Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday July 31, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:09 PM
Again with the…


at The New York Times.

For previous notes on
allure at the Times, see
St. Luke’s Day, 2008,
and its links.

Teaser at the top of
this afternoon’s Times’s
online front page:

Vampires Never Die:
In our fast-paced society,
eternity has a special
allure.” (With fanged

NYT teaser, 'Vampires Never Die'

Yesterday’s afternoon entry was
related to both the July 13th death
of avant-garde artist Dash Snow
and the beauty of Suzanne Vega.

A reference to Vega’s album
“Beauty & Crime” apppeared here
on the date of Snow’s death.
(See “Terrible End for an
Enfant Terrible
,” NY Times,
story dated July 24.)

The Vega entry yesterday was, in
part, a reference to that context.

Suzanne Vega album cover, 'Beauty and Crime'

In view of today’s Times
teaser, the large picture of
Vega shown here yesterday
(a detail of the above cover)
seems less an image of
pure beauty than of, well,
a lure… specifically, a
vampire lure:

Suzanne Vega as Vampire Bait

What healthy vampire
could resist that neck?

To me, the key words in the
Times teaser are “allure”
(discussed above) and “eternity.”

For both allure and eternity
in the same picture
(with interpretive
symbols added above)
see this journal on
January 31, 2008:

Abstract Symbols of Time and Eternity

Jean Simmons and Deborah Kerr in Black Narcissus

This image from “Black Narcissus”
casts Jean Simmons as Allure
and Deborah Kerr, in a pretty
contrast, as Eternity.

For different approaches to
these concepts, see Simmons
and Kerr in other films,
notably those co-starring
Burt Lancaster.

Lancaster seems to have had
a pretty good grasp of Allure
in his films with Simmons
and Kerr. For Eternity, see
“Rocket Gibraltar” and
“Field of Dreams.”

For less heterosexual approaches
to these concepts, see the
continuing culture coverage of
the Times— for instance, the
vampire essay above and the
Times‘s remarks Monday on
choreographer Merce Cunningham–
who always reminded me of
 Carmen Ghia in “The Producers”–

Carmen Ghia from 'The Producers'

Related material:

“Dance of the Vampires”
in “At the Still Point”
 (this journal, 1/16/03).

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday July 30, 2009

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:23 PM

The Discreet Charm
of Suzanne Vega

We keep coming back
    and coming back
To the real: to the hotel
    instead of the hymns….

— Wallace Stevens  

Suzanne Vega, album cover, 'Beauty and Crime'

'There's a small hotel....'

"In the room the women come and go"

— Stephen King, The Shining:
"The Wasps' Nest"

Thursday July 30, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 AM

Academy Awards
for Cambridge

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

Arrest of Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., in Cambridge, Mass.

“A poem cannot exhaust reality,
  but it can arrest it.

At War with the Word:
   Literary Theory and
   Liberal Education
   by R. V. Young,
   Chapter One

For one such poem, see

Life and Death United:
An Intimate Portrait of
a Man Named Miles Davis
from a seminar’s weblog
at DePauw University on
Sunday, November 21, 2004.

See also the four Log24
entries on that date as well
as yesterday’s entry on Davis
and the entries preceding it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday July 29, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:29 PM
Lydian Mode

In memory of composer
George Russell, who
died at 86 on Monday —

Russell’s thoughts on the Lydian mode
strongly influenced Miles Davis,
notably in Davis’s “Kind of Blue.”

Cover, 'The Making of 'Kind of Blue''

“The power of the Lydian mode,
  Russell realized, is
  freedom from time’s restraints.
  The major scale is in a state of becoming.
  The Lydian scale already is.”

The Gravity Man, by Alice Dragoon,
    quoted at LydianChromaticConcept.com 

Related material:

“Field Dance,” from the date of Russell’s death.

“The Tables of Time,” from Nov. 13, 2003,
  and the four entries that preceded it.

Today’s previous entry
The Reversible Diamond Puzzle
(from St. Nicholas, November 1874)–

The first crossword puzzle-- the 'Reversible Diamond Puzzle,' 1874

Wednesday July 29, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 12:21 PM

Adam and God (Sistine Chapel), with Jungian Self-Symbol and Ojo de Dios (The Diamond Puzzle)

Related material:

“A great deal has been made of the fact that Forbidden Planet is essentially William Shakespeare’s The Tempest (1611) in an science-fiction setting. It is this that transforms Forbidden Planet into far more than a mere pulp science-fiction story” — Richard Scheib

Dialogue from Forbidden Planet

“… Which makes it a gilt-edged priority that one of us gets into that Krell lab and takes that brain boost.”

