Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday February 29, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:32 AM

I Have a

Noting today that the time was 11:32 (AM ET),  a portentous number in Finnegans Wake, I decided to practice a bit of chronomancy (use of time for augury).  My weblog's server infomed me when I pressed "enter" that it thought the exact time was 11:32:39.  Consulting (as in Symmetry and Change in the Dreamtime) the I Ching for the meaning of (hexagram) 39, I found the following:

The hexagram pictures a dangerous abyss lying before us and a steep, inaccessible mountain rising behind us…. One must join forces with friends of like mind and put himself under the leadership of a man equal to the situation: then one will succeed in removing the obstacles.

For the abyss and the mountain, see the five log24 entries ending on July 5, 2005, with "The Edge of Eternity." As for "friends of like mind," see the previous entry's references to July 2005.  "The leadership of a man equal to the situation" is more difficult to interpret.  Perhaps it refers, as a politician recently noted, to "a king who took us to the mountain-top and pointed the way to the promised land." Or perhaps to a different king.


Click on image for details.
Note the time: 11:32 (of 13:09).
The moment is that of the syllable
"mount" in the quotation above.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thursday February 28, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 7:20 PM
Popularity of MUB’s

From an entry today at the weblog of Lieven Le Bruyn (U. of Antwerp):

“MUBs (for Mutually Unbiased Bases) are quite popular at the moment. Kea is running a mini-series Mutual Unbias….”

The link to Kea (Marni Dee Sheppeard (pdf) of New Zealand) and a link in her Mutual Unbias III (Feb. 13) lead to the following illustration, from a talk, “Discrete phase space based on finite fields,” by William Wootters at the Perimeter Institute in 2005:


This illustration makes clear the
close relationship of MUB’s to the
finite geometry of the 4×4 square.

The Wootters talk was on July 20, 2005. For related material from that July which some will find more entertaining, see “Steven Cullinane is a Crank,” conveniently reproduced as a five-page thread in the Mathematics Forum at groupsrv.com.

Thursday February 28, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:00 PM
For Scarlett:


A campaign song
in memory of
Buddy Miles:


Click on image for details.  

With a wink to Lois Wyse    
and a nod to Woody Allen

Listen, I tell you a mystery….

Thursday February 28, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM
What you mean “we”?


“After the credits, a close-up of a lottery list shows the winning numbers drawn in the Mexican National Lottery, dated February 14, 1925. The camera pulls back to the hands of a man holding a lottery ticket and comparing his number with the posted winners.”

— Review of  
Treasure of the Sierra Madre
by Tim Dirks at filmsite.org

“One heart will  
 wear a valentine.”
— Sinatra 

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wednesday February 27, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:30 PM


Wednesday February 27, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:07 PM


Wednesday February 27, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 PM


Wednesday February 27, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:00 PM


Wednesday February 27, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:59 PM


Wednesday February 27, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:35 PM


Wednesday February 27, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM
Last Things

A link for William F. Buckley,
 who died today at 82:

The five Log24 entries ending
at 3:48 PM on Nov. 25, 2005.

Wednesday February 27, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 11:07 AM
The Plot

"Do not let me hear
Of the wisdom of old men,
but rather of their folly"
Four Quartets 

"Dear friends, would those of you who know what this is all about please raise your hands? I think if God is dead he laughed himself to death. Because, you see, we live in Eden. Genesis has got it all wrong– we never left the Garden. Look about you. This is paradise. It's hard to find, I'll grant you, but it is here. Under our feet, beneath the surface, all around us is everything we want. The earth is shining under the soot. We are all fools. Ha ha! Moriarty has made fools of all of us. But together– you and I, tonight– we'll bring him down."

— George C. Scott as Justin Playfair


The earth is shining
    under the soot…

THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.
  It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
  It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;  
  And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
  And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;

There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;

And though the last lights off the black West went
  Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
  World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Gerard Manley Hopkins, Society of Jesus


Ah! bright wings

"Whoever owns the Boeing 707
  parked on La Brea Avenue,
  your landing lights are on."

 [John Travolta runs on stage
  and rushes for the door.]

Oscar Night, Feb. 24, 2008

For a religious interpretation
of the number 707, see

To Announce a Faith

(All Hallows' Eve, 2006)

and the following link
to a Tom Stoppard line
from the previous entry:

"Heaven, how can I
believe in Heaven?"
she sings at the finale.

"Just a lying
 rhyme for seven!"

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tuesday February 26, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 8:00 PM

Eight is a Gate (continued)

Tom Stoppard, Jumpers:
"Heaven, how can I believe in Heaven?" she sings at the finale. "Just a lying rhyme for seven!"
"To begin at the beginning: Is God?…" [very long pause]

From "Space," by Salomon Bochner

Makom. Our term “space” derives from the Latin, and is thus relatively late. The nearest to it among earlier terms in the West are the Hebrew makom and the Greek topos (τόπος). The literal meaning of these two terms is the same, namely “place,” and even the scope of connotations is virtually the same (Theol. Wörterbuch…, 1966). Either term denotes: area, region, province; the room occupied by a person or an object, or by a community of persons or arrangements of objects. But by first occurrences in extant sources, makom seems to be the earlier term and concept. Apparently, topos is attested for the first time in the early fifth century B.C., in plays of Aeschylus and fragments of Parmenides, and its meaning there is a rather literal one, even in Parmenides. Now, the Hebrew book Job is more or less contemporary with these Greek sources, but in chapter 16:18 occurs in a rather figurative sense:

O earth, cover not thou my blood, and let my cry have no place (makom).

