that the Klein group is also called the Piaget group.”

and Jung on Quaternity:
Beyond the Fringe –

“…there is no denying the fact that [analytical] psychology, like an illegitimate child of the spirit, leads an esoteric, special existence beyond the fringe of what is generally acknowledged to be the academic world.”

What attitude should mathematicians have towards all this?

Towards postmodern French
atheist literary/art theorists –

Mathematicians should adopt the attitude toward “the demimonde of chic academic theorizing” expressed in Roger Kimball’s essay, Feeling Sorry for Rosalind Krauss.

Towards logocentric German
Christian literary/art theorists –

Mathematicians should, of course, adopt a posture of humble respect, tugging their forelocks and admitting their ignorance of Christian theology.  They should then, if sincere in their desire to honestly learn something about logocentric philosophy, begin by consulting the website

The Quest for the Fiction of an Absolute.

For a better known, if similarly disrespected, “illegitimate child of the spirit,” see my July 22 entry.

Friday July 25, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:17 PM

Democracy in America

Jay Leno’s man-in-the-street “Duh” interviews are no longer funny.  See

America’s Ignorant Voters and

Voting Machine Fraud Likely.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Thursday July 24, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:48 AM

Intelligence Test

On July 17, my entry “British Intelligence” linked to a Guardian story about a bumbling amateur spy organization set up by the Bush administration.  The headline of that entry, together with Tony Blair’s remark quoted there, implied that The Guardian was a much better example of real British intelligence than Blair’s minions.

On July 21, my entry “Meet D. B. Norton” attacked Blair as a puppet of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch.

Now The Guardian has come through with a story confirming the picture of puppetmaster Murdoch.  See

This BBC row is not about
sources – it is about power

Downing Street and Rupert Murdoch
want revenge on the corporation

Jackie Ashley
Thursday July 24, 2003

For background on Rupert Murdoch, see

Murdoch’s Mean Machine
How Rupert uses his vast media power
to help himself and hammer his foes

in the Columbia Journalism Review

Edward Arnold portrays Rupert Murdoch
as he hears of
Wednesday’s 400-21 House vote
against media tycoons

For more details, see

Congress Vote May Stymie Murdoch and

Scramble to Overturn House Media Bill.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Wednesday July 23, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 4:17 PM

Being Pascal Sauvage


“Voilà ce que je sais par une longue expérience de toutes sortes de livres et de personnes. Et sur cela je fais le même jugement de ceux qui disent que les géomètres ne leur donnent rien de nouveau par ces règles, parce qu’ ils les avaient en effet, mais confondues parmi une multitude d’ autres inutiles ou fausses dont ils ne pouvaient pas les discerner, que de ceux qui cherchant un diamant de grand prix


parmi un grand nombre de faux, mais qu’ ils n’ en sauraient pas distinguer, se vanteraient, en les tenant tous ensemble, de posséder le véritable aussi bien que celui qui, sans s’ arrêter à ce vil amas, porte la main sur la pierre choisie que l’ on recherche, et pour laquelle on ne jetait pas tout le reste.”

— Blaise Pascal, De l’Esprit Géométrique

La Pensée Sauvage

“….the crowning image of the kaleido­scope, lavishly analogized to the mythwork in a three-hundred-word iconic apotheosis that served to put the wraps on the sustained personification of “la pensée sauvage” in the figure of the bricoleur, in an argument developed across two chapters and some twenty pages in his [Claude Lévi-Strauss’s] most famous book….”

— Robert de Marrais in
Catastrophes, Kaleidoscopes,
String Quartets:
Deploying the Glass Bead Game

Pascal Sauvage


For more on pensée sauvage, see

“Claude Lévi-Strauss,


and the Ethnographic Journey.”

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Tuesday July 22, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:24 AM

Xmas in July

John Doe
his mark:

Today is the feast of
St. Mary Magdalene and
the birthday of Willem Dafoe.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Monday July 21, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:22 PM

Journalism 101:

Meet D. B. Norton

In this touching sequel to the 1941 Frank Capra classic “Meet John Doe,” the late, great Edward Arnold is replaced by media magnate Rupert Murdoch, publisher of Sun News.


Thousands of “D. B. Norton” clubs have sprung up around the world, inspired by the genius of D. B. Norton (Murdoch) in combining socialist appeals to “the people,” cunningly orchestrated by Labour Party head Tony Blair, with capitalist know-how, skillfully organized by U. S. President George Bush.

Threatening the success of the Norton clubs is troublemaker “John Doe,” a nobody who must be dealt with before a new day can dawn for humanity, with Murdoch leading both the masses of the East and the investors of the West into the glorious future.

Required reading:

  1. The Beijing Version,
    for the Masses
  2. The Tony Blair Version,
    for the Investors
  3. The Jayson Blair Version,
    for Aspiring Journalists
  4. The Troublemaker’s
    “Weapons of Mass Distraction”
    Version, for those few
    who prefer truth

Compare and contrast.

Monday July 21, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:40 PM

For Hemingway’s Birthday:
The Hong Kong


“Blair, on his first trip to China in five years, expressed his belief that the strengthened relationship between Britain and China would, beyond any doubt, continue to develop…”
People’s Daily, Beijing, July 21, 2003

“Now he’s poppin’ the piano just to raise the price of a ticket to the land of the free….”
— “Hong Kong Blues,”  sung by Hoagy Carmichael in “To Have and Have Not,” a film based on a Hemingway novel.