Dialogue from another story —

“They thought they were doing a linear magnification, sort of putting me through a  magnifying glass.”


“Brainwise, but what they did was multiply me by myself into a quadratic.”

Psychoshop, by Bester and Zelazny, 1998 paperback, p. 7

“… which would produce a special being– by means of that ‘cloned quadratic crap.’ [P. 75] The proper term sounds something like ‘Kaleideion‘….”

“So Adam is a Kaleideion?”

She shook her head.

“Not a Kaleideion. The Kaleideion….”

Psychoshop, 1998 paperback, p. 85

See also

Changing Woman:

“Kaleidoscope turning…

Juliette Binoche in 'Blue'  The 24 2x2 Cullinane Kaleidoscope animated images

Shifting pattern within   
unalterable structure…”
— Roger Zelazny, Eye of Cat  

“When life itself seems lunatic,
who knows where madness lies?”

— For the source, see 
Joyce’s Nightmare Continues.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday July 28, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 1:06 PM
Man and
His Symbols 101

Continued from July 21

A headline from yesterday:

US-China ties will shape
21st century: Obama

A headline from 2003,
with an epiphany from
twenty years ago:

The Tables of Time

JFK and chess at Chinatown picnic table

Peace Rune
Hexagram 11,
Jan. 6, 1989

Picnic Symbol 

Picnic site symbol,
British Sea Scouts

In related news:

Obama to hold picnic-table peace talk

Tuesday July 28, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:00 AM

Four hundredth anniversary of the Sea Venture's shipwreck at Bermuda

The Associated Press this morning —

“Today’s Highlight in History:

On July 28, 1609, the English ship Sea Venture, commanded by Admiral Sir George Somers, ran ashore on Bermuda after nearly foundering at sea during a storm.”

“… the Sea Venture story is two tales in one. There’s the hurricane at sea, and then there is the Bermuda wreck becoming an inspiration for ‘The Tempest.’ The first is one of the most dramatic adventures of the era, and the second is a fascinating detective story.”

Robert Sean Brazil, scholar

“It has been a commonplace in English literary criticism that Shakespeare’s play, ‘The Tempest,’ was modeled on these accounts…. However, this common wisdom is almost certainly a falsity. A monumental error.”
Related material:

Plot summary by “Anonymous” at imdb.com of a feminist film version of “The Tempest” (now in post-production):

“In Julie Taymor’s version of ‘The Tempest,’ the gender of Prospero has been switched to Prospera. Going back to the 16th or 17th century, women practicing the magical arts of alchemy were often convicted of witchcraft.”

Taymor’s “Tempest” stars, as Prospera, the famed portrayer of monarchs Helen Mirren. Another work dealing with alchemy suitable for Mirren (who is also known as Detective Inspector Jane Tennison):

The Eight, by Katherine Neville, is perhaps the greatest bad novel of the twentieth century. If it were made into a movie, who should be cast as the Black Queen? (“…the dignified silver-haired woman danced sinuously…” — p. 241)

'Prime Suspect'-- Helen Mirren as Inspector Tennison

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday July 27, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 2:29 PM
Field Dance

The New York Times
on June 17, 2007:

 Design Meets Dance,
and Rules Are Broken

Yesterday's evening entry was
on the fictional sins of a fictional
mathematician and also (via a link
to St. Augustine's Day, 2006), on
the geometry of the I Ching* —

The eternal
combined with
the temporal:

Circular arrangement of I Ching hexagrams based on Singer 63-cycle in the Galois field GF(64)

The fictional mathematician's
name, noted here (with the Augustine-
I Ching link as a gloss) in yesterday's
evening entry, was Summerfield.

From the above Times article–
"Summerspace," a work by
 choreographer Merce Cunningham
and artist Robert Rauschenberg
that offers a competing
 vision of summer:

Summerspace — Set by Rauschenberg, choreography by Cunningham

Cunningham died last night.

John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Robert Rauschenberg in the 1960's

From left, composer John Cage,
choreographer Merce Cunningham,
and artist Robert Rauschenberg
in the 1960's

"When shall we three meet again?"