Late antiquity was already debating whether this makom is meant to be a “hiding place” or a “resting place” (Dhorme, p. 217), and there have even been suggestions that it might have the logical meaning of “occasion,” “opportunity.” Long before it appears in Job, makom occurs in the very first chapter of Genesis, in:

And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place (makom) and the dry land appear, and it was so (Genesis 1:9).

This biblical account is more or less contemporary with Hesiod's Theogony, but the makom of the biblical account has a cosmological nuance as no corresponding term in Hesiod. Elsewhere in Genesis (for instance, 22:3; 28:11; 28:19), makom usually refers to a place of cultic significance, where God might be worshipped, eventually if not immediately. Similarly, in the Arabic language, which however has been a written one only since the seventh century A.D., the term makām designates the place of a saint or of a holy tomb (Jammer, p. 27). In post-biblical Hebrew and Aramaic, in the first centuries A.D., makom became a theological synonym for God, as expressed in the Talmudic sayings: “He is the place of His world,” and “His world is His place” (Jammer, p. 26). Pagan Hellenism of the same era did not identify God with place, not noticeably so; except that the One (τὸ ἕν) of Plotinus (third century A.D.) was conceived as something very comprehensive (see for instance J. M. Rist, pp. 21-27) and thus may have been intended to subsume God and place, among other concepts. In the much older One of Parmenides (early fifth century B.C.), from which the Plotinian One ultimately descended, the theological aspect was only faintly discernible. But the spatial aspect was clearly visible, even emphasized (Diels, frag. 8, lines 42-49).


Paul Dhorme, Le livre de Job (Paris, 1926).

H. Diels and W. Kranz, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, 6th ed. (Berlin, 1938).

Max Jammer, Concepts of Space (Cambridge, Mass., 1954).

J. M. Rist, Plotinus: The Road to Reality (Cambridge, 1967).

Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament (1966), 8, 187-208, esp. 199ff.


Related material: In the previous entry — "Father Clark seizes at one place (page eight)
upon the fact that…."

Father Clark's reviewer (previous entry) called a remark by Father Clark "far fetched."
This use of "place" by the reviewer is, one might say, "near fetched."

Tuesday February 26, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 7:00 PM
The Just Word

The title of the previous entry, "Where Entertainment is God," comes (via Log24, Nov. 26, 2004) from Frank Rich.

The previous entry dealt, in part, with a dead Jesuit whose obituary appears in today's Los Angeles Times.  The online obituaries page places the Jesuit, without a photo, beneath a picture of a dead sitcom writer and to the left of a picture of a dead guru.

From the obituary proper:

Walter J. Burghardt, alleged preacher of 'the just word'

The obituary does not say
exactly what "the just word" is.

"Walter John Burghardt was born July 10, 1914, in New York, the son of immigrants from what is now Poland. He entered a Jesuit seminary in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., at 16, and in 1937 received a master's degree from Woodstock College in Maryland. He was ordained in 1941." He died, by the way, on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2008.

The reference to Woodstock College brings to mind a fellow Jesuit, Joseph T. Clark, who wrote a book on logic published by that college.

From a review of the book:

"In order to show that Aristotelian logicians were at least vaguely aware of a kind of analogy or possible isomorphism between logical relations and mathematical relations, Father Clark seizes at one place (p. 8) upon the fact that Aristotle uses the word, 'figure' (schema), in describing the syllogism and concludes from this that 'it is obvious that the schema of the syllogism is to serve the logician precisely as the figure serves the geometer.' On the face of it, this strikes one as a bit far fetched…."

Henry Veatch in Speculum, Vol. 29, No. 2, Part 1 (Apr., 1954), pp. 266-268 (review of Conventional Logic and Modern Logic: A Prelude to Transition (1952), by Joseph T. Clark, Society of Jesus)

Perhaps the just word is,
as above, "schema."

Related material:

The Geometry of Logic

Tuesday February 26, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:00 AM

LA Times obits 2/26/08: Dead sitcom writer, dead guru, dead jesuit

Baer died Friday, Feb. 22.

Some thoughts from
the preceding Friday,
the birthday of actor
Kevin “You’re Next

Black monolith, 1x4x9

“Many dreams have been
brought to your doorstep.
They just lie there
 and they die there.”

The Return of the Author,
 by Eugen Simion:

On Sartre’s Les Mots

“Writing helps him find his own place within this vast comedy. He does not take to writing seriously yet, but he is eager to write books in order to escape the comedy he has been compelled to take part in.”

Related material:

The obituary of Burghardt
and The Four Last Things.

“Hell is other people.”
Jean-Paul Sartre,   
No Exit

With a laugh track.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Monday February 25, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:29 PM
The Passion of
the Children

Today is the fourth anniversary of the opening– Ash Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2004– of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.

