Monday, May 31, 2004

Monday May 31, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 PM

Language Games:

Now You’re Playing
with Power

My latest preoccupation…

Using search-and-replace programs to reformat earlier Xanga entries.  This involves the use of “regular expressions,” which lead to the following thoughts….

It seems that pure mathematics (i.e., the theory of finite automata) is not without relevance even in very practical data formatting problems.  One of the first math books I ever bought — perhaps the very first —was  Automata Studies (Princeton’s Annals of Mathematics Studies, No. 34, 1956).  This book, which I still have, begins with an essay by Stephen Cole Kleene.

Kleene’s legacy includes regular expressions and Kleene’s theorem.  For further details, see

Notes on
Formal Language Theory
and Parsing

James Power

Department of Computer Science
Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland.

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/images/021221-power2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Click on picture
for details.

Here’s more on
language games and robot wisdom
from an authority on James Joyce,

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Thursday May 27, 2004

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:10 AM


On the poetry of Geoffrey Hill:

"… why read him? Because of the things he writes about—war and peace and sacrifice, and the search for meaning and the truths of the heart, and for that haunting sense that, in spite of war and terror and the indifferences that make up our daily hells, there really is some grander reality, some ineluctable presence we keep touching. There remains in Hill the daunting possibility that it may actually all cohere in the end, or at least enough of it to keep us searching for more.

There is a hard edge to Hill, a strong Calvinist streak in him, and an intelligence that reminds one of Milton….."

— Paul Mariani, review in America of Geoffrey Hill's The Orchards of Syon

"Hello! Kinch here. Put me on to Edenville. Aleph, alpha: nought, nought, one." 

"A very short space of time through very short times of space…. Am I walking into eternity along Sandymount strand?"

James Joyce, Ulysses, Proteus chapter

"Time has been unfolded into space."

James O. Coplien, Bell Labs

"Pattern and symmetry are closely related."

James O. Coplien on Symmetry Breaking

"… as the critic S. L. Goldberg puts it, 'the chapter explores the Protean transformations of matter in time . . . apprehensible only in the condition of flux . . . as object . . . and Stephen himself, as subject. In the one aspect Stephen is seeking the principles of change and the underlying substance of sensory experience; in the other, he is seeking his self among its temporal manifestations'….

— Goldberg, S.L. 'Homer and the Nightmare of History.' Modern Critical Views: James Joyce. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1986. 21-38."

from the Choate site of David M. Loeb

In summary:


James Joyce


See also Time Fold.

(By the way, Jorn Barger seems
to have emerged from seclusion.)


Saturday, May 22, 2004

Saturday May 22, 2004

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 3:00 PM

A Form

John Leonard in the June 10, 2004, New York Review of Books, on E. L. Doctorow:

"… he's got urgent things to say and seeks some form to say them in, or a form that will tease and torture secret meanings out of what he thinks he already knows, or a form, like a wishing well, down which to dream, scream, or drown."

48. The Well

The Judgment

The Well. The town may be changed,
But the well cannot be changed.
It neither decreases nor increases.
They come and go and draw from the well.
If one gets down almost to the water
And the rope does not go all the way,
Or the jug breaks, it brings misfortune.

From the Book of Ecclesiastes 12:6

or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern

From Chuck Polisher's I Ching Lexicon:

See also the following form, discussed in

Balanchine's Birthday
(1/9/03) and in

Art Theory
for Yom Kippur


Saturday May 22, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:14 AM

Star Wars

In memory of Melvin J. Lasky, editor, 1958-1990, of the CIA-funded journal Encounter:

“Once called as lively, and as bitchy, as a literary cocktail party, Encounter published articles of unrivalled authority on politics, history and literature.”

— Obituary in the Telegraph 

Lasky died on Wednesday, May 19, 2004.  From a journal entry of my own on that date:

This newly-digitized diagram is from a
paper journal note of October 21, 1999.