* Update of ca. 5:30 PM 7/27– today's online New York Times (with added links)– "The I Ching is the 'Book of Changes,' and Mr. Cunningham's choreography became an expression of the nature of change itself. He presented successive images without narrative sequence or psychological causation, and the audience was allowed to watch dance as one might watch successive events in a landscape or on a street corner."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday July 26, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 8:28 PM

Happy Birthday,
Inspector Tennison

'Prime Suspect'-- Helen Mirren as Inspector Tennison
(See entries of
November 13, 2006)

Library Thing book list: 'An Awkward Lie' and 'A Piece of Justice'

Related material
for Prospera:

  1. Jung’s Collected Works
  2. St. Augustine’s Day, 2006
    (as a gloss on the name
    “Summerfield” in
    A Piece of Justice and on
    Inspector Tennison’s age today)
  3. Quilt Geometry

Sunday July 26, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:23 AM

"Much Bing,
  High Bing"

— Wallace Stevens,
quoted here on the
date of Dash Snow's death

Grace Kelly and Bing Crosby in 'The Country Girl' and 'High Society'

Above collage:
Awake and Shing

"What a swell party
this is.

— Cole Porter  

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saturday July 25, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:07 AM


Icon for the weblog 'Red Kite Prayer'-- Red triangular half-square in the upper left half of a white square

Unsheathe your dagger definitions.

— James Joyce, Ulysses

The entry of 12:06 PM Thursday, July 23, contained a link to the journal Red Kite Prayer. The “red kite” is the red flag posted near the end of the Tour de France.

Thanks for a definition are due to the journal Flahute. A quotation from that journal:

“There’s only one shot that’s in harmony with the field. The home of your authentic swing. That flag… and all that you are.”

The Legend of Bagger Vance

See also yesterday’s Log24 post.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday July 24, 2009

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:23 PM
Word Problem

“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

Quoted here Monday:
Tom Wolfe on the moon
 landing forty years ago:

What NASA needs now
  is the power of the Word.”

30 OCTOBER 2000- NY- Charlize Theron, Matt Damon and Will Smith at the Oct. 29, 2000, NY premiere of 'Legend Of Bagger Vance.' --Ezio Petersen UPI

“It don’t mean a thing
 if it ain’t got that….”


This week’s
earlier entries.

Happy birthday,
Gus Van Sant.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thursday July 23, 2009

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 12:06 PM
Blade Singer
Director’s Cut

Replication of 'The Immortal Game' of chess in 'Blade Runner'

“Bishop to King 7, check.” – Roy Batty

On Chris Hipp, who died of an apparent heart attack at 47 on July 14 (Bastille Day), 2009:

“‘He was the father of blade technology when he was with RLX,’ Jim Hall, president of the Blade System Alliance, said in an interview. ‘He invented the blade server.'”

“Hall said Hipp was a natural inventor who wanted to be on the cutting edge.”

— Jeffrey Burt at eWeek.com

Epitaph by a friend:

“He was known as a determined, fearsome and fair competitor.”

Red Kite Prayer

Hipp’s motto was “pounding idiots.”*

From a website celebrating the life and family (cf. previous two entries) of Leonard Shlain, author of Art & Physics and pioneering surgeon:

“Shlain n: unique last name of Russian origins. Possible meanings: 1: Sound sword makes as it’s pulled from sheath” —Shlain.com

A more authentic sound:

The blade actually does sing. When it is withdrawn from the sheath it makes a ‘Tshuiiing’ sound as one hears in the movies. It rings like a bell.”

Armageddon blade by Trace Rinaldi
Steel Addiction, Custom Knives

A less authentic sound:

Wizard of Id, July 23, 2009-- The Drawn Blade

* The residents of Id (as in the above cartoon) are known, affectionately, as Idiots.

Thursday July 23, 2009

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

A Tangled Tale

Proposed task for a quantum computer:

"Using Twistor Theory to determine the plotline of Bob Dylan's 'Tangled up in Blue'"

One approach to a solution:

"In this scheme the structure of spacetime is intrinsically quantum mechanical…. We shall demonstrate that the breaking of symmetry in a QST [quantum space-time] is intimately linked to the notion of quantum entanglement."

— "Theory of Quantum Space-Time," by Dorje C. Brody and Lane P. Hughston, Royal Society of London Proceedings Series A, Vol. 461, Issue 2061, August 2005, pp. 2679-2699

(See also The Klein Correspondence, Penrose Space-Time, and a Finite Model.)

For some less technical examples of broken symmetries, see yesterday's entry, "Alphabet vs. Goddess."

That entry displays a painting in 16 parts by Kimberly Brooks (daughter of Leonard Shlain– author of The Alphabet Versus the Goddess— and wife of comedian Albert Brooks (real name: Albert Einstein)). Kimberly Brooks is shown below with another of her paintings, titled "Blue."


Click image to enlarge.

"She was workin' in a topless place
 And I stopped in for a beer,
 I just kept lookin' at the side of her face
 In the spotlight so clear.
 And later on as the crowd thinned out
 I's just about to do the same,
 She was standing there in back of my chair
 Said to me, 'Don't I know your name?'
 I muttered somethin' underneath my breath,
 She studied the lines on my face.
 I must admit I felt a little uneasy
 When she bent down to tie the laces of my shoe,
 Tangled up in blue."

