Saturday, July 31, 2004

Saturday July 31, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:01 PM

It’s Alive!

“People once worried about the boundary between the living and the nonliving. Today, the boundary seems meaningless….”

— Attributed to Francis Crick
    (now among the nonliving) 

Opening of
the above novel:

“My name is David Tennant, M.D.
I’m professor of ethics at the
University of Virginia Medical School,
and if you’re watching
this tape, I’m dead.”

From a public-relations newsletter
of the University of Southern California’s
Health Sciences Campus
dated April 20, 2001:

Discussing the Ethics
of Frankenstein

W. French Anderson, the physician and scientist who carried out the first human gene therapy clinical trial, will discuss the ethical issues involved in human genetic engineering and how science fiction has shaped the public’s perception of this budding new technology, Thursday, May 3, at noon, in USC’s Mayer Auditorium.

The lecture, titled “Frankenstein, GATTACA and Gene Therapy,” is free and open to the public. Mayer Auditorium is located on USC’s Health Sciences campus.

In his talk, Anderson will analyze the book Frankenstein and its filmic progeny and discuss how the Frankenstein story has captured the public’s imagination. He will also examine the ethical and moral issues raised by the book and movies and address the charge that, like Dr. Frankenstein, today geneticists are attempting to play God.

Anderson will evaluate the 1997 movie GATTACA, a cautionary tale about injustice in a 21st century society run by genetically “superior” elites. Anderson, who was a scientific consultant for the movie and is now proposing to carry out the first in utero gene therapy trial, will discuss the impact of GATTACA on the public’s understanding of genetic engineering.

See also the previous entry,
on Anderson’s arrest Friday
on charges of child molestation.

For the origin of the title GATTACA,
see The Diamond Code

Saturday July 31, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:31 AM

Advanced French

L. A. Daily News,
Friday, July 30, 2004,
7:59 PM PST

An internationally lauded USC medical professor known as the “father of gene therapy” was being held Friday on $6 million bail after being charged with sexually molesting a young girl, authorities said.

Dr. William French Anderson, 67, director of the Gene Therapy Laboratory at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, was arrested at 8:40 a.m. Friday at his San Marino home. The school immediately placed him on administrative leave.

Anderson, known as “French,” was charged with one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child and five counts of a lewd act upon a child.

This accusation may, of course, have roots in political or religious fanaticism, even though gene therapy is less controversial than other aspects of genetic engineering.  For reasons why some feel strongly about this area of research, see the remarks of Francis Crick in a Thursday Log24 entry.

Saturday July 31, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:00 AM

For the Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola:

In God’s Name

“If Trinity is everything you say it is,” she said, “then why in God’s name would it be based in North Carolina?”

This I hadn’t expected.  “Aren’t you the top Jungian analyst in the world?”

“Well… one of them.”

“Why are you based in North Carolina?”

The Footprints of God


“Remembering speechlessly we seek the great forgotten language, the lost lane-end into heaven, a stone, a leaf, an unfound door. Where? When?”

Thomas Wolfe

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Thursday July 29, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:01 PM

The Fullness of Time

In memory of Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, who died yesterday:

“Having solved one of the basic mysteries of life here on Earth, Dr. Crick seems happy to skewer any notions of a life beyond. For him, the most profound implication of an operational understanding of consciousness is that ‘it will lead to the death of the soul.’

‘The view of ourselves as “persons” is just as erroneous as the view that the Sun goes around the Earth,’ he said. He predicted that ‘this sort of language will disappear in a few hundred years.’

‘In the fullness of time,’ he continued, ‘educated people will believe there is no soul independent of the body, and hence no life after death.'”

— “After the Double Helix: Unraveling the Mysteries of the State of Being,” by Margaret Wertheim in The New York Times of April 13, 2004

Thursday July 29, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:09 AM

In loving memory of
Fred “Bubba” LaRue,
architect of Nixon’s
   “southern strategy” —

Part of a Log24 entry
for Saturday, July 24,
LaRue’s apparent
date of death —


The Agony
and the Ecstasy


a mandorla,
symbol of the Episcopal
Diocese of South Carolina.

The New York Times quotes
LaRue’s son as saying,
“His heart failed while he was
reading a book.”
The title is unknown.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Wednesday July 28, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:31 PM

Get Your Ticket

Miami Herald:

Posted on Wed., July 28, 2004

Ex-N.H. GOP Director
Pleads Guilty

by Holly Ramer, Associated Press

The former director of the New Hampshire Republican Party pleaded guilty Wednesday to jamming Democratic phone banks on Election Day 2002.