“The U.S. government repatriated on Monday 15 migrants from a Cuban government vessel that was taken illegally from Cuba…. The island’s communist government said the ship was hijacked and demanded the return of the occupants and the boat.”
Reuters, Miami, July 21, 2003, 1:08 PM ET

As a review at Amazon.com notes,

“The movie concerns a brave fishing-boat captain in World War II-era Martinique who aids the French Resistance, battles the Nazis, and gets the girl in the end. The novel concerns a broke fishing-boat captain who agrees to carry contraband between Cuba and Florida in order to feed his wife and daughters. Of the two, the novel is by far the darker, more complex work.”

Monday July 21, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:46 AM

Janet Reno’s Birthday:

It’s Not Just the Republicans

Waco, April 19, 1993

Miami, April 22, 2000

Years before the above actions,
Janet Reno’s legal style was already formed.

See Janet Reno’s Child Abuse.

None of the above seems to have made any impression on students at UC Berkeley, who invited Reno in 2001 to be a commencement speaker.

From an April 2001 UC Berkeley press release:

“Reno was among the most requested keynote speakers for Commencement Convocation in a survey taken last summer of more than 9,000 UC Berkeley students eligible to be seniors in fall 2001, said UC Berkeley senior Humaira Merchant.

Merchant cited Reno’s ‘liberal and progressive policies.’ “

Your kind of love drives a man insane.

Political-birthday postscript of 4:15 AM:

The New Yorker magazine, in its issue dated July 28, has caught up with a quote in my July 16 entry (“The Tailor of Washington,” for Rubén Blades’s birthday) on “faith-based policy.”  See “Faith-Based Intelligence,” by David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker.

Friday, July 18, 2003

Friday July 18, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:14 PM

Weapons of Mass Distraction

“Ironically, the Bush strategy seems to mimic the most recent James Bond flick….”

The Straits Times, Singapore, July 19

Whereas the Blair strategy…

Friday July 18, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 4:09 PM

Hideous Strength

On a Report from London:

Assuming rather prematurely that the body found in Oxfordshire today is that of David Kelly, Ministry of Defence germ-warfare expert and alleged leaker of information to the press, the Financial Times has the following:

“Mr Kelly’s death has stunned all the players involved in this drama, resembling as it does a fictitious political thriller.”

Financial Times, July 18,
   2003, 19:06 London time

I feel it resembles rather a fictitious religious thriller… Namely, That Hideous Strength, by C. S. Lewis.  The use of the word “idea” in my entries’ headlines yesterday was not accidental.  It is related to an occurrence of the word in Understanding: On Death and Truth, a set of journal entries from May 9-12.  The relevant passage on “ideas” is quoted there, within commentary by an Oberlin professor:

“That the truth we understand must be a truth we stand under is brought out nicely in C. S. Lewis’ That Hideous Strength when Mark Studdock gradually learns what an ‘Idea’ is. While Frost attempts to give Mark a ‘training in objectivity’ that will destroy in him any natural moral sense, and while Mark tries desperately to find a way out of the moral void into which he is being drawn, he discovers what it means to under-stand.

‘He had never before known what an Idea meant: he had always thought till now that they were things inside one’s own head. But now, when his head was continually attacked and often completely filled with the clinging corruption of the training, this Idea towered up above him-something which obviously existed quite independently of himself and had hard rock surfaces which would not give, surfaces he could cling to.’

This too, I fear, is seldom communicated in the classroom, where opinion reigns supreme. But it has important implications for the way we understand argument.”

— “On Bringing One’s Life to a Point,” by Gilbert Meilaender, First Things,  November 1994

The old philosophical conflict between realism and nominalism can, it seems, have life-and-death consequences.  I prefer Plato’s realism, with its “ideas,” such as the idea of seven-ness.  A reductio ad absurdum of nominalism may be found in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy under Realism:

“A certain kind of nominalist rejects the existence claim which the platonic realist makes: there are no abstract objects, so sentences such as ‘7 is prime’ are false….”

The claim that 7 is not prime is, regardless of its motives, dangerously stupid… A quality shared, it seems, by many in power these days.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Thursday July 17, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:07 PM

British Intelligence:


“The British intelligence that we had, we believe is genuine. We stand by that intelligence.”
— Tony Blair

Reuters, July 17, 2003, 6:12 PM ET

The ad at left, from reuters.com,
links to a website titled

Building an Intelligent Organisation.

The ad at right, from cullinane.com,
links to a website titled

cullinane: create communicate connect.

Note the four C’s.

Thursday July 17, 2003

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 7:59 AM

A Constant Idea: 759

From Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 1919:


AUTHOR: William Shakespeare
QUOTATION: I had rather have a fool to make me merry than experience to make me sad.
Act iv. Sc. 1.

"Plato has told you a truth; but Plato is dead. Shakespeare has startled you with an image; but Shakespeare will not startle you with any more. But imagine what it would be to live with such men still living, to know that Plato might break out with an original lecture tomorrow, or that at any moment Shakespeare might shatter everything with a single song. The man who lives in contact with what he believes to be a living Church is a man always expecting to meet Plato and Shakespeare tomorrow at breakfast. He is always expecting to see some truth that he has never seen before."

— G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy 

The number 759 is courtesy of Plato; the quotation 759 above is courtesy of Shakespeare.  The song that Shakespeare suggests is "A Day in the Life of a Fool."