-- Bob Dylan

Further entanglement with blue:

The website of the Los Angeles Police Department, designed by Kimberly Brooks's firm, Lightray Productions.

Further entanglement with shoelaces:

"Entanglement can be transmitted through chains of cause and effect– and if you speak, and another hears, that too is cause and effect.  When you say 'My shoelaces are untied' over a cellphone, you're sharing your entanglement with your shoelaces with a friend."

— "What is Evidence?," by Eliezer Yudkowsky

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wednesday July 22, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 9:48 AM
Alphabet vs. Goddess


Roy Lichtenstein girl and Hand of God pointing to the letter B

… from June 11, 2008.

“Just as both tragedy and comedy can be written by using the same letters of the alphabet, the vast variety of events in this world can be realized by the same atoms through their different arrangements and movements. Geometry and kinematics, which were made possible by the void, proved to be still more important in some way than pure being.”

— Werner Heisenberg in
  Physics and Philosophy

Werner, Kimberly;
Kimberly, Werner.

Wechsler cubes, with 'Certainty,' by Kimberly Brooks

Happy Feast of
St. Mary Magdalene.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday July 21, 2009

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

Today's Readings:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday July 20, 2009

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 7:00 PM
The First Post
in this weblog:

The Diamond Theorem

Related material:

From Sunday’s New York Times, Tom Wolfe on the moon landing forty years ago:

What NASA needs now is the power of the Word. On Darwin’s tongue, the Word created a revolutionary and now well-nigh universal conception of the nature of human beings, or, rather, human beasts. On Freud’s tongue, the Word means that at this very moment there are probably several million orgasms occurring that would not have occurred had Freud never lived. Even the fact that he is proved to be a quack has not diminished the power of his Word.

July 20, 1969, was the moment NASA needed, more than anything else in this world, the Word. But that was something NASA’s engineers had no specifications for. At this moment, that remains the only solution to recovering NASA’s true destiny, which is, of course, to build that bridge to the stars.

Tom Wolfe is the author of “The Right Stuff,” an account of the Mercury Seven astronauts.


The Word according to St. John:

Jill St. John, star of 'Diamonds are Forever'

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday July 19, 2009

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 7:11 AM
Finite Jest
(continued from
 Monday, July 13)

Blaise Pascal:

"L’unité jointe à l’infini ne l’augmente de rien, non plus qu’un pied à une mesure infinie. Le fini s’anéantit en présence de l’infini, et devient un pur néant….

Nous connaissons qu’il y a un infini, et ignorons sa nature. Comme nous savons qu’il est faux que les nombres soient finis, donc il est vrai qu’il y a un infini en nombre. Mais nous ne savons ce qu’il est: il est faux qu’il soit pair, il est faux qu’il soit impair; car, en ajoutant 1 unité, il ne change point de nature; cependant c’est un nombre, et tout nombre est pair ou impair (il est vrai que cela s’entend de tout nombre fini). Ainsi…."

"Unity joined to infinity adds nothing to it, no more than one foot to an infinite measure. The finite is annihilated in the presence of the infinite, and becomes a pure nothing….

We know that there is an infinite, and are ignorant of its nature. As we know it to be false that numbers are finite, it is therefore true that there is an infinity in number. But we do not know what it is. It is false that it is even, it is false that it is odd; for the addition of a unit can make no change in its nature. Yet it is a number, and every number is odd or even (this is certainly true of every finite number). So…."

Pensées (trans. W. F. Trotter), Courier Dover Publications, 2003

"Le fini s’anéantit
 en présence de l’infini,
      et devient un pur néant

Un Pur Néant:

"So did God cause the big bang?
Overcome by metaphysical lassitude,
I finally reach over to my bookshelf
for The Devil's Bible.
Turning to Genesis I read:
'In the beginning
there was nothing.
And God said,
'Let there be light!'
And there was still nothing,
but now you could see it.'"

— Jim Holt, Big-Bang Theology,
   Slate's "High Concept" department


Fiat Lux, and After


"In the garden of Adding,
 Live Even and Odd"      
— E. L. Doctorow    


The Cross of Five Ninths

  4 + 5 = 9.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saturday July 18, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 AM
$1 Million Humanities Prize
Goes to a Polish Philosopher

NY Times, Nov. 5, 2003

(Cf. Log24 on that date. an
    entry titled “Legacy Codes.”)