“Tonight we look beyond the dark days to focus on happier fare, this year’s slate of Oscar-nominated psychopathic-killer movies….

I was happy to see Atonement nominated this year for best picture, quite frankly. Very happy. Atonement: finally, a story that captured the passion and raw sexuality of Yom Kippur.”


— Jon Stewart’s
Oscar monologue yesterday

Related material:

The Amish Schoolchildren:
A Story of
Yom Kippur, 2006

Monday February 25, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:26 PM

“I was happy to see Atonement nominated this year for best picture quite frankly. Very happy. Atonement: finally a story that captured the passion and raw sexuality of Yom Kippur.”

 — Jon Stewart’s Oscar monologue yesterday

Monday February 25, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 4:00 PM
A System of SymbolsA book from
Yale University Press
discussed in Log24
four years ago today:

Inside Modernism: Relativity Theory, Cubism, Narrative

Click on image for details.

The book is titled
Inside Modernism:
Relativity Theory,
Cubism, Narrative

For a narrative about relativity
and cubes, see Knight Moves.

Related material:

Geek chic in
this week’s New Yorker

“… it takes a system of symbols
to make numbers precise–
to ‘crystallize’ them….”

— and a mnemonic for three
days in October 2006
following a memorial to
the Amish schoolchildren
slain that month:

Seven is Heaven,
Eight is a Gate,
Nine is a Vine.

Monday February 25, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Robert A. Heinlein’s 
Glory Road (1963):

    “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!”

“I hope that I will be your lucky star,” she said earnestly. “As you will. But what shall I call you?”

I thought about it….

The name I had picked up in the hospital ward would do. I shrugged. “Oh, Scar is a good enough name.”

” ‘Oscar,’ ” she repeated, broadening the “O” into “Aw,”and stressing both syllables. “A noble name. A hero’s name. Oscar.” She caressed it with her voice.

“No, no! Not ‘Oscar’– ‘Scar.’ ‘Scarface.’ For this.”

“Oscar is your name,” she said firmly. “Oscar and Aster. Scar and Star.”

Related material:

In memory of
Albert Axelrod

who died on
February 24, 2004
(Mardi Gras) —

Road to Nowhere

and today’s comics:

Hagar the Horrible and fencer: 'You have to admire his guts.'

See also yesterday’s
entry for Oscar night

(the fourth anniversary
of Axelrod’s death and of
The Crimson Passion).

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday February 24, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM
Labyrinth of Solitude


Chapel, Cuernavaca, Mexico

“A labyrinthine man never seeks
the truth, but always, only, his Ariadne….
Who besides myself knows what Ariadne is?”

epigraph to Ariadne’s Lives,
by Nina daVinci Nichols
(See yesterday’s entry.)

Related material:

Entries of Feb. 13
and Feb. 19 at Log24
and the entry of Feb. 13 at

Ariachne’s Broken Woof

Troilus and Cressida in Act 5, Scene 2:

“And yet the spacious breadth of this division
Admits no orifex for a point as subtle
As Ariachne’s broken woof to enter.
Instance, O instance! strong as Pluto’s gates;
Cressid is mine, tied with the bonds of heaven:
Instance, O instance! strong as heaven itself;
The bonds of heaven are slipp’d, dissolved, and loosed….”

See also Slipstream: “We’ve lost the plot!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saturday February 23, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 12:00 PM

"An acute study of the links
between word and fact"
Nina daVinci Nichols

Thanks to a Virginia reader for a reminder:
Virginia /391062427/item.html? 2/22/2008 7:37 PM
The link is to a Log24 entry
that begins as follows…

An Exercise

of Power

Johnny Cash:
"And behold,
a white horse."

Springer logo - A chess knight
Chess Knight
(in German, Springer)

This, along with the "jumper" theme in the previous two entries, suggests a search on springer jumper.That search yields a German sports phrase, "Springer kommt!"  A search on that phrase yields the following:
"Liebe Frau vBayern,
mich würde interessieren wie man
mit diesem Hintergrund
zu Springer kommt?"

Background of "Frau vBayern" from thePeerage.com:

Anna-Natascha Prinzessin zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg 

F, #64640, b. 15 March 1978Last Edited=20 Oct 2005

     Anna-Natascha Prinzessin zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg was born on 15 March 1978. She is the daughter of Ludwig Ferdinand Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and Countess Yvonne Wachtmeister af Johannishus. She married Manuel Maria Alexander Leopold Jerg Prinz von Bayern, son of Leopold Prinz von Bayern and Ursula Mohlenkamp, on 6 August 2005 at Nykøping, Södermanland, Sweden.


The date of the above "Liebe Frau vBayern" inquiry, Feb. 1, 2007, suggests the following:

From Log24 on
St. Bridget's Day, 2007:

The quotation
"Science is a Faustian bargain"
and the following figure–


The 63 yang-containing hexagrams of the I Ching as a Singer 63-cycle

From a short story by
the above Princess:

"'I don't even think she would have wanted to change you. But she for sure did not want to change herself. And her values were simply a part of her.' It was true, too. I would even go so far as to say that they were her basis, if you think about her as a geometrical body. That's what they couldn't understand, because in this age of the full understanding for stretches of values in favor of self-realization of any kind, it was a completely foreign concept."