Note that the diagram’s overall form is that of an eight-point star.  Here is an excerpt from a Fritz Leiber story dealing with such a star, the symbol of a fictional organization:

Time traveling, which is not quite the good clean boyish fun it’s cracked up to be, started for me when this woman with the sigil on her forehead looked in on me from the open doorway of the hotel bedroom where I’d hidden myself and the bottles and asked me, “Look, Buster, do you want to live?”

Her right arm was raised and bent, the elbow touching the door frame, the hand brushing back the very dark bangs from her forehead to show me the sigil, as if that had a bearing on her question.

The sigil was an eight-limbed asterisk made of fine dark lines and about as big as a silver dollar.  An X superimposed on a plus sign.  It looked permanent.

… “Here is how it stacks up:  You’ve bought your way with something other than money into an organization of which I am an agent….”

“It’s a very big organization,” she went on, as if warning me.  “Call it an empire or a power if you like.  So far as you are concerned, it has always existed and always will exist.  It has agents everywhere, literally.  Space and time are no barriers to it.  Its purpose, so far as you will ever be able to know it, is to change, for its own aggrandizement, not only the present and the future, but also the past.  It is a ruthlessly competitive organization and is merciless to its employees.”

“I. G. Farben?” I asked grabbing nervously and clumsily at humor.

She didn’t rebuke my flippancy, but said, “And it isn’t the Communist Party or the Ku Klux Klan, or the Avenging Angels or the Black Hand, either, though its enemies give it a nastier name.”

“Which is?” I asked.

“The Spiders,” she said.

That word gave me the shudders, coming so suddenly.  I expected the sigil to step off her forehead and scuttle down her face and leap at me—something like that.

She watched me.  “You might call it the Double Cross,” she suggested, “if that seems better.”

— Fritz Leiber,
   “Damnation Morning,” 1959

From last year’s entry,
Indiana Jones and the Hidden Coffer,
of 6/14:

From Borges’s “The Aleph“:

“The Faithful who gather at the mosque of Amr, in Cairo, are acquainted with the fact that the entire universe lies inside one of the stone pillars that ring its central court…. The mosque dates from the seventh century; the pillars come from other temples of pre-Islamic religions…. Does this Aleph exist in the heart of a stone?”

(“Los fieles que concurren a la mezquita de Amr, en el Cairo, saben muy bien que el universo está en el interior de una de las columnas de piedra que rodean el patio central…. la mezquita data del siglo VII; las columnas proceden de otros templos de religiones anteislámicas…. ¿Existe ese Aleph en lo íntimo de una piedra?”)

From The Hunchback of Notre Dame:

Un cofre de gran riqueza
Hallaron dentro un pilar,
Dentro del, nuevas banderas
Con figuras de espantar.

A coffer of great richness
In a pillar’s heart they found,
Within it lay new banners,
With figures to astound.

See also the figures obtained by coloring and permuting parts of the above religious symbol.

Lena Olin and Harrison Ford
in “Hollywood Homicide

Finally, from an excellent site
on the Knights Templar,
a quotation from Umberto Eco:

When all the archetypes burst out shamelessly, we plumb the depths of Homeric profundity. Two cliches make us laugh but a hundred cliches move us because we sense dimly that the cliches are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion . . . Just as the extreme of pain meets sensual pleasure, and the extreme of perversion borders on mystical energy, so too the extreme of banality allows us to catch a glimpse of the Sublime.

— “Casablanca: Cult Movies and Intertextual Collage” (1984) from Travels in Hyperreality

Friday, May 21, 2004

Friday May 21, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:45 PM

Theme and Variations 

“Por ejemplo, con las posibles secuencias de sólo cuatro letras diferentes: A, R, O y M obtenemos cinco palabras con significados completamente distintos: MORA, ROMA, AMOR, RAMO y OMAR.”

El Genoma Humano,
by Ricardo Tapia

For a deeper meditation on the genetic implications of four-letter words, see
the link to Richard Powers’s work at
Theme and Variations.

I personally prefer the following
selection of four-letter words:

The significance of these
words may be found
via these links:


Click on pictures
for further details.