Chuck McGee was accused of arranging to have hundreds of hang-up calls made to phone lines that were installed to help voters get rides to the polls. Among the contests decided that day was the close Senate race in which Republican Rep. John Sununu beat Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen.

From a Log24 entry
on Election Day 2002–
Tuesday, November 5:

Well if you want to ride
you gotta ride it like you find it.
Get your ticket at the station
of the Rock Island Line.

The Rock Island Line’s namesake depot 
in Rock Island, Illinois
For more Rock Island music, click on
the picture at the top of this entry.

Wednesday July 28, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:00 PM

The Freshmen, Part II

From the Daily Princetonian,
Feb. 3, 2004


Caption: Cate Edwards’ Princeton friends support her and her father.

“… when Sen. John Edwards, father of Cate Edwards ’04, decided to run for president, the troop of 17 students sacrificed tans and theses to pile into a fleet of minivans headed to New Hampshire….

    These volunteers… were on a first name basis with the man who had helped them move into freshman dorm rooms and had discussed Senate votes with them over Chinese food.”

Log24 May 22, 2004:

From Chuck Polisher’s
I Ching Lexicon

“It’s claimed that
if you take a mirror
and look backwards
into a well,
you’ll see your future
down in the water.”

Cold Mountain,
     Vintage paperback, 1998,
page 48

“Goin’ to Carolina in my mind…”
— James Taylor

Wednesday July 28, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:56 AM

End of an Era?

 “To put it simply, in those days we had
leadership, respect, discipline.”

— Carmine De Sapio 

Click on screenshot for details.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Tuesday July 27, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:07 AM


Note added on 7/28 at 5:01 AM:

See also Joyce’s definition of “epiphany.”

Monday, July 26, 2004

Monday July 26, 2004

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 11:07 PM

Happy Birthday

to Kate Beckinsale
(star of Cold Comfort Farm)

and Kevin Spacey
(star of The Usual Suspects).

From a novel,
The Footprints of God,
published August 12, 2003

A tour guide describes
stations of the cross in Jerusalem:

"Ibrahim pointed down the cobbled street to a half circle of bricks set in the street.  'There is where Jesus began to carry the cross.  Down the street is the Chapel of Flagellation, where the Roman soldiers whipped Jesus, set on him a crown of thorns, and said, "Hail, King of the Jews!" Then Pilate led him to the crowd and cried, "Ecce homo!  Behold the man!" '

Ibrahim delivered this information with the excitement of a man reading bingo numbers in a nursing home."

In keeping with this spirit of religious fervor and with the spirit of Carl Jung, expositor of the religious significance of the mandala,

Behold —

The Mandala of Abraham

For the religious significance of this mandala,
see an entry of May 25, 2003:

Matrix of the Death God.

Monday July 26, 2004

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 7:20 PM

Happy Birthday,
Carl Jung


Jung in Von Franz's
Psyche and Matter, p. 85:

"What the formula can only hint at is the higher plane that is reached through the process of transformation…. The change consists in an unfolding of totality into four parts four times, which means nothing less than its becoming conscious."

Jung's Model
of the Self:

Four Quartets:

"… history is a pattern      
Of timeless moments."

Cold Mountain, the film:

Inman: You are all that keeps me from sliding into some dark place.
Ada: But how did I keep you? We barely knew each other. A few moments.
Inman: A thousand moments. They're like a bag of tiny diamonds glittering in a black heart.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Sunday July 25, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:11 PM

His Way

Suggested by George Steiner’s phrase in the previous entry, “as in inverse canons”–

  1. A revision of Theme and Variations to include a midi of Bach’s variations on the Goldberg ground
  2. The following from the screenplay of Cold Mountain


    A beautiful day,
    the farm peaceful.
    Inman walks up the path
    to the farmhouse….
    He knocks on the door.
    Monroe answers.

         Mr. Inman.


         What can I do for you?

    Inman hovers, awkward.
    Ada appears, awkward.

         I have some sheet music.
         Belonged to my father.
         No use to me.

    Ada comes forward,
    takes the package.

    ****** LATER *******


    At the piano, Ada unwraps
    the package of music. 
    Inside the first book of music,
    there’s a picture of Inman. 
    Some of the music has left its
    imprint on the picture, the notes
    like a melody over Inman’s face.

    Ada picks them out on the piano.