To make this excellent metaphor mathematically correct,
change "geometrical body" to "space"… as in

"For Princeton's Class of 2007"

Review of a 2004 production of a 1972 Tom Stoppard play, "Jumpers"–

John Lahr on Tom Stoppard's play Jumpers

Related material:

Knight Moves (Log24, Jan. 16),
Kindergarten Theology (St. Bridget's Day, 2008),

The image “My space -(the affine space of six dimensions over the two-element field
(Click on image for details.)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday February 22, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:00 AM
Philosophers Ponder

“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 in
   The New York Times
Monday, May 20, 1996

Associated Press,
Today in History,
Monday, Feb. 18, 2008:

On this date:

In 1564,
artist Michelangelo
died in Rome.

Images of time and eternity in a 1x4x9 black monolith

Non ha l’ottimo artista in se alcun concetto,
Ch’un marmo solo in se non circoscriva
Col suo soverchio; e solo a quello arriva
La man che ubbidisce all’intelletto.
(The best artist has in himself no concept
in a single block of marble not contained;
only the hand obeying mind will find it.)
— Michelangelo, as quoted
by Erwin Panofsky in

Idea: A Concept
in Art Theory

Todo lo sé por el lucero puro
que brilla en la diadema de la Muerte

— Rubén Darío

Related material:
Yesterday’s entry
and Anthony Lane
in this week’s
New Yorker:

“… the whole of ‘Jumper’ comes across as vastly incurious about the cultures at its command. When David takes Millie (Rachel Bilson), a school friend from Michigan, for a dirty day out in Rome, she stands in awe before the Colosseum. ‘This place is amazing,’ she declares. ‘It’s so cool.’ I wasn’t expecting Ernst Gombrich….”

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thursday February 21, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:07 AM

The New Yorker's Anthony Lane reviewing the new film "Jumper"–

"I wasn’t expecting Ernst Gombrich, but surely three writers, among them, could inject a touch of class."

The "Jumper" theme, teleportation, has been better developed by three other writers– Bester, Zelazny, and King–

"As a long-time fan of both Alfie Bester and Roger Zelazny, I was delighted to find this posthumous collaboration. Psychoshop is, I think, true to both authors' bodies of work. After all, Bester's influence on Zelazny is evident in a a number of works, most notably Eye of Cat with its dazzling experimental typography so reminiscent of what Bester had done in The Demolished Man and The Stars My Destination."

— Amazon.com customer review

"'This is the last call for Jaunt-701,' the pleasant female voice echoed through the Blue Concourse of New York's Port Authority Terminal."

— Stephen King, "The Jaunt"

From another
Log24, Feb. 7:

The Football

New York Lottery, 2008:

NY Lottery Feb. 6, 2008: Mid-day 064, Evening 701

The Mandorla (vesica piscis) as Football


"He pointed at the football
  on his desk. 'There it is.'"
Glory Road   

Wu  Li
Masters know
that physicists are
doing  more  than
'discovering  the endless
 diversity of nature.' They
 are  dancing with Kali,
 the Divine Mother of
 Hindu  mythology."
 — Gary Zukav,

"What happened?"
  one of the scientists shouted….

"It's eternity in there,"
 he said, and dropped dead….

— Stephen King, "The Jaunt"

for  Ernst
Gombrich, see
his  link in  the
Log24 entries
of June 15,

Related material:
the previous entry.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wednesday February 20, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 11:48 AM
 About Five Years Ago:

M. V. Ramana on a famous quotation–
"Oppenheimer had learned Sanskrit at Berkeley so as to read the Gita in the original; he always kept a worn pink copy on the bookshelf closest to his desk. It is therefore likely that he may have actually thought of the original, Sanskrit, verse rather than the English translation. The closest that fits this meaning is in the 32nd verse from the 11th chapter of the Gita.

 kalosmi lokaksaya krt pravrddho

This literally means: I am kAla, the great destroyer of Worlds. What is intriguing about this verse, then, is the interpretation of kAla by Jungk and others to mean death. While death is technically one of the meanings of kAla, a more common one is time."

"KAla" (in the Harvard-Kyoto transliteration scheme) is more familiar to the West in the related form of Kali, a goddess sometimes depicted as a dancing girl; Kali is related to kAla, time, according to one website, as "the force which governs and stops time."  See also the novel The Fermata, by Nicholson Baker.

The fact that Oppenheimer thought of Chapter 11, verse 32, of the Gita may, as a mnemonic device, be associated with the use of the number 1132 in Finnegans Wake.

 See 1132 A. D. & Saint Brighid, and my weblog entries of January 5 (Twelfth Night and the whirligig of time), January 31 (St. Bridget's Eve), and February 1 (St. Bridget's Day), 2003

The custom-made asterisk
above may be regarded
as a version of
the "Spider" symbol
of Fritz Leiber.

Todo lo sé por el lucero puro
que brilla en la diadema de la Muerte

Rubén Darío

Related material:

The previous five entries
and the entries of
this date three years ago.

Time of this entry:

11:48:17 AM.