Thursday July 17, 2003

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:23 AM

A Constant Idea

"From this I reach what I might call a philosophy; at any rate it is a constant idea of mine; that behind the cotton wool [of daily life] is hidden a pattern; that we — I mean all human beings — are connected with this; that the whole world is a work of art; that we are parts of the work of art. 'Hamlet' or a Beethoven quartet is the truth about this vast mass that we call the world. But there is no Shakespeare, there is no Beethoven; certainly and emphatically there is no God; we are the words; we are the music; we are the thing itself."

— Virginia Woolf, "A Sketch of the Past," 1939-40, in Moments of Being


Thursday July 17, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:20 AM

Rocket Billie

“Don’t threaten me with love, baby. Let’s just go walking in the rain.”

Billie Holiday, who died at 3:20 AM on July 17, 1959.

For more on death, summer, and Lady Day, see the film Rocket Gibraltar.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Wednesday July 16, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:04 AM

For Rubén Blades on his birthday:

The Tailor of Washington

From a review of The Tailor of Panama:

“Pendel believes in the imaginary world he has created and pretty soon, it becomes a reality to him.”

Bush and former chief speechwriter Mike Gerson

in TIME magazine, issue dated July 21, 2003. 

From Nashville City Paper, July 16, 2003:

“It is more and more clear, as former senior State Department official Greg Thielmann stated this week, that the Bush administration had a ‘faith-based policy’ on Iraq. They ‘believed’ Saddam was tied to bin Laden and still had weapons of mass destruction, so they manipulated or simply misstated the available evidence in order to make their case.”
— Bill Press

“Where is Evelyn Waugh when you need him?”
Roger Kimball  

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Tuesday July 15, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:30 PM

Bishop and Saint

Today is the birthday of Clement Clarke Moore, author of “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” also known as “The Night Before Christmas.”

Here is a biography of Moore:

Clement C. Moore

Here is a related biography:

Bishop Paul Moore of New York

Here is an attack on Clement Moore:

A Plagiarist and a Creep 

Here is a defense of Clement Moore:

Yes, Virginia, Moore Did Write It.

It seems the real creep here is Greg Hill.

First runner-up creep: Gerald McDaniel, whose Cultural Calendar for today has the following entries:

  • On this day in 1779, a New York City clergyman and avocational poet Clement Moore was born. His only work of note is the poem “A Visit from Saint Nicholas,” which gave us so many holiday icons. It turns out that scholarship now indicates that Moore, either intentionally or unintentionally, plagiarized the work, which was originally written by a Dutch-New York humorist. A lawsuit* eventually gave the original author’s family proprietary rights.
  • On this day in 1789, the electors of Paris set up a Commune to live without the authority of the government.
  • The Marseillaise was officially adopted as the French national anthem on this day in 1795. “Allons, citoyens!”

    Actually, the Marseillaise has “Aux armes, citoyens!” not “Allons, citoyens” as the self-described liberal McDaniel claims.  The former phrase goes well with the populist song lyrics of Jimmie Rodgers:

    “I’m gonna buy myself a shotgun,
     one with a long shiny barrel.”

    For more on Rodgers and shotguns, see my July 8 entry on the pursuit of happiness in Meridian, Mississippi, A Face in the Crowd.

    * I can find no other mention of any such lawsuit on the Web.  It seems to be a figment of McDaniel’s liberal imagination.

  • Monday, July 14, 2003

    Monday July 14, 2003

    Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 PM

    Funeral or Wedding?

    From the New York Times of

    Bastille Day, 2003:

    Isabelle d’Orléans et Bragance, 93, Dies;
    Was the Countess of Paris


    Isabelle d’Orléans et Bragance, Countess of Paris, who was married to a pretender to the throne of France, died on July 5 in Paris. She was 93.

    The countess was the widow of Henri, Count of Paris, whom many royalists wanted to become King Henri VI of France. He died in 1999, and the couple’s eldest son, also called Henri, claimed the title of Count of Paris and Duke of France, becoming the new pretender.

    Her full name was originally Isabel Marie Amélie Louise Victoire Thérèse Jeanne of Orléans and Bragana, or Bragance in French.

    The Countess was associated with the

    ville d’Eu in Haute-Normandie.

    The patron saint of the ville d’Eu is Lawrence O’Toole, also the patron saint of Dublin, Ireland.

    He is known in France as Saint Laurent, and here is a picture of his chapel near the ville d’Eu:

    Two pieces of music seem appropriate to memorialize both the dark and the bright sides of life on this Bastille Day.

    Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings was played at the funeral of Princess Grace of Monaco, and so should be sufficiently royal for the Comtesse de Paris.

    For the midi, click here.
    (Piano arrangement by Brian Robinson.)

    Cole Porter’s “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To,” originally sung (in a 1943 film) by Don Ameche, will serve to recall the bright side of life.  It was written after the 1931 Palermo wedding of the Comtesse but may, in a jazz arrangement, be pleasing to St. Norman J.  O’Connor, the jazz priest in my entry of July 5 — the date of death of the Comtesse, who may or may not have also been a saint.

    For the midi, click here.

    Now you has jazz.”
    Cole Porter, High Society

    Monday July 14, 2003

    Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:00 PM


    Sunday, July 13, 2003

    Sunday July 13, 2003

    Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 5:09 PM

    ART WARS, 5:09

    The Word in the Desert

    For Harrison Ford in the desert.
    (See previous entry.)