“God Owes Us Nothing”

— Title of a 1995 book by  
the Polish philosopher,
who died yesterday.

The book’s title may or may not
  be true– or even meaningful–
but some may feel that
we owe the dead philosopher
a worthy opponent.

The dead philosopher
and his opponent:


The Dead Philosopher

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix09A/090718-Kolakowski.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

His Opponent:

Jonathan Bennett on aleph-null as 'highest number'

     And that’s the way it is.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thursday July 16, 2009

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 7:00 PM
Mother of Beauty
continued from
April 7, 2004
In memory of Julius Shulman,
architectural photographer,
who died last night:

“And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,
The surface glittered out of heart of light…”

Four Quartets, quoted here
November 22, 2004

Photo by Gerry Gantt, and the Jewel in Venn's Lotus

“… as in the hearth and heart of light.” Delmore Schwartz   

(See previous entry.)

Thursday July 16, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:00 PM

The White Itself

David Ellerman has written that

"The notion of a concrete universal occurred in Plato's Theory of Forms [Malcolm 1991]."

A check shows that Malcolm indeed discussed this notion ("the Form as an Ideal Individual"), but not under the name "concrete universal."

See Plato on the Self-Predication of Forms, by John Malcolm, Oxford U. Press, 1991.

From the publisher's summary:

"Malcolm…. shows that the middle dialogues do indeed take Forms to be both universals and paradigms…. He shows that Plato's concern to explain how the truths of mathematics can indeed be true played an important role in his postulation of the Form as an Ideal Individual."

Ellerman also cites another discussion of Plato published by Oxford:

Kneale and Kneale on Plato's theory of forms and 'the white itself'

For a literary context, see W. K. Wimsatt, Jr., "The Structure of the Concrete Universal," Ch. 6 in Literary Theory: An Anthology, edited by Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan, Wiley-Blackwell, 2004.

Other uses of the phrase "concrete universal"– Hegelian and/or theological– seem rather distant from the concerns of Plato and Wimsatt, and are best left to debates between Marxists and Catholics. (My own sympathies are with the Catholics.)

Two views of "the white itself" —

 "So did God cause the big bang?
 Overcome by metaphysical lassitude,
 I finally reach over to my bookshelf
 for The Devil's Bible.
 Turning to Genesis I read:
 'In the beginning
 there was nothing.
 And God said,
 'Let there be light!'
 And there was still nothing,
 but now you could see it.'"
 -- Jim Holt, Big-Bang Theology,
    Slate's "High Concept" department 
   Fiat Lux, and After

"The world was warm and white when I was born:
Beyond the windowpane the world was white,
A glaring whiteness in a leaded frame,
Yet warm as in the hearth and heart of light."

-- Delmore Schwartz

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday July 15, 2009

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 11:09 AM
The Plot Thickens

Thanks to David Lavery
see previous entry— the
word for today is…
Cover of 'Zaddik,' a novel by David Rosenbaum

"As the story develops, an
 element of magical realism
 enters the picture."
Amazon review   

Related material:

For background on magical
realism, see the update to
today's previous entry.

See also
A Year of Magical Thinking
(June 6, 2009) and
the entries of May 19-22,
featuring Judy Davis in…

Poster for 'Diamonds' miniseries on ABC starting May 24, 2009

(Cf. St. Bridget's Day, 2003)

Wednesday July 15, 2009

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:01 AM
of obituaries page,
New York Times,
Monday morning:

Detail, obits page, NY Times Monday morning, July 13, 2009

Detail of arts page,
New York Times, Wednesday morning:

(Click ad for more on the Monday night death of Dash Snow.)

Arts page detail, morning of Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Headlines collage by Dash Snow

Hurt yet?

Update of 5:01 AM:

Lavery Hits
Literary Jackpot

From the top right of
this morning's online
New York Times front page:

Christoph Niemann on witchcraft and snow

Click on voodoo doll
for further details.

See also…

1. Monday's link to a
Wallace Stevens poem,
"Snow and Stars"

2. The conclusion of this
morning's Times obituary
for artist Dash Snow, which
gives his daughter's name…

3. David Lavery's excellent
of the classic
 Conrad Aiken story
"Silent Snow, Secret Snow."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday July 14, 2009

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:29 PM
Herschel’s Onion

The Herschel Chronicle, by Constance A. Lubbock, Cambridge University Press, 1933, page 139:

“Sir John Herschel has recorded that his father [astronomer William Herschel, 1738-1822], when observing at Datchet, ‘when the waters were out round his garden, used to rub himself all over, face and hands &c., with a raw onion, to keep off the infection of the ague, which was then prevalent; however he caught it at last.'”