Wednesday February 20, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:07 AM


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tuesday February 19, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 PM


Tuesday February 19, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:00 AM

Cuneiform An (Sky) and Dingir (God, Goddess)

An: sky, heaven
digir (dingir): god, goddess

“The sigil was an eight-limbed
 asterisk made of fine dark lines,,,,
An X superimposed on a plus sign.
It looked permanent.”

— Fritz Leiber,
“Damnation Morning,”
1959 short story
in Changewar

Leiber, Changewar, Ace edition, 1983

Ace edition, May 1, 1983

Tuesday February 19, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:59 AM


Monday, February 18, 2008

Monday February 18, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:07 PM

The timestamp of this entry, 11:07 PM on Feb. 18, was reserved for a later entry.

The appropriate entry now (3:09 PM on Feb. 24, Oscar Day) seems to be a link in (belated) honor of Anthony Hopkins’s performance in Nixon: The Comeback Kid.

Monday February 18, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:00 PM

This entry’s timestamp, 3 PM on Feb. 18, was reserved for a later entry.

Feb. 18 is the date of Robert Oppenheimer‘s death. The appropriate entry now (Feb. 24– Oscar Day– at 3 PM) seems to be a link to Nov. 6, 2003: The Most Violent Poem.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sunday February 17, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:15 AM
Big Time

Log24 on Feb. 13:

New York Times today–
"Plot Would Thicken, if the
Writers Remembered It

"We've lost the plot!"

Nicole Kidman in 'The Human Stain' at VideoSpider.tv

Excerpt from Fritz Leiber's
"Damnation Morning," 1959

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.

Fritz Leiber's 'Spider' symbol

Bordered version
of the sigil

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."

Related material:
the previous entry.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Saturday February 16, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 9:29 AM
Between Two Worlds

From the world of mathematics…

“… my advisor once told me, ‘If you ever find yourself drawing one of those meaningless diagrams with arrows connecting different areas of mathematics, it’s a good sign that you’re going senile.'”

— Scott Carnahan at Secret Blogging Seminar, December 14, 2007

Carnahan’s remark in context:

“About five years ago, Cheewhye Chin gave a great year-long seminar on Langlands correspondence for GLr over function fields…. In the beginning, he drew a diagram….

If we remove all of the explanatory text, the diagram looks like this:

CheeWhye Diagram

I was a bit hesitant to draw this, because my advisor once told me, ‘If you ever find yourself drawing one of those meaningless diagrams with arrows connecting different areas of mathematics, it’s a good sign that you’re going senile.’ Anyway, I’ll explain roughly how it works.

Langlands correspondence is a ‘bridge between two worlds,’ or more specifically, an assertion of a bijection….”

Compare and contrast the above…

… to the world of Rudolf Kaehr:

Rudolf Kaehr on 'Diamond Structuration'

The above reference to “diamond theory” is from Rudolf Kaehr‘s paper titled Double Cross Playing Diamonds.

Another bridge…

Carnahan’s advisor, referring to “meaningless diagrams with arrows connecting different areas of mathematics,” probably did not have in mind diagrams like the two above, but rather diagrams like the two below–

From the world of mathematics

Relationship of diamond theory to other fields

“A rough sketch of
how diamond theory is
related to some other
fields of mathematics”
— Steven H. Cullinane

… to the world of Rudolf Kaehr:

Relationship of PolyContextural Logic (PCL) to other fields

Related material:

For further details on
the “diamond theory” of
Cullinane, see

Finite Geometry of the
Square and Cube

For further details on
the “diamond theory” of
Kaehr, see

Rudy’s Diamond Strategies.

Those who prefer entertainment
may enjoy an excerpt
from Log24, October 2007:

“Do not let me hear
Of the wisdom
of old men,
but rather of
their folly”
Four Quartets   

Anthony Hopkins in 'Slipstream'

Anthony Hopkins
in the film

Anthony Hopkins  
in the film “Proof“–

Goddamnit, open
the goddamn book!
Read me the lines!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday February 15, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:10 AM

Black monolith, 1x4x9

“Many dreams have been
brought to your doorstep.
They just lie there
 and they die there.”

Lyricist Ray Evans,
who died at 92
   one year ago today

Associated Press –
Today in History
Thought for Today:

“Like all dreamers I confuse
 disenchantment with truth.”
–Jean-Paul Sartre

The Return of the Author, by Eugen Simion:

On Sartre’s Les Mots

“Writing helps him find his own place within this vast comedy. He does not take to writing seriously yet, but he is eager to write books in order to escape the comedy he has been compelled to take part in.

The craft of writing appeared to me as an adult activity, so ponderously serious, so trifling, and, at bottom, so lacking in interest that I didn’t doubt for a moment that it was in store for me. I said to myself both ‘that’s all it is’ and ‘I am gifted.’ Like all dreamers, I confused disenchantment with truth.”

This is given in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (1999) as

Like all dreamers, I mistook disenchantment for truth.

Also from the AP’s
Today in History

Today’s Birthdays:
Actor Kevin McCarthy is 94.