        Words strain,
    Crack and sometimes break,
        under the burden,
    Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
    Will not stay still. Shrieking voices
    Scolding, mocking, or merely chattering,
    Always assail them.
        The Word in the desert
    Is most attacked by voices of temptation,
    The crying shadow in the funeral dance,
    The loud lament of
        the disconsolate chimera.

    — T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets

    The link to the word "devilish" in the last entry leads to one of my previous journal entries, "A Mass for Lucero," that deals with the devilishness of postmodern philosophy.  To hammer this point home, here is an attack on college English departments that begins as follows:

    "William Faulkner's Snopes trilogy, which recounts the generation-long rise of the drily loathsome Flem Snopes from clerk in a country store to bank president in Jefferson, Mississippi, teems with analogies to what has happened to English departments over the past thirty years."

    For more, see

    The Word in the Desert,
    by Glenn C. Arbery

    See also the link on the word "contemptible," applied to Jacques Derrida, in my Logos and Logic page.

    This leads to an National Review essay on Derrida,

    The Philosopher as King,
    by Mark Goldblatt

    A reader's comment on my previous entry suggests the film "Scotland, PA" as viewing related to the Derrida/Macbeth link there.

    I prefer the following notice of a 7-11 death, that of a powerful art museum curator who would have been well cast as Lady Macbeth:

    Die Fahne Hoch,
    Frank Stella,

    Dorothy Miller,
    MOMA curator,

    died at 99 on
    July 11, 2003

    From the Whitney Museum site:

    "Max Anderson: When artist Frank Stella first showed this painting at The Museum of Modern Art in 1959, people were baffled by its austerity. Stella responded, 'What you see is what you see. Painting to me is a brush in a bucket and you put it on a surface. There is no other reality for me than that.' He wanted to create work that was methodical, intellectual, and passionless. To some, it seemed to be nothing more than a repudiation of everything that had come before—a rational system devoid of pleasure and personality. But other viewers saw that the black paintings generated an aura of mystery and solemnity.

    The title of this work, Die Fahne Hoch, literally means 'The banner raised.'  It comes from the marching anthem of the Nazi youth organization. Stella pointed out that the proportions of this canvas are much the same as the large flags displayed by the Nazis.

    But the content of the work makes no reference to anything outside of the painting itself. The pattern was deduced from the shape of the canvas—the width of the black bands is determined by the width of the stretcher bars. The white lines that separate the broad bands of black are created by the narrow areas of unpainted canvas. Stella's black paintings greatly influenced the development of Minimalism in the 1960s."

    From Play It As It Lays:

       She took his hand and held it.  "Why are you here."
       "Because you and I, we know something.  Because we've been out there where nothing is.  Because I wanted—you know why."
       "Lie down here," she said after a while.  "Just go to sleep."
       When he lay down beside her the Seconal capsules rolled on the sheet.  In the bar across the road somebody punched King of the Road on the jukebox again, and there was an argument outside, and the sound of a bottle breaking.  Maria held onto BZ's hand.
       "Listen to that," he said.  "Try to think about having enough left to break a bottle over it."
       "It would be very pretty," Maria said.  "Go to sleep."

    I smoke old stogies I have found…    

    Cigar Aficionado on artist Frank Stella:

    " 'Frank actually makes the moment. He captures it and helps to define it.'

    This was certainly true of Stella's 1958 New York debut. Fresh out of Princeton, he came to New York and rented a former jeweler's shop on Eldridge Street on the Lower East Side. He began using ordinary house paint to paint symmetrical black stripes on canvas. Called the Black Paintings, they are credited with paving the way for the minimal art movement of the 1960s. By the fall of 1959, Dorothy Miller of The Museum of Modern Art had chosen four of the austere pictures for inclusion in a show called Sixteen Americans."

    For an even more austere picture, see

    Geometry for Jews:

    For more on art, Derrida, and devilishness, see Deborah Solomon's essay in the New York Times Magazine of Sunday, June 27, 1999:

     How to Succeed in Art.

    "Blame Derrida and
    his fellow French theorists…."

    See, too, my site

    Art Wars: Geometry as Conceptual Art

    For those who prefer a more traditional meditation, I recommend

    Ecce Lignum Crucis

    ("Behold the Wood of the Cross")


    For more on the word "road" in the desert, see my "Dead Poet" entry of Epiphany 2003 (Tao means road) as well as the following scholarly bibliography of road-related cultural artifacts (a surprising number of which involve Harrison Ford):

    A Bibliography of Road Materials

    Sunday July 13, 2003

    Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:13 AM

    Ground Zero

    Today’s birthday: Harrison Ford is 61.

                 From The Gag

    Seven – Eleven Dice 

    Throw a seven or eleven every time. Set consists of a pair of regular dice and another set that can’t miss. A product of the S. S. Adams Company. Make your friends and family laugh with this great prank!

     New York State Lottery:

    7-11 Evening Number: 000.

    From the conclusion of
    Joan Didion’s 1970 novel
    Play It As It Lays: 

    “I know what ‘nothing’ means,
    and keep on playing.”

    From a review of the 1970 film Zabriskie Point:

    “The real star of Zabriskie Point… is the desolate, parched-white landscape of Death Valley….”

    For Harrison Ford and Zabriskie Point, see

    Harrison Ford – Le Site En Français

    The Harrison Ford of the 1970 film Zabriskie Point and the “Harrison Porter” of the 1970 novel Play It As It Lays may not be completely unrelated.