Herschel and his onion appear in a large illustration on the cover of next Sunday’s New York Times Book Review.  A review, titled “Science and the Sublime,” states that Herschel and his sister

“spent endless hours at the enormous telescopes that Herschel constructed, rubbing raw onions to warm their hands….'”

Clearly the anti-ague motive makes more sense.

A quotation from the book under review, The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science (published today, Bastille Day, 2009):

“The emphasis of on [sic] secular, humanist (even atheist) body of knowledge… was particularly strong in revolutionary France.”

This, apparently, is the terror part.

A related quotation from Publishers Weekly:

“It’s an engrossing portrait of scientists as passionate adventurers, boldly laying claim to the intellectual leadership of society. Illus. (July 14)”

On its front page next Sunday, The New York Times Book Review boldly lays claim to intellectual leadership with the following opening sentence:

“In this big two-hearted river of a book, the twin energies of scientific curiosity and poetic invention pulsate on every page.”

The sentence begins with an insult to Hemingway and ends with a cascade of vulgarized-science bullshit. Its author, Christopher Benfey, has done better, and should be ashamed.

Tuesday July 14, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 8:00 AM
For Galois on Bastille Day
of Finite Geometry

Some fans of the alchemy in
Katherine Neville’s novel
The Eight and in Dan Brown’s
   novel Angels & Demons may
  enjoy the following analogy–


Note that the alchemical structure
at left, suited more to narrative
than to mathematics, nevertheless
 is mirrored within the pure
mathematics at right.

Related material
on Galois and geometry:

Geometries of the group PSL(2, 11)

by Francis Buekenhout, Philippe Cara, and Koen Vanmeerbeek. Geom. Dedicata, 83 (1-3): 169–206, 2000–


Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday July 13, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 9:00 AM
“Much bing, high bing”
Wallace Stevens

Bing.com search for 'finite geometry and physical space'

The above was, like the
previous entry, suggested by
this morning’s monumentally
tasteless NY Times obit page

The author of the
“pleasantly discursive”
remark has been called both
King of Geometry” and
King of Infinite Space.”

He lived in Toronto.

Detail of this morning’s Times
   (click for larger version) —

Detail of NY Times obits online, Monday, July 13, 2009

(Corcoran.com is the website of
a New York City real estate firm.
Today’s Bing.com search image is
  a view of the city from Central Park.)

“We keep coming back
       and coming back/To the real….”
— Wallace Stevens 

Monday July 13, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 AM
Sade's Margquee: two album covers and a figure
For those who prefer
 the less tasteful:

Vega’s more recent album

Suzanne Vega, 'Beauty And Crime' album

and this morning’s
 New York Times:

(Click to enlarge.)

NY Times obituaries Monday, July 13, 2009

Note the story on the July 11 death of boxer Arturo Gatti in Brazil, apparently possibly not [updates of July 18 and 30] at the hands of his wife, a former exotic dancer.

Connoisseurs of tasteless prose will appreciate the following:

“Vega writes from a perspective of memory and maturity… applying a musical Brazilian wax to ‘Pornographer’s Dream‘….”

Review of Suzanne Vega’s album “Beauty & Crime” by Don McLeese

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday July 12, 2009

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 3:17 AM

In honor of
 William York Tindall
 (yesterday's entry):

A Literary Symbol

for Boyne Day

Mary Karr was "an unfashionably bookish kid whose brain wattage was sapped by a consuming inner life others didn't seem to bear the burden of. I just seemed to have more frames per second than other kids."

Geneva drive from Wikipedia

Click for animation.

Karr is Catholic.
Geneva is not.

Related material:
Calvinist Epiphany
for St. Peter's Day

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saturday July 11, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 7:28 AM
Mercilessly Tasteful

Diamond logo

Suzanne Vega, 'Songs in Red and Gray'

Related material:

The Literary Symbol
by William York Tindall

(Columbia University Press,
Epiphany 1955)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday July 10, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:15 AM
Happy birthday,
Maju Mantilla

Related material:

James Joyce on the
Ineluctable Modality
of the Visible

and Paul Mariani,
The Limits of
   the Ineluctable.”

Friday July 10, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:00 AM
Happy birthday,
John Calvin

Friday July 10, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:59 AM
Light History

Michael Caine and Scarlett Johansson in 'The Prestige'

Before the Screwing

Google logo for July 10, 2009-- Nikola Tesla's birthday
“Very impressive, Herr Tesla,
but let’s not forget the
little man in the boat.”

Courtesy of Wired.com:
Jan. 29, 1895: Electrifying!