For the essence and the end
Of his labor is beauty… 
one beauty, the rhythm of that Wheel

Robinson Jeffers,
“Point Pinos and Point Lobos”

Friday May 21, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:26 AM

Parable, Part II

The juxtaposition in this morning’s Google news of the two wedding stories below calls for some commentary.  The best I can do is the illustrations above the wedding stories, along with a link to some of the best Romani music I have ever heard, from

La Perla de Cadiz.

See also this morning’s comments
on a May 24, 2003, entry
regarding the Dark Lady,
as well as the following
classic remarks by Jack Kerouac:

“So what do we all do in this life which comes on so much like an empty voidness yet warns us that we will die in pain, decay, old age, horror—?  Hemingway called it a dirty trick.  It might even be an ancient Ordeal laid down on us by an evil Inquisitor in Space, like the ordeal of the sieve and scissors, or even the water ordeal where they dump you in the water with toes tied to thumbs, O God— Only Lucifer could be so mean and I am Lucifer and I’m not that mean, in fact Lucifer goes to Heaven— The warm lips against warm necks in beds all over the world trying to get out of the dirty Ordeal by Death—

When Ben and I sober up I say ‘How goes it with all that horror everywhere?’

‘It’s Mother Kali dancing around to eat up everything she gave birth to, eats it right back—  She wears dazzling dancing jewels and covered all over with silks and decorations and feathers, her dance maddens men, the only part of her aint covered is her vagina which is surrounded with a Mandala Crown of jade, lapis lazuli, cornelean, red pearls and mother of pearl.’

‘No diamonds.’

‘No, that’s beyond…’ “

Desolation Angels,
1960-65, Book Two, Chapter 79

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Thursday May 20, 2004

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 7:00 AM


“A comparison or analogy. The word is simply a transliteration of the Greek word: parabolé (literally: ‘what is thrown beside’ or ‘juxtaposed’), a term used to designate the geometric application we call a ‘parabola.’….  The basic parables are extended similes or metaphors.”


“If one style of thought stands out as the most potent explanation of genius, it is the ability to make juxtapositions that elude mere mortals.  Call it a facility with metaphor, the ability to connect the unconnected, to see relationships to which others are blind.”

Sharon Begley, “The Puzzle of Genius,” Newsweek magazine, June 28, 1993, p. 50

“The poet sets one metaphor against another and hopes that the sparks set off by the juxtaposition will ignite something in the mind as well. Hopkins’ poem ‘Pied Beauty’ has to do with ‘creation.’ “

Speaking in Parables, Ch. 2, by Sallie McFague

“The Act of Creation is, I believe, a more truly creative work than any of Koestler’s novels….  According to him, the creative faculty in whatever form is owing to a circumstance which he calls ‘bisociation.’ And we recognize this intuitively whenever we laugh at a joke, are dazzled by a fine metaphor, are astonished and excited by a unification of styles, or ‘see,’ for the first time, the possibility of a significant theoretical breakthrough in a scientific inquiry. In short, one touch of genius—or bisociation—makes the whole world kin. Or so Koestler believes.”

— Henry David Aiken, The Metaphysics of Arthur Koestler, New York Review of Books, Dec. 17, 1964

For further details, see

Speaking in Parables:
A Study in Metaphor and Theology

by Sallie McFague

Fortress Press, Philadelphia, 1975

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7

“Perhaps every science must start with metaphor and end with algebra; and perhaps without metaphor there would never have been any algebra.”

— attributed, in varying forms (1, 2, 3), to Max Black, Models and Metaphors, 1962

For metaphor and algebra combined, see

“Symmetry invariance in a diamond ring,” A.M.S. abstract 79T-A37, Notices of the Amer. Math. Soc., February 1979, pages A-193, 194 — the original version of the 4×4 case of the diamond theorem.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Wednesday May 19, 2004

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 2:00 PM


In memory of Lynn H. Loomis:

The above diagram is from a
(paper) journal note of October 21, 1999.