    For the religious significance of the names “Porter” and “BZ” in Play It As It Lays, see both the devilish site

    A Wake-Macbeth Intertext:

    “Both ‘porter’ and ‘belzey babble’ operate as textual ‘grafts’ and ‘hinges’ …”

    and the Princeton site

    Macbeth, Act II, Scene 3

    {Enter a Porter. Knocking within}

    1. Here’s a knocking indeed!
        If a man were porter
    2. of hell-gate he should have old
        turning the key.{Knock within}
    3. Knock, knock, knock. Who’s there,
        i’ th’ name of
    4. Beelzebub?

    Saturday, July 12, 2003

    Saturday July 12, 2003

    Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:23 PM

    Before and After

    From Understanding the (Net) Wake:



    “Its importance in establishing the identities in the writer complexus….will be best appreciated by never forgetting that both before and after the Battle of the Boyne it was a habit not to sign letters always.”(114)

    Joyce shows an understanding of the problems that an intertextual book like the Wake poses for the notion of authorship.

    G. H. Hardy in A Mathematician’s Apology:

    “We do not want many ‘variations’ in the proof of a mathematical theorem: ‘enumeration of cases,’ indeed, is one of the duller forms of mathematical argument.  A mathematical proof should resemble a simple and clear-cut constellation, not a scattered cluster in the Milky Way.

    A chess problem also has unexpectedness, and a certain economy; it is essential that the moves should be surprising, and that every piece on the board should play its part.  But the aesthetic effect is cumulative.  It is essential also (unless the problem is too simple to be really amusing) that the key-move should be followed by a good many variations, each requiring its own individual answer.  ‘If P-B5 then Kt-R6; if …. then …. ; if …. then ….’ — the effect would be spoilt if there were not a good many different replies.  All this is quite genuine mathematics, and has its merits; but it just that ‘proof by enumeration of cases’ (and of cases which do not, at bottom, differ at all profoundly*) which a real mathematician tends to despise.

    * I believe that is now regarded as a merit in a problem that there should be many variations of the same type.”

    (Cambridge at the University Press.  First edition, 1940.)

    Brian Harley in Mate in Two Moves:

    “It is quite true that variation play is, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, the soul of a problem, or (to put it more materially) the main course of the solver’s banquet, but the Key is the cocktail that begins the proceedings, and if it fails in piquancy the following dinner is not so satisfactory as it should be.”

    (London, Bell & Sons.  First edition, 1931.)

    Saturday July 12, 2003

    Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 AM


    From my entry of Epiphany 2003,

    Dead Poet in the City of Angels:

    Certain themes recur in these entries.  To describe such recurrent themes, in art and in life, those enamoured of metaphors from physics may ponder the phrase “implicate order.”

    For an illustration of at least part of the implicate order, click here .

    On this, the day when Orangemen parade in Northern Ireland, it seems appropriate to expand on the two links I cited last Epiphany.

    For the implicate order and Finnegans Wake, see sections 33 and 34 of

    Understanding the (Net) Wake.

    The second link in the box above is to the Chi-Rho page in the Book of Kells.  For a commentary on the structure of this page and the structure of Finnegans Wake, see

    James Joyce’s Whirling Mandala.

    Friday, July 11, 2003

    Friday July 11, 2003

    Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:23 PM

    Father, Son,
    and Holy Coast

    Here are some religious meditations for the holy day 7-11:

    As the website Hollywood Jesus perceptively points out, defending the story theory of truth, “Images that carry universal truths move us from the mundane to the sacred.  Jesus knew this when he spoke in parables.”

    Here is a parable about my own name.

    The Hollywood Jesus site tries to connect the cross of Christ, “holy wood,” with Hollywood by claiming that the words “holly” and “holy” are cognate.

    See Hollywood and the Cross.

    From the Online Etymology Dictionary

    holly – O.E. holegn, from P.Gmc. *khuli-.

    holy – O.E. halig “holy,” from P.Gmc. *khailagas. Adopted at conversion for L. sanctus. Primary meaning may have been “that must be preserved whole or intact, that cannot be transgressed or violated,” which would connect it with O.E. hal (see whole).

    This shows that the holly-holy connection is, pace Neil Diamond, like nearly every other Christian claim, a damned lie.

    Connoisseurs of junk culture may enjoy
    a midi of Neil Diamond as background
    for this Hollywood Jesus.

    Here is a different Hollywood etymology that may be somewhat truer.

    From the RootsWeb.com archives:

    Re: CULLINANE-HOLLYWOOD-holly tree

    “Cullen in Irish is Ó Cuillin (holly tree). …  This astonishingly simple name has worked its way through an astonishing number of variations including Cullion, Culhoun, MacCullen and Cullinane. …

    In a message dated 6/5/01 8:24:18 PM Pacific Daylight Time, lawlerc@aol.comnojunk writes:

    ‘I do not have the surname in my family, but while looking at the Old Age Pension applications for the Barony of Strabane Upper, in the County of Tyrone, there was a notation that

    the English equivalent of the surname CULLINANE is HOLLYWOOD.‘ “

    Friday July 11, 2003

    Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:00 PM

    Las Manos de Gershwin

    Today is the feast day of St. George Gershwin.

    The hands of
    George Gershwin,
    by Al Hirschfeld

    For related material, see

    Saint Nicholas vs. Mount Doom and

    Leadbelly Under the Volcano.