Related material:

Hopkins at Heaven’s Gate
  (In context: October 2007)–

Anthony Hopkins at Dolly's Little Diner in Slipstream

“Dolly’s Little Diner–
Home from Home”

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Thursday February 14, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:20 AM
The Fab Four
Meet Ken Kesey

“Hanging from the highest limb of the apple tree are the three God’s Eyes Quiston and Caleb made out of yarn at Camp Nebo. The eyes aren’t moving a wink in the thick hot air, but they likely see the world spinning around as well as any Fool‘s.”

Ken Kesey,
  “Last Time the Angels Came Up,”
   in Demon Box

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wednesday February 13, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:00 PM
New York Times today–
Plot Would Thicken, if the
Writers Remembered It

Gala Premiere:


PA Lottery Monolith (Feb. 13, 2008)

“My God, it’s
full of numbers!”

Roger Ebert:

“This movie is….
the most scandalous
cinematic waste I have
 ever seen, and remember,
I’ve seen Paint Your Wagon.”

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tuesday February 12, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 5:01 PM


"Kirk Browning… television director of 'Live* From Lincoln Center,' died on Sunday [Feb. 10, 2008] in Manhattan. He was 86.

The cause was a heart attack, his son, David, said.
Kirk Browning, TV director of 'Live from Lincoln Center'

… In addition to his 'Live From Lincoln Center' programs, 10 of which won Emmy Awards, Mr. Browning… directed, among other productions… the first TV show with Frank Sinatra as host (1957); and 'Hallmark Hall of Fame' music and drama specials (1951 to 1958)."

The New York Times

In Memoriam:

Shoe: 'Mort's Mortuary,' Sunday, Feb. 10, 2008

* The timestamp of this entry is, however, not live. The entry was actually produced at about 5:55 AM on Feb. 13.  The timestamp of the entry, 5:01 PM on Lincoln's Birthday, is a veiled reference to Cemetery Ridge, to the meadow in "Readings for Candlemas" (see also the previous two entries) and to a Gettysburg address.

Tuesday February 12, 2008

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

Keys and Sinatra in 'Learnin the Blues'

"That's the beginning –
 just one of those clues.
You've had your first lesson
 in learnin' the blues."

Related material:
All That Jazz
(previous entry)

Tuesday February 12, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:09 AM
At the Still Point…

Roy Scheider in 'All That Jazz'

The Lives of Jazz, by Gerald Early: Feb. 12 premiere of Rhapsody in Blue

"Rhapsody in Blue was commissioned in January of 1924 by Paul Whiteman for an experimental concert of popular music. It was… premiered at Aeolian Hall in New York City on February 12, 1924 with the composer at the piano." —Matthew Naughtin

"Whiteman's concept of the 'true form of jazz,' even as late as 1924, was the original Dixieland Jazz Band's 1917 recording of… Livery Stable Blues, with which he opened the program." —The New York Times

For another sort of livery stable blues, see Readings for Candlemas (Log24, Feb. 2, 2008).

Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday February 11, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 AM

“A shape of some kind
for something that
  has no shape.”

The black monolith from '2001'

— Roy Scheider
  in “2010”

For further details,
 click on the monolith.

See also the Keystone State’s
lottery numbers for Sunday–
Grammy night and the
date of Scheider’s death:

PA  Lottery Sunday, Feb. 10, 2008: Mid-day 234, Evening 617

These numbers suggest
the following links.

For further details related
to death and religion, see
a version of the cheer
“1234, who are we for?”

For further details related
to Grammy night, see
6/17, 2007:

A selection from the
  Stephen King Hymnal

Alicia Keys and Scatman Crothers - 'If you could read my mind, love...'

“… it’s going to be
accomplished in steps,
this establishment
of the Talented in
  the scheme of things.”

— Anne McCaffrey, 
Radcliffe ’47,
To Ride Pegasus

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday February 10, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:59 AM

The timestamp of this entry, 7:59 AM, may be regarded as a reference to the Log24 entry of July 17, 2003 “A Constant Idea: 759.”

The word “idea” in that entry is a reference to Plato– who, along with Shakespeare, appears in a Chesterton quote in “An Epiphany for Roy, Part I.”

(This entry, on the other hand, was written, along with parts I and III of “An Epiphany for Roy,” on the morning of Monday, Feb. 11, 2008.)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Saturday February 9, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:23 AM

The timestamp of this entry, 4:23 AM, may be regarded as a memorial to Fra’ Andrew Bertie (see Andrew Cusack’s journal). It was at about this time that I heard of Fra’ Andrew’s death. The timestamp is a reference to Shakespeare’s birthday and to the following thought:

Page 162 of Orthodoxy, by G. K. Chesterton (1908), reprinted in 1995 by Ignatius Press, San Francisco–

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.

The entry itself was written later… on the morning of Monday, Feb. 11, 2008. For a similar reference of sorts, to Plato, see “Epiphany for Roy, Part II” (timestamped 7:59 AM Sunday, Feb. 10, 2008).