It pictures the relationship of my own discovery, diamond theory (at center), to the field, harmonic analysis, of Professor Loomis, a writer whose style I have long admired.

A quotation from the 1999 note:

"…it is not impossible to draw a fairly sharp dividing line between our mental disposition in the case of esthetic response and that of the responses of ordinary life.  A far more difficult question arises if we try to distinguish it from the responses made by us to certain abstract mental constructions such as those of pure mathematics…. Perhaps the distinction lies in this, that in the case of works of art the whole end and purpose is found in the exact quality of the emotional state, whereas in the case of mathematics the purpose is the constatation of the universal validity of the relations without regard to the quality of the emotion accompanying apprehension.  Still, it would be impossible to deny the close similarity of the orientation of faculties and attention in the two cases."
— Roger Fry, Transformations (1926), Doubleday Anchor paperback, 1956, p. 8

In other words, appreciating mathematics is much like appreciating art.

(Digitized diagram courtesy of Violet.)

Wednesday May 19, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:15 AM


Saturday, May 15, 2004

Saturday May 15, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:23 AM

Language Game

In memory of
Samuel Iwry, Hebrew scholar,
who died on May 8, 2004:

From a log24 entry of May 8, 2004,
on Wittgenstein’s “language games” —

    “Let us imagine a language …”

— Ludwig Wittgenstein,
    Philosophical Investigations


Moral of the story:
If you must have a
religious language,
Elvish may,
in some situations,
do as well as Hebrew.

See also

The Unity of Mathematics,
or Shema, Israel

Saturday May 15, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:06 AM

Popcorn Theology,
Part II:

Justice at
the Supremes’ Court


LeRoy Myers

From today’s New York Times:

LeRoy Myers, tap dancer and
road manager for the original Supremes,
died April 26, 2004.

From a log24 entry of April 26, 2004:

“This Way to the Egress”

— Sign supposedly written
by P. T. Barnum

A Google search on this phrase
leads to the excellent website

The Summoning of Everyman.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Friday May 14, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:01 PM

Popcorn Theology

Today is the birthday of Star Wars director George Lucas and also the date of Frank Sinatra’s death.

Two notes that may be
suitable for the occasion

From All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Atlanta:

“On Friday, May 14 at 7:00 p.m. in Ellis Hall, Popcorn Theology is pleased to present Chicago. This is a cautionary tale set during the Great Depression of the 1930s, told with sharp satire and black humor.”

From Chicago photographer Art Shay:

His Kind of Town 


“We are not saints”
Alcoholics Anonymous

Friday May 14, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:36 PM

Moral Hazard —
The Devil and Wallace Stevens,
continued from May 1-2 entries:

Law Day,
Readings for Law Day,
Fallen from Heaven, and
The Script

University of Southern California, Department of Economics — Industrial Organization ECN 680 – Autumn 2002 — Introduction to Contract and Organization Theory —

Professor Jean-Jacques Laffont
(September 4October 21):

“The purpose of this course is to introduce the student to modern contract and organization theory. Part 1 of the course focuses upon models with moral hazard and adverse selection.”

From the insurance page at 


“The size of the insurance industry indicates that people are eager to pay to avoid risk. They pay and get nothing if fortune smiles on them, whereas if misfortune strikes, they break even because the insurance should just pay back the value lost in the misfortune.

Sometimes, however, people do better than break even when misfortune strikes, and this possibility has greatly interested economists. If, for example, the misfortune costs a person $1000, but insurance will pay $2000, the insured person has no incentive to avoid the misfortune and may act to bring it on. This tendency of insurance to change behavior is called moral hazard.

Sometimes moral hazard is dramatic….

People who know that they face large risks are more likely to buy insurance than people who face small risks. Insurance companies try to minimize the problem that only the people with big risks will buy their product, which is the problem of adverse selection ….”

From today’s New York Times:

“Jean-Jacques Laffont, an economist known for developing mathematical models to estimate what something is worth in situations of deep uncertainty, died on May 1 in Toulouse, France. He was 57….