    See also related material on Judaism and on Lord of the Rings in this morning’s links to the Conference of Catholic Bishops and to Stormfront.org.

    More on the film “Las Manos de Orlac” discussed briefly in the Under the Volcano link above:

    Facetious:  Digits of Death

    Serious:  Under the Volcano: A Dissertation.

    From the latter —

    “The ubiquitous posters advertising the 1935 MGM film Mad Love,

    advertised in Spanish as Las Manos de Orlac [The Hands of Orlac]…  reiterates this theme. … Moreover, the current showings of Las Manos de Orlac represent a revival, the film having been shown in Quauhnahuac a year or so before. A ‘revival’ is literally a return to life….”

    Recall where the letters of transit in Casablanca were hidden.

    Friday July 11, 2003

    Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 6:00 AM

    Links for St. Benedict

    Today is the feast of St. Benedict.

    Here is a link from the left:

    The Trial of Depleted Uranium,
    by Saint Philip Berrigan

    Here is a link from the right:

    On a Preview of “The Passion,”
    a film by Saint Mel Gibson

    Both Berrigan and Gibson are devout  Catholics.  (I use the present tense for Berrigan, though he is dead, since, as a saint, he is not very dead.)  Both are worthy of respect, and should be listened to carefully, even though the religion they espouse is that of Hitler and Torquemada.


    For more details, see sites related to the above links…. Click on either of the logos below — on the left, a Jewish meditation from the Conference of Catholic Bishops; on the right, an Aryan meditation from Stormfront.org.


    Both logos represent different embodiments of the “story theory” of truth, as opposed to the “diamond theory” of truth.  Both logos claim, in their own ways, to represent the eternal Logos of the Christian religion.  I personally prefer the “diamond theory” of truth, represented by the logo below.

    Thursday, July 10, 2003

    Thursday July 10, 2003

    Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:29 PM

    Cut to Condon

    From today’s New York Times:

    California Postpones
    Exit Exam


    aced with failure rates that could bar tens of thousands of students from graduating, the California State Board of Education voted yesterday to postpone the consequences of its high school exit exam for two years….

    The reprieve in California is the latest example of the reticence some states have shown when it comes time to impose the significant consequences of the testing movement they have pushed so avidly in recent years. More than two dozen states now have some form of make-or-break exams.

    Break.  Cut to Condon.

    Recommended reading and viewing:

    Winter Kills, a novel by Richard Condon.

    Winter Kills,” a film based on the novel.

    From a review of the film:

    “Winter Kills‘s storytelling style is the narrative equivalent of throwing a bag over the audience’s head and pushing it down some dark stairs.”

    Exactly the style needed for the California State Board of Education.

    Wednesday, July 9, 2003

    Wednesday July 9, 2003

    Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:17 PM

    T is for Texas

    Gimme a T for Texas
    — Jimmie Rodgers

    T is for Texas” — Anne Bustard,
    University of Texas at Austin

    “From 1928 to 1933
    he was chairman of the
    Mount Rushmore
    National Memorial Committee.”
    Handbook of Texas Online
    on Joseph Stephen Cullinan,
    founder of Texaco

    “‘Is this Hell? Or is this Texas?”
    Job: A Comedy of Justice 

    Tuesday, July 8, 2003

    Tuesday July 8, 2003

    Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:04 PM

    A Face in the Crowd

    Six Dead in Mississippi Shooting 

    “I’m gonna buy myself a shotgun,
     one with a long shiny barrel

    Jimmie Rodgers,
       “Father of Country Music,”
       “T for Texas” lyrics

    Related material:

    Jimmie Rodgers Museum, Meridian, MS

    East Mississippi Insane Hospital, Meridian, MS

    Location of East Mississippi Insane Hospital

    Peace is Hell” — TIME, issue dated July 14, 2003

    Gen. Sherman: ‘Meridian no longer exists!’  Well, he was wrong.” — Meridian Public Library

    Monday, July 7, 2003

    Monday July 7, 2003

    Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:11 PM

    “Peace is Hell”

    — Cover headline, TIME magazine,
    issue dated July 14 (Bastille Day), 2003.

    Yeah, and ________ (fill in the blank)
    is the Father of Lies.

    Monday July 7, 2003

    Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:30 PM

    Burying Andrew Heiskell

    Matthew Book 8:

    21 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
    22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

    Andrew Heiskell, former chairman and CEO of TIME, Inc., died on Sunday, July 6, 2003.

    The nauseating mixture of piety and warmongering instituted by Henry Luce continued under Heiskell in the Vietnam years, and continues today online, with a pious quotation from Mel Gibson and a cover headline, "Peace is Hell."

    A search for a Heiskell eulogy at TIME.com yields the following "quote of the week":

    "The Holy Ghost was working through me on this film, and I was just directing traffic." — Mel Gibson

    Recent TIME traffic included covers on Ben Franklin, Crusaders, and Harry Potter.


    July 7

    June 30

    June 23

    How Mel would direct this traffic is not clear.

    He would do well to pray, not to the ghost he calls holy, but to the ghost of T. S. Matthews, which may be summoned by clicking on the "jazz priest" link in yesterday's entry, "Happy Trails."  Matthews, who succeeded Luce as editor of TIME, can be trusted to dispose of Heiskell's immortal soul with intelligence and taste, in accordance with the company policy of Jesus quoted above.