  3.     Bach, BWV 1087 (midi)

    (Fourteen Canons on the First Eight Notes of the Goldberg Ground)

  4.         Bach in the original —

  5.        “Bach in the Original” —

Sunday July 25, 2004

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 8:30 AM

Keeping Time

Richard Neuhaus on George Steiner's
Grammars of Creation

 "… the facts of the world are not and will never be 'the end of the matter.' Music joins grammar in pointing to the possibility, the reality, of more. He thinks Schopenhauer was on to something when he said music will continue after the world ends.

'The capacity of music to operate simultaneously along horizontal and vertical axes, to proceed simultaneously in opposite directions (as in inverse canons), may well constitute the nearest that men and women can come to absolute freedom.  Music does "keep time" for itself and for us.'"

"Goin' to Carolina in my mind…."

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Saturday July 24, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:56 PM

Be Afraid.
Be Very Afraid.

Click on picture for details.

Saturday July 24, 2004

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 3:09 AM

Is Nothing Sacred
), continued…

"With a holy host of others
     standing 'round me
Still I'm on the dark side
     of the moon
And it seems like it goes on
     like this forever
You must forgive me
If I'm up and gone to
     Carolina in my mind."

— James Taylor

"The town of Mount Pleasant
is known for its excellent
public schools, some of the best
in the Charleston School District
and in the State."

The Agent-Owned Realty Co.

Assignments from
a Mount Pleasant high school
summer honors course

  1. READ the first two chapters
    of The Source
    by James Michener.
  2. WATCH one of the
    following movies:
    The Agony and the Ecstasy,
    A Man for All Seasons,
    Ben Hur,
    The Lion in Winter.

The Agony
and the Ecstasy


a mandorla,
symbol of the Episcopal
Diocese of South Carolina,
from Log24 entries,
Oct. 4-7, 2002

Friday, July 23, 2004

Friday July 23, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:11 PM

Name Claim

From a Google Groups search on “diamond theorem” today:

Like the pine trees lining the winding road,
I got a name, I got a name….
And I carry it with me like my daddy did
But I’m living the dream that he kept hid.

— Jim Croce

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Sunday July 18, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:29 PM

New Web Page:

The Grid and the Quilt:
Left Brain, Right Brain,
The Two Cultures,
and Mathematics

Sunday July 18, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:22 AM

New Web Page:

Reflections on Symmetry

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Saturday July 17, 2004

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

New Web Page:

Galois Geometry

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Thursday July 15, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:04 PM
Identity Crisis

From a summer movie guide:

“Ready for more international espionage and intrigue? On July 23, Matt Damon returns as amnesiac spy Jason Bourne in the sequel to 2002’s surprise hit, ‘The Bourne Identity.’ ….

At the end of ‘Identity,’ Bourne promised retaliation to Treadstone (the super-secret agency that created him) if it came after him.”

And now…

Bad Will Hunting

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/040715-Damon2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/040715-Group.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.


You can’t make this stuff up.

Thursday July 15, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:29 AM
Astonishing, Telepathic
Group Interplay

In memory of

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/040715-Hansen.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Frances Hansen,
cruciverbalist extraordinaire

The first crossword puzzle —
The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/040715-Selim.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
For related commentary on
telepathic interplay, see an
entry for Aug. 29, 2002.

For related material on
intersecting word patterns
and telepathic interplay,
see The Demolished Man,
 by Alfred Bester, and
We Are The Key,
a Log24 entry for
St. Lucia’s Day, 2003.
Here is an illustration of what might
be called, as in the above puzzle, a
 “ten miles pit,” from Forbidden Planet,
a classic film, based on
Shakespeare’s The Tempest,
discussed in the 8/29/02 entry.

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/040715-Pit2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

A quotation that somehow
seems relevant:

O the mind, mind has mountains,
     cliffs of fall
Frightful, sheer, no-man fathomed.
     Hold them cheap
May who ne’er hung there.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Frances Hansen died on Friday, July 9. For more on words and The Roots of Coincidence (the subject of the previous entry), see the entries of July 8-10.

Thursday July 15, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:11 AM
The Roots of Coincidence

Yesterday’s first entry contained a picture of the Philadelphia group The Roots:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/040714-Roots2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Yesterday’s last entry, “Welcome to Mr. Motley’s Neighborhood,” dealt with properties of social networks.  Trying to learn more about such properties, I just came across this in the Wikipedia:
Small World Phenomenon

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, based on articles originally published in The New Yorker, elaborates the ‘funneling’ concept. In it Gladwell argues that the six-degrees phenomenon is dependent on a few extraordinary people (‘connectors’) with large networks of contacts and friends: these hubs then mediate the connections between the vast majority of otherwise weakly-connected individuals.”