…Jerry R. Green of Harvard said he was ‘an architect of systems’ and ‘a very original figure.’

Eric Maskin, a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., called Dr. Laffont ‘simply one of the major figures of our time.’

‘Many people would say he was the leading economist in Europe,’ he added, ‘and that wouldn’t be an unfair judgment.’

Although Dr. Laffont’s models were abstruse enough to satisfy the most theoretical economists, Dr. Green said they were adapted for practical purposes by companies, as well as by public television for scheduling programs.”

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Thursday May 13, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:25 PM

The Wind and the Lion

Pat Buchanan
as A Mighty Wind —

Whose War?

Fallujah: High Tide of Empire?

A Time for Truth

For more about The Wind as a religious symbol, see Adolf Holl’s Biography of The Holy Spirit.

For more about The Lion as a religious symbol, see

Charles Krauthammer
as The Lion of Zion —

Acceptance Speech, Guardian of Zion Award.

For passionate views of the conflict between The Wind and The Lion, see

The Passion and Its Enemies
by The Wind, and

Gibson’s Blood Libel,
by The Lion.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Wednesday May 12, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:11 PM


Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Tuesday May 11, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:00 AM

“This was not just a failure of leadership at the local command level. This was a failure that ran straight to the top.  Accountability here is essential — even if that means relieving top leaders from duty in a time of war.”

Monday, May 10, 2004

Monday May 10, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:06 AM


Click on the above for further details.

Jane Marie Law, professor of world religions at Cornell, who spoke at the funeral April 23 at Temple Beth-El in Ithaca, said Fuller had told her she believed a society is judged not by its artistic or scientific achievements but ‘by how it treats its prisoners.’ “

Cornell Chronicle, April 29, 2004

Sunday, May 9, 2004

Sunday May 9, 2004

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:06 PM

From Saturday's
9 AM Entry:

Punch Line

Mr. King died on
Sunday morning, May 9, 2004.

Sunday May 9, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:28 AM

Anyone Want to Buy a
Bridge to the 21st Century?


See Zakaria’s
Newsweek column today,
The Price of Arrogance.

Saturday, May 8, 2004

Saturday May 8, 2004

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:00 AM


Aphorism 2 from Wittgenstein's
Philosophical Investigations
with commentary on the right
by Lois Shawver

Let us imagine a language …The language is meant to serve for communication between a builder A and an assistant B.  A is building with building-stones; there are blocks, pillars, slabs and beams.  B has to pass the stones, and that in the order in which A needs them.  For this purpose they use a language consisting of the words 'block', 'pillar', 'slab', 'beam.'  A calls them out; — B brings the stone which he has learnt to bring at such-and-such a call. — Conceive this as a complete primitive language.

… this passage describes the prototypic primitive language-game….

There are piles of pillars, slabs, blocks and beams.  The supervisor calls out "Slab!" and the worker brings a slab and sets it at the supervisor's feet.  Pretty simple.

Wittgenstein puts forth [this] language-game in order to try to envision a language in which Augustine's picture of language works.

Click on pictures for details.

Saturday May 8, 2004

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 12:00 AM

Royal Roads

“Here were assertions, as for example the intersection of the three altitudes of a triangle in one point, which — though by no means evident — could nevertheless be proved with such certainty that any doubt appeared to be out of the question. This lucidity and certainty made an indescribable impression upon me.”

— Albert Einstein
   on his “holy geometry book”
   (entry of 3/14/04)  

“We’ll try to understand
  how people decide what is true.”

— Nathaniel Miller
    on his geometry course

“People make up stories
 about what they experience.
 Stories that catch on are called ‘true.’ “

— Richard J. Trudeau
    on his geometry course

“There is no royal road to geometry.”

— Saying attributed to Euclid

“The royal road to knowledge,
  it is easy to express:
  to err, and err, and err again,
  but less, and less, and less.”

Nathaniel Miller‘s
    geometry course 

Prison-Abuse Panel is Third
in Bush’s War on Terrorism

— Headline from today’s
    New York Times 

“The royal road to ruin
  is easy to explore:
  err, and err, and err again,
  but more, and more, and more.”