    Should Militant Mel require more spiritual guidance, he might consult my entry of May 27, 2003, which seems appropriate on this, the birthday of storyteller Robert A. Heinlein, author of Job: A Comedy of Justice.

    Sunday, July 6, 2003

    Sunday July 6, 2003

    Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:14 PM

    Happy Trails

    Today is the birthday of Texans Nanci Griffith and George W. Bush.  It is also the feast day of Saint Roy Rogers and the alleged saint Thomas More.

    Seeking spiritual guidance from the life of Paulist "jazz priest" Norman J. O'Connor (see previous entry), who worked at a rehab called "Straight and Narrow," I did a Google search on "Nanci Griffith" + "Straight and Narrow."  At the top of the resulting list was a website that might have pleased Saint Roy:

    Welcome to the Wild West Show!

    Happy trails, indeed.

    Saturday, July 5, 2003

    Saturday July 5, 2003

    Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 7:21 PM

    My Dear Gropius

    “What is space, how can it be understood and given a form?”
    — Walter Gropius


    Stoicheia,” Elements, is the title of
    Euclid’s treatise on geometry.

    Stoicheia is apparently also related to a Greek verb meaning “march” or “walk.”

    According to a website on St. Paul’s phrase ta stoicheia tou kosmou,” which might be translated

    The Elements of the Cosmos,

    “… the verbal form of the root stoicheo was used to mean, ‘to be in a line,’ ‘to march in rank and file.’ … The general meaning of the noun form (stoicheion) was ‘what belongs to a series.’ “

    As noted in my previous entry, St. Paul used a form of stoicheo to say “let us also walk (stoichomen) by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25) The lunatic ravings* of Saul of Tarsus aside, the concepts of walking, of a spirit, and of elements may be combined if we imagine the ghost of Gropius strolling with the ghosts of Plato, Aristotle, and Euclid, and posing his question about space.  Their reply might be along the following lines:

    Combining stoicheia with a peripatetic peripateia (i.e., Aristotelian plot twist), we have the following diagram of Aristotle’s four stoicheia (elements),

    which in turn is related, by the “Plato’s diamond” figure in the monograph Diamond Theory, to the Stoicheia, or Elements, of Euclid.

    Quod erat demonstrandum.

    * A phrase in memory of the Paulist Norman J. O’Connor, the “jazz priest” who died on St. Peter’s day, Sunday, June 29, 2003.  Paulists are not, of course, entirely mad; the classic The Other Side of Silence: A Guide to Christian Meditation, by the Episcopal priest Morton Kelsey, was published by the Paulist Press.

    Its cover (above), a different version of the four-elements theme, emphasizes the important Jungian concept of quaternity.  Jung is perhaps the best guide to the bizarre world of Christian symbolism.  It is perhaps ironic, although just, that the Paulist Fathers should distribute a picture of “ta stoicheia tou kosmou,” the concept that St. Paul himself railed against.

    The above book by Kelsey should not be confused with another The Other Side of Silence, a work on gay history, although confusion would be understandable in light of recent ecclesiastical revelations.

    Let us pray that if there is a heaven, Father O’Connor encounters there his fellow music enthusiast Cole Porter rather than the obnoxious Saul of Tarsus.

    Saturday July 5, 2003

    Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:44 PM

    He Walks With Me

    “Bonus question of the night (what Chris Culter would call the ‘Person of the Day’ award): Can anyone tell me, without looking it up (don’t cheat, seriously, I want to know), what the word ‘peripatetic’ means?”

    EmilyMuse, 11:24 PM July 4, 2003 

    See EmilyMuse’s site for my answer.  Her reply on July 5: “Person of the Day is you!”

    My response:

    More Boring Details
    of Greek Etymology

    Thank you for your comment.

    From a website on theology:

    “By the fourth century B.C, the verbal form of the root stoicheo was used to mean, ‘to be in a line,’ ‘to march in rank and file.’ The New Testament usage of the verb stoicheo retains an element of this usage in the five times that it is used.* The general meaning of the noun form (stoicheion) was ‘what belongs to a series.’ “

    *For instance, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk (stoichomen) by the Spirit,” Galatians 5:25.

    These remarks, together with my July 5 entry “Elements,” which contains the (implied) Eagles’ verse “We haven’t had that spirit here since 1969,” suggest that not I, but Walter Gropius, should be today’s Person of the Day.  

    Documentation of my answer to Emily, “walking around,” from the site Aristotle:

    “Aristotle’s school, his philosophy, and his followers were called peripatetic, which in Greek means ‘walking around,’ because Aristotle taught walking with his students.”

    Saturday July 5, 2003

    Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 4:17 AM


    In memory of Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus and head of the Harvard Graduate School of Design.  Gropius died on this date in 1969.  He said that

    "The objective of all creative effort in the visual arts is to give form to space. … But what is space, how can it be understood and given a form?"

    "Alle bildnerische Arbeit will Raum gestalten. … Was ist Raum, wie können wir ihn erfassen und gestalten?"


    — "The Theory and Organization
    of the Bauhaus
    " (1923)

    I designed the following logo for my Diamond Theory site early this morning before reading in a calendar that today is the date of Gropius's death.  Hence the above quote.

    "And still those voices are calling
    from far away…"
    — The Eagles


    ("Stoicheia," Elements, is the title of
    Euclid's treatise on geometry.)