Friday, February 8, 2008

Friday February 8, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:06 AM

Prizes and Rewards

"… like the victors in the games   
collecting their prizes,
    we receive our reward…."
— Conclusion of
Plato's Republic

From The Harvard Crimson
front page on
Mardi Gras, 2008:

Harvard senior Matthew Di Pasquale
plans a new campus magazine called

New magazine 'Diamond' planned at Harvard
Click to enlarge

Related material:

The Crimson Passion:
 Drama at Mardi Gras

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Thursday February 7, 2008

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

New York Lottery, 2008:

NY Lottery Feb. 6, 2008: Mid-day 064, Evening 701

The Mandorla as Football


"He pointed at the football
  on his desk. 'There it is.'"
Glory Road   


  "The Rock" — 

"I'll do my best."


"Your best. Losers
always whine about
their best. Winners
go home and …."


Wu  Li
Masters know
that physicists are
doing  more  than
'discovering  the endless
 diversity of nature.' They
 are  dancing with Kali,
 the Divine Mother of
 Hindu  mythology."
 — Gary Zukav,

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Wednesday February 6, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:01 AM
NASA Meets Jesus
continued from
Feb. 5, 2003

NASA antenna

NASA Says,
“Hello, Universe.
 Meet the Beatles.”

The release date

 of the DVD of
 Julie Taymor‘s
Beatles tribute
Across the Universe
was the same as that of
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
February 5, 2008

“Any day now, any day now,
 I shall be released.”
— Bob Dylan in
NASA Meets Jesus,”
February 5, 2003

Related material:
Happy Birthday,
John O’Hara

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Tuesday February 5, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:05 AM

A literary complaint:

Philip Larkin on his fear of death

This is a special way
   of being afraid
No trick dispels.
   Religion used to try,
That vast, moth-eaten
   musical brocade
Created to pretend
   we never die….

A literary response
quoted in
The Last Enemy

Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him by the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned:

Introibo ad altare Dei.

Halted, he peered down the dark winding stairs and called up coarsely:

— Come up, Kinch! Come up, you fearful jesuit!

Solemnly he came forward and mounted the round gunrest. He faced about and blessed gravely thrice the tower, the surrounding country and the awaking mountains. Then, catching sight of Stephen Dedalus, he bent towards him and made rapid crosses in the air, gurgling in his throat and shaking his head. Stephen Dedalus, displeased and sleepy, leaned his arms on the top of the staircase and looked coldly at the shaking gurgling face that blessed him, equine in its length, and at the light untonsured hair, grained and hued like pale oak.

Buck Mulligan peeped an instant under the mirror and then covered the bowl smartly.

— Back to barracks! he said sternly.

He added in a preacher’s tone:

— For this, O dearly beloved, is the genuine Christine: body and soul and blood and ouns. Slow music, please. Shut your eyes, gents. One moment. A little trouble about those white corpuscles. Silence, all.

He peered sideways up and gave a long low whistle of call, then paused awhile in rapt attention, his even white teeth glistening here and there with gold points. Chrysostomos. Two strong shrill whistles answered through the calm.

— Thanks, old chap, he cried briskly. That will do nicely. Switch off the current, will you?

— James Joyce, Ulysses

From a musical brocade:

“My shavin’ razor’s cold
 and it stings.”

— John Stewart,
    who died on January 19

For the rest of
the brocade, see
The Last Enemy.

Related material:

The Crimson Passion:
A Drama at Mardi Gras

and the quote by Susan Sontag
in yesterday’s entry,
as well as a recent
New York Times book review:

NYT review of a book on the death of Susan Sontag

“Slow music, please.
 Shut your eyes, gents.
 One moment. A little trouble
 about those white corpuscles.
 Silence, all.”

 Ite, missa est.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Monday February 4, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:59 AM
New York Lottery,
Super Bowl Sunday, 2008:

NY Lottery Feb. 3, 2008: Mid-day 408, Evening 888

Susan Sontag,
Against Interpretation

“Of course, I don’t mean interpretation in the broadest sense, the sense in which Nietzsche (rightly) says, ‘There are no facts, only interpretations.’ By interpretation, I mean here a conscious act of the mind which illustrates a certain code, certain ‘rules’ of interpretation.”

A Certain Code

Edward Gibbon on the Trinity:

“perhaps the deepest and darkest corner of the whole theological abyss”

Friedrich Nietzsche on the abyss:

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.  And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.”

Frank Sinatra on narrative:

“You gotta be true to your code.”

The Lottery Code:

Log24, Feb. 27, 2007

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Saturday February 2, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:19 AM
Incident at Twenty-Mile:

Matthew had a couple of hours on his hands before dinner with the Kanes, so he drifted up to the only grassy spot in Twenty-Mile, the triangular, up-tilted little meadow crossed by a rivulet running off from the cold spring that provided the town's water. This meadow belonged to the livery stable, and half a dozen of its donkeys lazily nosed in the grass while, at the far end, a scrawny cow stood in the shade of the only tree in Twenty-Mile, a stunted skeleton whose leafless, wind-raked branches stretched imploringly to leeward, like bony fingers clawing the clouds. The meadow couldn't be seen from any part of the town except the Livery, so Matthew felt comfortably secluded as he sauntered along, intending to investigate the burial ground that abutted the donkey meadow, but B. J. Stone called to him from the Livery, so he turned back and began the chore they had found for him to do: oiling tools.