Charles Proteus Steinmetz was a pioneer multitasker, never without a notebook handy. He's working here in a canoe on the Mohawk River, around 1920.

Charles Proteus Steinmetz

1895: Charles Proteus Steinmetz receives a patent for a “system of distribution by alternating currents.” His engineering work makes it practical to build a widespread power grid for use in lighting and machinery alike.

Friday July 10, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 AM
In Memory of
Leonard Shlain

From Shlain’s website,
some news I had not
heard before: Shlain
died on May 11, 2009.
Also from that site:

“A celebration of Leonard’s
 life will be held on Friday,
 May 15th, at 1:00 PM at
    Sherith Israel Synagogue…
     San Francisco….”

In his memory, here is
a link from this journal
on the date, May 15,
of his memorial:

Log24, Jan. 1-15, 2006

See also the tribute film
A Good Life,” by
Tiffany Shlain.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thursday July 9, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:00 AM
and Poetry

Click on the image for
some background related
to yesterday’s The Aleph
 and its  link  to  a 2003
 entry, At Mt. Sinai.

A related entry on Mt. Sinai
mentions the monumental
treatise by Leonard Shlain

The Alphabet Versus
the Goddess: The Conflict
Between Word and Image

Thursday July 9, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 AM

An Aleph for Pynchon

Part I:

A California Sixties version
of Heaven’s Gate:
Aleph Sanctuary, by Mati Klarwein

Part II:

Log24 entries of April 29, 2009
(esp. the link to Anastasia Ashley)

Part III:

Inherent Vice
a novel by Thomas Pynchon
to be published in August 2009

“The serpent’s eyes shine  
As he wraps around the vine…”
Don Henley   

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wednesday July 8, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 11:07 PM
The Aleph

From a link in
yesterday's entry:

Rabbi Ephraim Oshry

Abstract Aleph

Click on the aleph for details.

"The Aleph" by Borges.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tuesday July 7, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:10 PM

On June 25
  in this journal–

A Word for AntiChristmas:

“… T. S. Eliot tried to recompose,
   in Four Quartets, the fragments
   he had grieved over
    in The Waste Land.”

— “Beauty and Desecration,”
   Roger Scruton

Today’s word
(thanks to Michael Jackson)–


'Heal the World' at July 7, 2009, Michael Jackson Memorial Service in Los Angeles

From Log24 on Nov. 12, 2005:

“‘Tikkun Olam, the fixing of the world,’ she whispers. ‘I’ve been gathering up the broken vessels to make things whole again.'”

— Miriam in Bee Season

Tikkun Olam, the gathering of the divine fragments, is a religious activity…. How do we work for the repair of the world? If we live in a humpty dumpty world, how do we get it all put back together again?”

A Sunday Sermon
    for Yom Kippur
    by the Rev. Joshua Snyder
    on Oct. 5, 2003
    [See also Log24 on that date.]

“… the tikkun can’t start until everyone asks what happened– not just the Jews but everybody. The strange thing is that Christ evidently saw this.”

— Martha Cooley, The Archivist

Monday, July 6, 2009

Monday July 6, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:59 PM
A Soliloquy
for McNamara

I’ve… seen things
you people wouldn’t believe.


Monday July 6, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:09 AM
Art and Faith

Virginia Woolf, The Waves, Harvest Books paperback, 1950, pp. 248-249:

“On the outskirts of every agony sits some observant fellow who points; who whispers as he whispered to me that summer morning in the house where the corn comes up to the window, ‘The willow grows on the turf by the river. The gardeners sweep with great brooms and the lady sits writing.’ Thus he directed me to that which is beyond and outside our own predicament; to that which is symbolic, and thus perhaps permanent, if there is any permanence in our sleeping, eating, breathing, so animal, so spiritual and tumultuous lives.”

Up to the first semicolon, this is the Associated Press thought for today.

Related aesthetic philosophy from The Washington Post:

“Varnedoe’s lectures were ultimately about faith, about his faith in the power of abstraction, and abstraction as a kind of anti-religious faith in itself, a church of American pragmatism that deals with the material stuff of experience in the history of art. To understand these lectures, which began promising an argument about how abstraction works and ended with an almost medieval allegory of how man confronts the void, one has to understand that Varnedoe views the history of abstraction as a pastor surveys the flock.”

Some Observant Fellow:

“He pointed at the football
 on his desk. ‘There it is.'”
 — The Eater of Souls 

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sunday July 5, 2009

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


Football-mandorla with link to 'Heaven Can Wait'


“He pointed at the football
on his desk. ‘There it is.'”
Glory Road   

See also
Hieron Grammaton
Epiphany 2007.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Saturday July 4, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:00 AM

     Helen Lane, translator

     Helen Lane

Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday July 3, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:00 AM
Damnation Morning

“The tigers of wrath are wiser
    than the horses of instruction.”