— George W. Bush’s
    unholy geometry book

Friday, May 7, 2004

Friday May 7, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:11 AM

Religion of the Lottery:

Ground Zero Revisited

The midday New York lottery number for Thursday, May 6, 2004, the National Day of Prayer, was


Since the log24 entry for the preceding day (Wednesday) was written in gratitude for a new transcription of Bach, and the log24 entry for the following day (today) has the time 11:11, signifying peace, the following seems as good a religious interpretation of yesterday’s lottery as any:

“In the Mass in B-Minor, Bach constructs a twenty-one-movement symmetry in which the Crucifixus is placed precisely between the Gratias and the Dona Nobis Pacem.

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

“Nothing is random.”
Mark Helprin,
   Winter’s Tale

Wednesday, May 5, 2004

Wednesday May 5, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:00 AM


  1. Charles Small’s new transcription of The Goldberg Variations for string quartet
  2. Richard Powers, The Gold Bug Variations

  3. Theme and Variations
  4. Poetry’s Bones

Tuesday, May 4, 2004

Tuesday May 4, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 AM

Midnight in the Garden of
Good and Evil, continued

Buddies Show Us
the Real Tillman


San Jose Mercury News

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Once the out-of-towners stopped talking, the people from San Jose were allowed to speak. And the honesty erupted.

“Thank you for coming,” said Richard Tillman, the younger brother of Pat Tillman. “But with all respect to those who have been up here before me, Pat’s not with God. He’s not religious. He’s dead. It was amazing to be his little brother. He was the biggest champion I’ve ever seen.”


Maybe God doesn’t like religious people.

See The Four Last Things (6/4/03),

With Honors (6/5/03), and

Directions Out (4/26/04).

Monday, May 3, 2004

Monday May 3, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:01 PM

Campaign Song

Review of previous themes:

From Black Rain:

Masahiro: “Now — music and movies are all America is good for.

From Lost in Translation:

Charlotte: I just don’t know what I’m supposed to be.
Bob: You’ll figure that out.

From The Devil and Wallace Stevens:

“Stevens pays ironic tribute to Aphrodite Pandemos, the fleshly passion, and then his respects to

Aphrodite Ouranos,
the philosopher’s passion….”

From a midlife crisis:


Select the best John Kerry
campaign song from this classic
Top 10 list of Nov. 7, 1964.

To see if you have made the
right choice, click on

Campaign Song.
(Requires RealOne Player.)

Sunday, May 2, 2004

Sunday May 2, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:00 PM

The Script

Hollywood Writers, Producers
 Fail to Reach Agreement

Some scripts just write themselves.

Falluja Plan in Doubt
as U.S. Deals With
Furor Over Abuse

The Siege, 1998

Our Man in Baghdad
by Jon Lee Anderson
The New Yorker
issue of 2004-05-03,
posted 2004-04-26:

“My host was a Shiite cleric, Ayad Jamaluddin…. He lives on the river, in an imposing house supplied by the Coalition Provisional Authority, to which he has close ties….

Ayad Jamaluddin dismissed the idea of the Iraqis policing themselves any time in the near future. He believed that Iraq needed shock treatment, and that it would be best administered by the Americans.

The New Yorker,
online images

‘Iraqis are sick, you know, and what they need is a psychiatrist,’ he said. ‘For thirty-five years, Saddam Hussein didn’t allow Iraqis to think. The Iraqi people are missing something: they are missing a soul. They need a dictator—that is their problem. The Shia want their dictator; the Sunnis want theirs. Unfortunately for us, the Iraqi people’s only model of a leader is Saddam Hussein.’