From USA Today
Posted 7/12/2004 10:51 PM
Updated 7/13/2004 4:32 AM

The Roots tap urgent beat
in ‘Tipping Point’

The Tipping Point refers to Malcolm Gladwell’s book about critical moments that touch off social phenomena, and the album certainly conveys a sense of urgency.

Between the riveting beats and frontman Tariq ‘Black Thought’ Trotter’s razor-sharp lyrics about a range of social ills, it’s almost impossible to turn away.” — Steve Jones

For more on black thought, click on the picture of Willard Motley’s book in the previous entry.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Wednesday July 14, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 PM
Welcome to…
Mr. Motley’s

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/040714-Motley2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Will You Be My Friend?
Only On My Own Turf.

By Esther Dyson, Editor at Large 
Special to ZDNet
July 12, 2004, 3:00 AM PT

On social-networking Web services:

Perhaps people will revert to private social networks–ones they manage locally….

Perhaps the law of networks–the strength of a tie degrades by the square of the number of links–would become more apparent, and perhaps that would be a good thing.

I’m not sure how good that is as a business model, but it works as a social model.”

The beautiful, brilliant, and charming Esther Dyson seems to have suffered a temporary lapse in brilliance with the above remark on the strength of ties in social networks….

“the law of networks–the strength of a tie degrades by the square of the number of links….”

Here are some useful references encountered while fact-checking Ms. Dyson’s assertion about the “law of networks” —

Links on Graph Theory and Network Analysis

The Navigability of Strong Ties:
Small Worlds, Tie Strength and Network Topology

Modeling Coleman’s Friendly Association Networks

The Strength of Weak Ties:
A Network Theory Revisited

Scientific Collaboration Networks, II (pdf)
(Deals specifically with tie-strength computation.) 

Dynamic Visualization of Social Networks

and, finally, a diagram of social networks in Shakespeare that conclusively demonstrates that there is no simple relationship between strength of ties and number of ties:

Cleopatra’s Social Ties

Perhaps what Ms. Dyson had in mind was the following (courtesy of The Motley Fool):

“Metcalfe’s Law of Networks states that the value of a network grows by the square of the size of the network. Translated, this means that a network that is twice as large as another network will actually be at least four times as valuable. Why? Because four times as many interconnections are possible between participants in the larger network.

When you add a fourth person to a group of three, you don’t add just one more networked relationship. You add several. The new individual can network with all three of the existing persons, and vice versa. The Internet is no different. It became more and more valuable as the numbers of computers using it grew.”

For another perspective on this alleged law, from science fiction author Orson Scott Card, see The Group, a Log24 entry of Sept. 24, 2002.

Elsewhere, in a discussion of social-networking software:

“Esther Dyson starts with a request that people turn to their left and ask the person next to them, ‘Will you be my friend?’ The room erupts in chatter, but, of course, the problem is we don’t have enough information about one another to make a snap decision about that question.”

Obviously, ties resulting from such a request will be weak, rather than strong.  However, as study of the above network-theory links will reveal, weak ties can sometimes be more useful than strong ties.  An example:

Passing the Peace at Mass.

Compare and contrast with
Ms. Dyson’s request to turn and
ask the Mr. Rogers question,
“Will you be my friend?”

The best response to this question
that I know of was contained in
a good-bye letter from a girl named
Lucero in Cuernavaca
in the early 1960’s:

Si me deveras quieres,
deja me en paz

(See Shining Forth.)

Wednesday July 14, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:25 PM
Bright Star

From Robert A. Heinlein‘s
classic novel, Glory Road:

    “I have many names. What would you like to call me?”

    “Is one of them ‘Helen’?”

    She smiled like sunshine and I learned that she had dimples. She looked sixteen and in her first party dress. “You are very gracious. No, she’s not even a relative. That was many, many years ago.” Her face turned thoughtful. “Would you like to call me ‘Ettarre’?”

    “Is that one of your names?”

    “It is much like one of them, allowing for different spelling and accent. Or it could be ‘Esther’ just as closely. Or ‘Aster.’ Or even ‘Estrellita.’ ”

    ” ‘Aster,’ ” I repeated. “Star. Lucky Star!”

Today’s birthday:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/040714-BrightStar.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Esther Dyson

Wednesday July 14, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:20 PM

American Heritage Dictionary

val·ue NOUN:
6. Mathematics An assigned
or calculated numerical quantity.