    Friday, July 4, 2003

    Friday July 4, 2003

    Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 AM


    Today many Americans celebrate a declaration of certain “self-evident” truths.  Others feel that these alleged “truths” are misleading.  Seeking a worthy opponent for the authors of the Declaration on this secular holy day, I settled on the following recently published book, a sort of Declaration of Dependence of government on God (an imaginary entity who speaks only through politicians, clergymen, and other liars):

    Christian Faith
    and Modern Democracy:

    God and Politics in the Fallen World
    By Robert P. Kraynak
    Univ. of Notre Dame Press. 304p
    $49.95 (cloth) $24.95 (paper)

    From a review in the Dec. 24, 2001, issue of America, a Jesuit publication:

    “The author, who identifies himself as a practicing Catholic, asserts that Christianity is weakened by its close alliance with the contemporary version of democracy and human rights…. 

    The author states that ‘modern liberal democracy…subverts in practice the dignity of man.’  He defends his thesis relentlessly and persuasively…. 

    Some readers of this well-organized volume will be disappointed that the author makes no mention of the four billion non-Christians among the world’s 6.1 billion inhabitants. The four billion Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists must be included in any attempt to make the modern state responsive to traditional and generally accepted norms of morality.”

    — Robert F. Drinan, S.J.

    Jefferson would probably appreciate Drinan’s remark on catholic (i.e., universal, or “generally accepted”) norms.

    The “traditional and generally accepted norms of morality” Drinan mentions are discussed ably by Christian apologist C. S. Lewis in his book The Abolition of Man, which argues for the existence of a universal moral code that I am pleased to note he calls, rightly, the Tao.  As an Amazon.com reviewer notes, Lewis uses this term in the manner of Confucius rather than that of Lao Tsu.  I prefer the latter. 

    For details, see the Tao Te Ching, (The Way and Its Power).  This is a far more holy scripture than the collections of lies called sacred by most other religions.  Both the leftist Jefferson and the rightist Kraynak wrongly assume that talk of a “Creator” means something.  It does not.  Classical Chinese thought is free from this absurd Western error.  Lewis at least had the grace to acknowledge the importance of non-Western thought, though he himself was unable to escape the lies of Christianity.

    Thursday, July 3, 2003

    Thursday July 3, 2003

    Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:14 PM


    On July 2, in various years, authors

    • Ernest Hemingway,
    • Mario Puzo, and
    • Vladimir Nabokov

    died.  They may serve as a sort of Trinity for those who admire excellence in style, character, and art.

    Quotations from Papa Hemingway that seem relevant to yesterday’s entry:

    “Madame, all stories, if continued far enough, end in death, and he is no true-story teller who would keep that from you.”
    — Ernest Hemingway,
       Death in the Afternoon, Ch. 11

    “There is never any ending to Paris….”
    — Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast


    See also entries of Sept. 27, 2002.

    Wednesday, July 2, 2003

    Wednesday July 2, 2003

    Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 PM

    Three Days Late
    and a Dollar Short

    By James Wood.
    257 pp. New York:
    Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $24. 

    This is a book that attempts to recreate the myth of Saint Peter.

    See the New York Times review of this book from today, July 2, 2003, three days late.  The Feast of St. Peter was on June 29.

    The price, $24, also falls short of the theological glory reflected in the number 25, the common denominator of Christmas (12/25) and AntiChristmas (6/25), as well as the number of the heart of the Catholic church, the Bingo card

    For all these issues, see my entries and links in memory of St. Peter, from June 29

    The real “book against God,” a novel by Robert Stone, is cited there.  The legend of St. Peter is best described by Stone, not Wood.

    Tuesday, July 1, 2003

    Tuesday July 1, 2003

    Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 5:37 PM

    Jew’s on First

    This entry is dedicated to those worshippers of Allah who have at one time or another cried
    Itbah al-Yahud!” … Kill the Jew!
    (See June 29 entries).

    Dead at 78

    Comedian Buddy Hackett died on Tuesday, July First, 2003, according to the New York Times.  According to Bloomberg.com, he died Sunday or Monday.

    Associated Press

    Buddy Hackett,
    on the set of
    “It’s a Mad, Mad,
    Mad, Mad
    in 1962.

    Whatever.  We may imagine he has now walked, leading a parade of many other stand-up saints, into a bar.

    Hepburn at Chaillot

    for Buddy Hackett

    From my May 25 entry,

    Matrix of the Death God:

    R. M. Abraham’s Diversions and Pastimes, published by Constable and Company, London, in 1933, has the following magic square:

    The Matrix of Abraham

    A summary of the religious import of the above from Princeton University Press:

    “Moslems of the Middle Ages were fascinated by pandiagonal squares with 1 in the center…. The Moslems thought of the central 1 as being symbolic of the unity of Allah.  Indeed, they were so awed by that symbol that they often left blank the central cell on which the 1 should be positioned.”

    — Clifford A. Pickover, The Zen of Magic Squares, Circles, and Stars, Princeton U. Press, 2002, pp. 71-72

    Other appearances of this religious icon on the Web include:

    On Linguistic Creation

    Picasso’s Birthday

    1991 Yearbook
    Rolling Stone


    In the Picasso’s Birthday version, 22 of the 25 magic square cells are correlated with pictures on the “Class of ’91” cover of Rolling Stone magazine.  Number 7 is Rod Stewart.  In accordance with the theological rhyme “Seven is heaven, eight is a gate,” our site music for today is “Forever Young,” a tune made famous by Stewart.

    Roderick, actually   the name of the hero in “Madwoman of Chaillot”

    Powered by WordPress