I remarked that his hopes for a sweeping transformation of a national psyche had few historical precedents, at least under modern American stewardship. The postwar transformations of Germany and Japan were possible only because there was a wholesale capitulation by the regimes in both countries after devastating military assaults. In Japan’s case, this had come about after the atomic blasts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki and after Emperor Hirohito’s radio broadcast offering Japan’s unconditional surrender, and the admission that he was not a divine being. Jamaluddin smiled: ‘Then maybe what we need is another Hiroshima for Iraq. Maybe Fallujah will be our Hiroshima. Inshallah.’ ”

Just lovely.” 




See, too, The New Yorker‘s press release for

 May 1, 2004 — Law Day —

on the legal career of presidential candidate John Kerry:

“Kerry says his background as a prosecutor made criminal-defense work unappealing. ‘I took a court appointment once in a criminal case,’ Kerry says, ‘and I realized I just didn’t want the guy out on the street. I knew he was guilty. It takes a certain kind of makeup as a lawyer to dedicate yourself to having someone like that out on the street. I know our system says someone has to represent everyone, but I just couldn’t do it. I went to the court and asked them to take me off the case.’ “

Recall the conclusion of Devil’s Advocate:

“Vanity is definitely my favorite sin.”

Sunday May 2, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:00 AM

Trinity Test

Some background on the previous entry, Honorable Bird….

A note on the Michael Douglas film in that previous entry:

“This film is not to be confused with Japanese director Shohei Imamura’s BLACK RAIN, which was produced around the same time. Imamura’s film deals with the lives of a Japanese family who survived the nuclear-bombing of Hiroshima. The phrase ‘black rain,’ used in both films, refers to the deadly fallout caused by the detonation of an atomic weapon.”

For related material on the religion of Trinity, see Hiroshima Mayor Says US Worships Nukes, a news story quoted in Death of a Holy Man (8/10/03).  The phrase “holy man” there is from John Steinbeck, who once wrote a sentence saying that sons of bitches, viewed from another perspective, are holy men.

Here is the death of another holy man, Clayton S. White, a medical researcher who developed the field of blast biology — the study of how nuclear explosions affect people immediately and over time.  This holy man died on April 26, 2004.  A log24 entry of that date supplies an appropriate epitaph for the holy man, dead at 91, who has now joined his younger brother, the late Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White, in some region of the afterworld.

Saturday, May 1, 2004

Saturday May 1, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:29 PM

Honorable Bird

Tonight at 8:00 PM on BRAVO:

Black Rain

Michael Douglas and Andy Garcia are New York detectives caught up in a gang war in Japan. Masahiro: Ken Takakura.

Masahiro: “Now — music and movies are all America is good for.

From yesterday’s entry Library:

“… this is the Idea that is put forward for our response. There is nothing mythological about Christian Trinitarian doctrine: it is analogical. It offers itself freely for meditation and discussion; but it is desirable that we should avoid the bewildered frame of mind of the apocryphal Japanese gentleman who complained:

‘Honourable Father, very good;
 Honourable Son, very good; but
 Honourable Bird
     I do not understand at all.’ “

Music and



National Museum

See, too, Inscape (4/22/04), The Proof and the Lie (11/30/03), and Hatched (4/21/04), and recall that the theme of Black Rain is counterfeiting.

For a related meditation on the color black, see Kawabata’s The Old Capital, quoted in an entry of Aug. 1, 2003.

Saturday May 1, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 PM

Fallen from Heaven

On today’s stories:

Recall, gentle readers, the reference to Lucifer in last midnight’s story, “The Devil and Wallace Stevens,” and the reference in yesterday’s story, “Notes,” to the film “2010” (1984).  Here is a quote from a review of the story behind that film:

“If the coming of Lucifer in this story doesn’t set your pulse racing and your mind whirring, then I don’t know what will.”

For some of us — students of Stephen King and Malcolm Lowry — the coming of Lucifer is not such a surprising event.  See

Shining Forth.

Saturday May 1, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:30 AM

Readings for Law Day

Making Stories: Law, Literature, Life

Storytelling: Passport to the 21st Century;

plus 1001 Arabian Stories!

    (Google News, ca. 7 AM EDT, May Day 2004)

Saturday May 1, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 AM

Law Day

See The Devil and Wallace Stevens.

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