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/040714-Lottery.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Commentary —
See Boyz N the Hood:
Kerry, Edwards Emphasize Values
(Log24 7/11, 2004)

Time Magazine,
issue dated July 19, 2004 —

“Second-Helping Summer:
Movie sequels are getting raves…”

Boyz N the Hood,
Part II

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/040714-Hood.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

First Family Visits Hood:

After the service, Bush spoke with the press outside the chapel.

“These incidents were basically thrust upon the innocent Iraqi people by gangs, violent gangs….”

“I know this, that we’re plenty tough, and we’ll remain tough….”

“Happy Easter to everybody. Thank you.”

   Happy Bastille Day, Fort Hood.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Monday July 12, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:31 PM
Character and Values

In response to this morning’s Wizard-of-Id example (see 1:22 PM entry) of a political Bob-Hope-style Christian wisecrack (a style more apt to make me gag than laugh), some further quotations:

I need a photo-opportunity,
I want a shot at redemption.
Don’t want to end up a cartoon
In a cartoon graveyard.
— Paul Simon

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/040712-Rockefeller.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The Washington Post on the gigolo candidate in Boston Monday:

“In a lunch speech to more than 1,000 women who had donated $500 to $2,000 to his campaign or the Democratic Party, Kerry was joined on stage by his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry….  He focused his comments on improving health care and creating more jobs — notions that he said ‘are not Democratic values. They’re not Republican values. They are American values.’ “

Let us pass over Kerry’s ignorance of the difference between desiderata (things considered desirable) and values (principles, standards, or qualities considered desirable).

A definition of “values” in a different sense, one that might appeal to the late St. Laurance Rockefeller, dead on 7/11, who majored in philosophy at Princeton:

“In an artistical composition, the character of any one part in its relation to other parts and to the whole — often used in the plural: as, the values are well given, or well maintained.”

Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, 1913

Rockefeller is, I hope, now in a place where he can discuss this definition with Bach as it applies to, say, that composer’s “Goldberg Variations.”

Here below, another sort of Goldberg Variations seems appropriate to the times we live in …

The following composition was inspired by Whoopi Goldberg’s remarks at last Thursday’s Radio City Music Hall Democratic Party fund-raiser.

Democratic Political Art:
Motherhood and Apple Pie

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/040712-Ikex3.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.


Ike Turner, Bad Dreams album,
Mom’s Apple Pie album (X-rated),
and Log24 entries of
July 9-10 and July 12.

Update of 3:17 AM July 13, 2004:

A place in Heaven next to St. Laurance
seems to have been reserved:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/040713-Obits.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Monday July 12, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:29 PM


This world is not conclusion;
  A sequel stands beyond,
Invisible, as music,
  But positive, as sound.
It beckons and it baffles;         5
  Philosophies don’t know,
And through a riddle, at the last,
  Sagacity must go.
To guess it puzzles scholars;
  To gain it, men have shown         10
Contempt of generations,
  And crucifixion known.

Monday July 12, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:22 PM
Sequel to the Previous Entry:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/040712-Wiz.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Monday July 12, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:16 AM
Small World

In memory of
Laurance Rockefeller,
who died yesterday at 94

"J. S. Bach's 'Goldberg Variations' is a self-contained world, immersion in which is transformative….

At the end of Variation 30, Bach writes simply 'Aria da capo.' I have written it out for the convenience of the players. This recurrence of the Aria, after its long journey through thirty variations and especially coming immediately after the exuberant Quodlibet (Variation 30), is magical. It is the same Aria, yet subtly different: transformed."

Charles Small, Harvard 1964

"In my end is my beginning."

T. S. Eliot, Harvard 1910

Monday July 12, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:44 AM

Campaign Song

“All things return to the One.
 What does the One return to?”

— Zen koan, epigraph to
   The Footprints of God,
by Greg Iles of
Natchez, Mississippi

“Literature begins with geography.”

— attributed to Robert Frost

The aim
 was song

— Robert Frost

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/040712-Mammys.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Mammy’s Cupboard,
Natchez, Miss.

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/040712-Jolson.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Campaign Song

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Sunday July 11, 2004

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 3:57 PM

Los Angeles Times
2:38 PM PDT, July 9, 2004 —

Boyz N the Hood:   
Kerry, Edwards Emphasize Values

W. Va. soldier on Kerry and Edwards
By Matea Gold, Times Staff Writer

BEAVER, W. Va. — Anticipating a full-frontal attack by President Bush, Sens. John Edwards and John Kerry offered a vigorous defense of their character today, arguing they are more aligned with the concerns of the middle class as they accused the administration of having hollow values.