“… the moment is not
properly an atom of time
 but an atom of eternity.
 It is the first reflection
 of eternity in time, its first
attempt, as it were, at
       stopping time….”

Symmetry Axes
of the Square:

Symmetry axes of the square

(Damnation Morning)

From the cover of the
 Martin Cruz Smith novel
Stallion Gate:

Image of an atom from the cover of the novel 'Stallion Gate'

A Monolith
for Kierkegaard:

Images of time and eternity in memory of Michelangelo

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

Rubén Darío

Related material:

The deaths of
 Ernest Hemingway
on the morning of
Sunday, July 2, 1961,
and of Alexis Arguello
on the morning of
Wednesday, July 1, 2009.
See also philosophy professor
Clancy Martin in the
London Review of Books
(issue dated July 9, 2009)
 on AA members as losers
“the ‘last men,’ the nihilists,
 the hopeless ones.”

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thursday July 2, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:29 PM

on a joke by George Carlin,
a passage by Kierkegaard,
and the death on this date
12 years ago
of actor James Stewart

The Catholic Carlin:

“Thank you, Mr. Twain. Have your people call my people.” –George Carlin on learning he had won the Mark Twain award. Twain’s people were Protestant, Carlin’s Catholic.

The Protestant Kierkegaard:

“… the moment is not properly an atom of time but an atom of eternity. It is the first reflection of eternity in time, its first attempt, as it were, at stopping time….

Once here in Copenhagen there were two actors who probably never thought that their performance could have a deeper significance. They stepped forth onto the stage, placed themselves opposite each other, and then began the mimical representation of one or another passionate conflict. When the mimical act was in full swing and the spectators’ eyes followed the story with expectation of what was to follow, they suddenly stopped and remained motionless as though petrified in the mimical expression of the moment. The effect of this can he exceedingly comical, for the moment in an accidental way becomes commensurable with the eternal.”

Catholic tableau
(with Vivien Leigh
   representing the Church)
    of Salvation by Works

The cast of  'Streetcar Named Desire' in the radio scene

Protestant tableau
(with James Stewart
 as Protestant Pilgrim)
    of Salvation by Grace

Grace Kelly and James Stewart in 'Rear Window'

Click on either tableau
for a (much) larger image.

* Thanks to University Diaries for an entry on Clancy Martin, a philosophy professor in the “show me” state, and his experiences with AA. For a sample of Martin’s style, see a piece he wrote on Fabergé Easter eggs. For other Easter egg material, see this journal and (via a link) The Harvard Crimson, Easter 2008.  A valuable philosophical remark by Martin in a recent interview:

“An unscrupulous jeweler will swap diamonds for cheaper ones when jewelry is dropped off to be sized or repaired, he said.

‘It happens all the time,’ Martin said. ‘Nobody’s watching.'”

Thursday July 2, 2009

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

Hieron Grammaton, Part III*

The Old Man and the Light

In memory of
Ernest Hemingway,
who died on this date
in 1961, a story
in three parts:


I — Eye of Raven

The musical notation 'fermata,' or 'birdseye'



II — Psyche and Symbol

Leonard Baskin, detail of cover of Jung's 'Psyche and Symbol'

Leonard Baskin, detail of
cover for Jung’s
Psyche and Symbol


III — Raven Steals the Light

The box of light from animated video of 'Raven Steals the Light'

Detail from the story
Raven Steals the Light


“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….” —Kierkegaard

* For Hieron Grammaton, Parts I and II, see the five Log24 entries from 6:29 PM Tuesday, June 23, to 1:00 AM Sunday, June 28.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wednesday July 1, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:07 PM
Diamond Life

“Diamond life, lover boy.
We move in space
      with minimum waste
      and maximum joy.
City lights and business nights
When you require streetcar desire
      for higher heights.

No place for beginners
      or sensitive hearts
When sentiment is left to chance.
No place to be ending
     but somewhere to start.”

Karl Malden in 'Streetcar Named Desire'

For another perspective
on the Sade lyrics, see
  St. Peter’s Day.

Wednesday July 1, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 PM
Solving for X

Related material:

A note on Karl Malden
 from Feb. 23, 2004
 and Xmas in July.

Wednesday July 1, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM
Let Noon Be Fair

The New York Times
this noon:

(Click for some context.)

New York Times Death Notices box: 'Moral of the Story'

Doctorow’s Epiphany

Happy birthday,
Leslie Caron.

Powered by WordPress