After they did the dishes, Matthew and Ruth Lillian walked down the Sunday-silent street, then turned up into the donkey meadow. He was careful to guide her away from the soggy patch beneath the tree, where the Bjorkvists had slaughtered that week's beef. Lost in their own thoughts, they strolled across the meadow, the uneven ground causing their shoulders to brush occasionally, until they reached the fenced-in burying ground.


"Matthew?" she asked in an offhand tone.


"What's 'the Other Place'?"

He turned and stared at her. "How do you know about that?"

"You told me."

"I never!"

"Yes, you did. You were telling about your fight with the Benson boys, and you said you couldn't feel their punches because you were in this 'Other Place.' I didn't ask you about it then, 'cause you were all worked up.  But I've been curious about it ever since."

"Oh, it's just…" In a gesture that had something of embarrassment in it and something of imitation, he threw his stick as hard as he could, and it whop-whop-whop'd through the air, landing against the sagging fence that separated the burying ground from the donkey meadow.

"If you don't want to tell me, forget it.  I just thought… Never mind." She walked on.

"It's not that I don't want to tell you. But it's… it's hard to explain."

She stopped and waited patiently.

"It's just… well, when I was a little kid and I was scared– scared because Pa was shouting at Ma, or because I was going to have to fight some kid during recess– I'd fix my eyes on a crack in the floor or a ripple in a pane of glass– on anything, it didn't matter what– and pretty soon I'd slip into this– this Other Place where everything was kind of hazy and echoey, and I was far away and safe. At first, I had to concentrate real hard to get to this safe place. But then, this one day a kid was picking on me, and just like that– without even trying– I was suddenly there, and I felt just as calm as calm, and not afraid of anything. I knew they were punching me, and I could hear the kids yelling names, but it didn't hurt and I didn't care, 'cause I was off in the Other Place.  And after that, any time I was scared, or if I was facing something that was just too bad, I'd suddenly find myself there. Safe and peaceful." He searched here eyes. "Does that make any sense to you, Ruth Lillian?"

"Hm-m… sort of. It sounds kind of eerie." And she added quickly, "But really interesting!"

"I've never told anybody about it. Not even my ma. I was afraid to because… This'll sound funny, but I was afraid that if other people knew about the Other Place, it might heal up and go away, and I wouldn't be able to get there when I really needed to. Crazy, huh?"

Related material:

The Meadow,

Logical Songs,

Plato, Pegasus, and
the Evening Star

Friday, February 1, 2008

Friday February 1, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:01 AM


Friday February 1, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 5:01 AM
Kindergarten Theology

On the late James Edwin Loder,
a Presbyterian minister and
a professor of Christian education
at Princeton Theological Seminary,
co-author of The Knight’s Move (1992):

“At his memorial service his daughter Tami told the story of ‘little Jimmy,’ whose kindergarten teacher recognized a special quality of mind that set him apart. ‘Every day we read a story, and after the story is over, Jimmy gets up and wants to tell us what the story means.'” — Dana R. Wright

For a related story about
knight moves and kindergarten,
see Knight Moves: The Relativity
Theory of Kindergarten Blocks
and Log24, Jan. 16, 17, and 18.

See also Loder’s book
(poorly written, but of some
interest in light of the above):

The Knight's Move, by Loder and Neidhardt

Opening of The Knight’s Move —

“In a game of chess, the knight’s move is unique because it alone goes around corners. In this way, it combines the continuity of a set sequence with the discontinuity of an unpredictable turn in the middle. This meaningful combination of continuity and discontinuity in an otherwise linear set of possibilities has led some to refer to the creative act of discovery in any field of research as a ‘knight’s move’ in intelligence.

The significance of the title of this volume might stop there but for Kierkegaard’s use of the ‘knight’ image. The force of Kierkegaards’s usage might be described in relation to the chess metaphor by saying that not merely does Kierkegaard’s ‘knight of faith’ undertake a unique move within the rules of the human game, but faith transposes the whole idea of a ‘knight’s move’ into the mind of the Chess Master Himself. That is to say, chess is a game of multiple possibilities and interlocking strategies, so a chess master must combine the  continuity represented by the whole complex of the game with the unpredictable decision he must make every time it is his turn. A master chess player, then, does not merely follow the rules; in him the game becomes a construct of consciousness. The better the player the more fully the game comes into its own as a creation of human intelligence. Similarly, for Kierkegaard, the knight of faith is a unique figure in human experience. The knight shows how, by existing in faith as a creative act of Christ’s Spirit, human existence comes into its own as an expression of the mind of Christ. Thus, the ultimate form of a ‘knight’s move’ is a creative act raised to the nth power by Spiritus Creator, but it still partakes fully in the concrete pieces and patterns that comprise the nature of the human game and the game of nature.”

— James E. Loder and W. Jim Neidhardt (Helmers & Howard Publishing, 1992)

For a discussion, see Triplett’s
Thinking Critically as a Christian.”

Many would deny that such
a thing is possible; let them
read the works of T. S. Eliot.

Related material:

The Knight’s Move
discusses (badly) Hofstadter’s
“strange loop” concept; see
Not Mathematics but Theology
(Log24, July 12, 2007).

Friday February 1, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:48 AM


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