For further details, see Ann Coulter
on the Shyster and the Gigolo.

For a more philosophical approach to
culture and politics, see a Log24 entry
from October 29, 2002:


Our Judeo-Christian Heritage:

Two Sides of the Same Coin


On this date in 1897, Joseph Goebbels was born. Related reading:

The Calvin College Propaganda Archive and

Prince Ombra.


Joseph Goebbels

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Saturday July 10, 2004

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 3:17 PM
Oxford Word

From today's obituary in The New York Times of R. W. Burchfield, editor of A Supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary:

"Robert William Burchfield was born Jan. 27, 1923, in Wanganui, New Zealand. In 1949, after earning an undergraduate degree at Victoria University College in Wellington, he accepted a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford.

There, he read Medieval English literature with C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien."

For more on literature and Wanganui, see my entry of Jan. 19. 2003, from which the following is taken.




"Literature begins
with geography."

Attributed to
Robert Frost

The Maori Court at
the Wanganui Museum


"Cullinane College is a Catholic co-educational college, set to open in Wanganui (New Zealand) on the 29th of January, 2003."

The 29th of January will be the 40th anniversary of the death of Saint Robert Frost.

New Zealand, perhaps the most beautiful country on the planet, is noted for being the setting of the film version of Lord of the Rings, which was written by a devout Catholic, J. R. R. Tolkien.

For other New Zealand themes, see Alfred Bester's novels The Stars My Destination and The Deceivers.

The original title of The Stars My Destination was Tyger! Tyger! after Blake's poem. 

For more on fearful symmetry, see the work of Marston Conder, professor of mathematics at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.


Saturday July 10, 2004

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 1:36 PM

Wrestling with Words

"Philosophers ponder the idea of identity: what it is to give something a name on Monday and have it respond to that name on Friday…."

— Bernard Holland, The New York Times of  Monday, May 20, 1996 

From today's New York Times obituaries:

R. W. Burchfield died Monday. He was "an internationally renowned lexicographer who wrestled the Oxford English Dictionary into the era of 'sexploitation.' "

In other news….

"Although Mr. Kerry had told the crowd at the New York fund-raiser that 'every single performer' on the bill had 'conveyed to you the heart and soul of our country,' his campaign on Friday sought to distance Mr. Kerry and his running mate, Senator John Edwards, from the anti-Bush jokes, lyrics and statements of some of the entertainers.

But it declined to release a videotape of the performance at which Ms. Goldberg, a bottle of wine in hand, made an extended sexual pun out of the president's surname.

[Also on Friday…]

At an afternoon airport rally in Beaver, W. Va., a town of 1,378 people, Mr. Kerry attached the word 'value' to virtually every line of his standard stump speech…."

Somehow, a different word comes to mind.


Friday, July 9, 2004

Friday July 9, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:11 PM


This afternoon I came across, in a briefcase I seldom use, two books I had not looked at since I bought them last month:

  • The Footprints of God, a recently published paperback by Greg Iles, a writer who graduated from Trinity High School, Natchez, Mississippi, in 1979, and from the University of Mississippi in Oxford in 1983.
  • Sanctuary, by the better-known Mississippi writer William Faulkner.

At the time I purchased the books, indeed until I looked up Iles on the Web today, I was not aware of the Mississippi connection.  Their physical connection, lying together today in my briefcase, is, of course, purely coincidental.  My view of coincidence is close to that of Arthur Koestler, who wrote The Challenge of Chance and The Roots of Coincidence, and to that of Loren Eiseley, who wrote of a dice game and of "the Other Player" in his autobiography, All the Strange Hours.

A Log24 entry yesterday referred to a comedic novel on the role of chance in physics, Cosmic Banditos.  Today's New York Times quotes an entertainer who referred to President Bush yesterday, at a political fund-raiser, as a bandito.  Another coincidence… this one related directly to the philosophy of coincidences expounded jokingly in Cosmic Banditos.

I draw no conclusions from such coincidences, but they do inspire me to look a little deeper into life's details — where, some say, God is.  Free association on these details, together with a passage in Sanctuary, inspired the following collage:

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Related Texts

Faulkner on a trinity of women
in Sanctuary (Ch. 25):

"Miss Reba emerged from behind the screen with three glasses of gin. 'This'll put some heart into us,' she said. 'We're setting here like three old sick cats.'  They bowed formally and drank, patting their lips.  Then they began to talk.  They were all talking at once,* again in half-completed sentences, but without pauses for agreement or affirmation."

"In Defense of the Brand":

"When I was helping Frito corn chips expand its core user group in the mid-'90s, we didn't ask Frito-Lay to just wave the Fritos banner. The brand was elevated to a place where it could address its core users in a way that was relevant to their lifestyle. We took the profile of the audience and created a campaign starring Reba McEntire. It captured the brand's essence, and set Frito eaters amidst good music, good people, and good fun."

Song lyric, Reba McEntire:
"I might have been born
just plain white trash,
but Fancy was my name."

Loren Eiseley, 
Notes of an Alchemist:

I never found
the hole in the wall;
I never found
Pancho Villa country
where you see the enemy first.
— "The Invisible Horseman"

Thursday, July 8, 2004

Thursday July 8, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:25 PM


12:25 PM July 8:

"Willst Du lieber
einen gelben Stern
" she asked.
"Oder einen roten?"

— Martin Cruz Smith,
Stallion Gate,
Ballantine paperback,
1987, page 101

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Personally, I prefer
a blue-green star:

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Follow-up of
2 PM July 9, 2004 —

From today's New York Times:

"Texas Bandito, how much money
did you put in your pocket today?"
John Mellencamp crooned
in a country ballad.

In a two-and-a-half hour gala
that raised $7.5 million,
a record for a single event,
Chevy Chase poked fun at
the president's pronunciation
of "nuclear"…
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The concert brought 6,200 people,
paying $250 to $25,000 each…
beating the $6.8 million haul
from a parallel gala last month
in Los Angeles featuring
Barbra Streisand,
Willie Nelson,
and Billy Crystal.
The take will be split….

Here, Chevy, is another

  way to pronounce "nuclear"–

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The Source:

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Click on picture for details.

Thursday July 8, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:00 AM
Bronze Star

Recommended reading on the visual arts:

Both of the above are Log24 entries for Friday, July 2, 2004.  This date is notable for the following celebrity deaths:

  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Mario Puzo
  • Vladimir Nabokov

For a meditation on these three admirable men, see

Another name can now be added to this list of public figures to admire:

Murphy drew a strip for the Sunday papers which, according to Wolfgang Saxon in today’s  New York Times,  “mines the literary tradition of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.”  I personally prefer the versions of  T. H.  White and  C. S. Lewis; but, Saxon, à chacun son goût.

In view of the Log24 entries of the date of Murphy’s death, which are in turn based on the preceding day’s entry on Rocky Balboa and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, I am beginning to believe there may be some truth in the saying, “God is in the details.”   Some details from Saxon:

“He sold his first illustrations while still in high school. He drew boxers to publicize matches, sold his first cover illustration to the Knights of Columbus magazine before he was 20, and in 1940 sold a cover to the popular magazine Liberty.

In World War II, Mr. Murphy served in infantry and antiaircraft units in the Pacific, rose to the rank of major and won a Bronze Star. He also drew and painted portraits of the soldiers and their commanders, as well as sketches of Japanese life, which were published in The Chicago Tribune.

He then worked as an illustrator and cover artist for magazines, including Esquire and Collier’s. In 1949, Mr. Murphy started ‘Big Ben Bolt,’ a comic strip about a young boxer, which lasted almost 25 years.”

No Walt Kelly, perhaps, but definitely a contender.

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Wednesday July 7, 2004

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

Beyond Geometry

(Title of current L. A. art exhibit)

John Baez:

What is the difference between topology and geometry?

Geometry you learn in high school; topology in college. So, topology costs more.

A bit more seriously….

“The greatest obstacle to discovery
is not ignorance —
  it is the illusion of knowledge.”

— Daniel J. Boorstin,
American historian, educator, writer.
Source: The Washington Post,
“The Six O’Clock Scholar,”
by Carol Krucoff (29 Jan. 1984)

For the illusion of knowledge,
see (for instance)
The Importance of Being Nothingness,
by Craig J. Hogan
(American Scientist, Sept.-Oct. 2001).

A bit more seriously…

“These cases are
neither harmless nor amusing.”
— Craig J. Hogan, op. cit.

For example:

“Thanks to Dr. Matrix
for honouring this website
with the Award for Science Excellence
on May 14, 2002 and selecting it
for prominent display in the categories
of Mathematics and Creative Minds.”

See also my notes
On Dharwadker’s Attempted Proof,
November 28, 2000, and
The God-Shaped Hole,
February 21, 2001.

Wednesday July 7, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:07 PM

Not-So-Solemn Requiem

Funeral song for Marlon Brando to sing, at long last, to the immortal Grace Kelly…

Everybody’s just dying to be heard…

— KHYI radio, Plano, Texas, 4:00 PM EDT

(… followed at 4:04 PM by …
I guess I just woke up
from my American dream

Relevant theology…

“Death is not earnest in the same way the eternal is.  To the earnestness of death belongs precisely that capacity for awakening, that resonance of a profound mockery which, detached from the thought of the eternal, is an empty and often brash jest, but together with the thought of the eternal is just what it should be….”

Søren Kierkegaard, Works of Love,
   Harper Torchbooks, 1964, p. 324

Wednesday July 7, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:00 PM


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Except, of course, for
Amazing Grace.

Friday, July 2, 2004

Friday July 2, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:25 PM

“Jack Nicholson has said he believes, as do many actors, that when Brando’s gone, everyone moves up a place.”

Claudia Luther and Elaine Dutka,
Los Angeles Times staff writers

Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront:

Terry Malloy: “It wasn’t him, Charley, it was you. Remember that night in the Garden you came down to my dressing room and you said, ‘Kid, this ain’t your night. We’re going for the price on Wilson.’ You remember that? ‘This ain’t your night’! My night! I coulda taken Wilson apart! So what happens? He gets the title shot outdoors on the ballpark and what do I get? A one-way ticket to Palookaville! You was my brother, Charley, you shoulda looked out for me a little bit. You shoulda taken care of me just a little bit so I wouldn’t have to take them dives for the short-end money.”
Charley Malloy: “Oh, I had some bets down for you. You saw some money.”
Terry Malloy: “You don’t understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it. It was you, Charley.”

Sylvester Stallone in Rocky:

 “I can’t beat him. But that don’t bother me. The only thing I want to do is to go the distance, that’s all. Because if that bell rings and I’m still standing, then I’m gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I wasn’t just another bum from the neighborhood.”

Friday July 2, 2004

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

Is Nothing Sacred?


From a review in today’s

New York Times

of an L.A. art exhibit,

“Beyond Geometry”

By Michael Kimmelman
in Los Angeles

The roots of this work go back to Duchamp, the abiding spirit of “Beyond Geometry.” When he acquired his porcelain urinal in 1917 from a plumbing equipment manufacturer on lower Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, signed it R. Mutt and submitted the now infamous “Fountain” to the Society of Independent Artists exhibition, he set the stage for nearly every subsequent attempt to blur the difference between art and everyday life.

This was the great breakthrough of modernism or the end of culture as we know it, depending on your perspective. Either way, after Duchamp, as the artist Joseph Kosuth has put it, all art became conceptual.

Duchamp predicted that even a breath might end up being called a work of art, and he was right. Gilbert and George started calling their performances sculptures in the 70’s. Chris Burden, James Lee Byars and others said that their actions were sculptures. Smithson declared derelict factories and suburbs to be sculptures. Artists even made light, the ultimate intangible, into sculpture.

The show includes sculptures by Richard Serra and Barnett Newman. I recall Mr. Serra once talking about how Barnett Newman’s paintings invite you to walk past them, to experience them not in a single glance but over time, physically. He said the paintings, with their vertical stripes, or “zips,” are “about dividing and placing spaces next to one another, not about illusionism.”

“They’re great when you have to walk by them and immerse yourself in the divisions of their spaces,” he added. Meaning, they’re like sculptures.

Nomenclature is not the point. What matters is the ethos of countercultural disruption, looking at the world and art through the other end of the telescope, which is the heart of “Beyond Geometry” and the appeal of its best works to young artists.

Now is the time to put this period of postwar tumult into global perspective. The show here is a useful step in that direction.

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia,
other art events:

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(Click on logo for details.)

The reader may determine whether the Philadelphia nothing is the sort of nothing deemed, by some, sacred in my note of March 9, 2000.

I personally have a very low opinion of Kimmelman and his “ethos of countercultural disruption.”  The sort of light sculpture his words evoke is not that of the Pantheon (illustrated in an entry for St. Peter’s Day) but that of the current Philadelphia “Big Nothing” show, which in turn reminds me of that classic 1973 Hollywood art exhibit, The Exorcist:

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Thursday, July 1, 2004

Thursday July 1, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:59 PM
Every Picture
Tells a Story

St. Peter’s Day

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Pictured above:

The Pantheon, Rome
(courtesy of the Philadelphia
Museum of Art)

The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Rocky Balboa

For some philosophical
perspective, see

Peter: The Original Rocky.

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