Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The Crimson Passion* Continues

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 12:13 AM

Related material — Earlier posts now also tagged Uncanny Valley,
esp. Xmas Colors: Green to Red.

* See a  search for Crimson Passion in this  journal.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Crimson Passion

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 AM


Amy Adams as…

The $146 Million Domestic

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Easter at Harvard

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:04 PM

See also The Crimson Passion.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Techno-Shamanistic Keys

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:01 PM

From a review of the film "Wild Palms" in The New Yorker  by James Wolcott
(issue dated May 17, 1993, pages 104-106)—

"The MacGuffin that will determine the outcome is a piece of
software [sic ] called the Go chip, its name taken from the
strategy board game. (There's a nod in the script to the Japanese
novelist Yasunari Kawabata, author of 'The Master of Go.')
Whoever possesses the Go chip possesses the
'techno-shamanistic key to eternity'…."

"In tomorrow's techno-pop tyranny, reruns are the basis of order."

"As Kreutzer's mistress, Kim Cattrall has excellent posture."

From Saturday Night Live on December 10, 2011, a portrayal of Kim Cattrall—

IMAGE- Kristen Wiig as Kim Cattrall

See also "Sex and the City" fans in The Crimson Passion.

For other keys (perhaps related to the Wild Palms "image sickness"),
see "Claves Regni Caelorum (Escher)" — Images, 1.9 MB.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Afternoon Delight

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:26 PM


The Crimson Passion…  Continues!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Polish Logic–

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 11:23 AM

The Big Lukasiewicz

“Lord Arglay had a suspicion that the Stone
would be purely logical.  Yes, he thought,
but what, in that sense, were the rules of its pure logic?”

Many Dimensions  (1931), by Charles Williams

See also Łukasiewicz in Wikipedia and Lukasiewicz in this journal.

The latter's Christian references seem preferable to yesterday's
link to a scene from the Coen brothers' film "The Big Lebowski."

For those who prefer  a Christ-for-Jews there is
also Harvard's version. See The Crimson Passion.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Google’s Apple Tree

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:30 AM


Google has illuminated its search page today with a falling apple in honor of what it is pleased to call the birthday of Newton. (When Newton was born, the calendar showed it was Christmas Day, 1642; Google prefers to associate Sir Isaac with a later version of the calendar.)

Some related observations–

Adapted from a Log24 entry
of Monday, March 24, 2008–


"Hanging from the highest limb
of the apple tree are
     the three God's Eyes…"

    — Ken Kesey

"But what's beautiful can't be bad. You're not bad, North Wind?"

"No; I'm not bad. But sometimes beautiful things grow bad by doing bad, and it takes some time for their badness to spoil their beauty. So little boys may be mistaken if they go after things because they are beautiful."

"Well, I will go with you because you are beautiful and good, too."

"Ah, but there's another thing, Diamond:– What if I should look ugly without being bad– look ugly myself because I am making ugly things beautiful?– What then?"

"I don't quite understand you, North Wind. You tell me what then."

"Well, I will tell you. If you see me with my face all black, don't be frightened. If you see me flapping wings like a bat's, as big as the whole sky, don't be frightened. If you hear me raging ten times worse than Mrs. Bill, the blacksmith's wife– even if you see me looking in at people's windows like Mrs. Eve Dropper, the gardener's wife– you must believe that I am doing my work. Nay, Diamond, if I change into a serpent or a tiger, you must not let go your hold of me, for my hand will never change in yours if you keep a good hold. If you keep a hold, you will know who I am all the time, even when you look at me and can't see me the least like the North Wind. I may look something very awful. Do you understand?"

"Quite well," said little Diamond.

"Come along, then," said North Wind, and disappeared behind the mountain of hay.

Diamond crept out of bed and followed her.

    — George MacDonald,
      At the Back of the North Wind


From Log24 on Sunday, March 23, 2008–

A sequel to
The Crimson Passion

Easter Egg

Jill St. John with diamond

Click on image
 for further details.


A pair of book covers in honor
  of the dies natalis of T. S. Eliot–


From Virginia Woolf,  "Modern Fiction" (Ch. 13 in The Common Reader, First Series)

Woolf on what she calls "materialist" fiction–

Life escapes; and perhaps without life nothing else is worth while. It is a confession of vagueness to have to make use of such a figure as this, but we scarcely better the matter by speaking, as critics are prone to do, of reality. Admitting the vagueness which afflicts all criticism of novels, let us hazard the opinion that for us at this moment the form of fiction most in vogue more often misses than secures the thing we seek. Whether we call it life or spirit, truth or reality, this, the essential thing, has moved off, or on, and refuses to be contained any longer in such ill-fitting vestments as we provide. Nevertheless, we go on perseveringly, conscientiously, constructing our two and thirty chapters after a design which more and more ceases to resemble the vision in our minds. So much of the enormous labour of proving the solidity, the likeness to life, of the story is not merely labour thrown away but labour misplaced to the extent of obscuring and blotting out the light of the conception. The writer seems constrained, not by his own free will but by some powerful and unscrupulous tyrant who has him in thrall, to provide a plot, to provide comedy, tragedy, love interest, and an air of probability embalming the whole so impeccable that if all his figures were to come to life they would find themselves dressed down to the last button of their coats in the fashion of the hour. The tyrant is obeyed; the novel is done to a turn. But sometimes, more and more often as time goes by, we suspect a momentary doubt, a spasm of rebellion, as the pages fill themselves in the customary way. Is life like this? Must novels be like this?

Look within and life, it seems, is very far from being “like this”. Examine for a moment an ordinary mind on an ordinary day. The mind receives a myriad impressions—trivial, fantastic, evanescent, or engraved with the sharpness of steel. From all sides they come, an incessant shower of innumerable atoms; and as they fall, as they shape themselves into the life of Monday or Tuesday, the accent falls differently from of old; the moment of importance came not here but there; so that, if a writer were a free man and not a slave, if he could write what he chose, not what he must, if he could base his work upon his own feeling and not upon convention, there would be no plot, no comedy, no tragedy, no love interest or catastrophe in the accepted style, and perhaps not a single button sewn on as the Bond Street tailors would have it. Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end. Is it not the task of the novelist to convey this varying, this unknown and uncircumscribed spirit, whatever aberration or complexity it may display, with as little mixture of the alien and external as possible? We are not pleading merely for courage and sincerity; we are suggesting that the proper stuff of fiction is a little other than custom would have us believe it.

It is, at any rate, in some such fashion as this that we seek to define the quality which distinguishes the work of several young writers, among whom Mr. James Joyce is the most notable….

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday April 19, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 AM
The Crimson Passion

 Truth and Style)

“We are here in the
Church of St. Frank,
where moral judgments
permit the true believer
to avoid any semblance
of thought.”
Marjorie Garber on  
Frank Kermode

Today’s sermon is a
link to a London publication
where one can purchase
 Kermode’s excellent review
of the following:

Cover of Vermes's 'The Resurrection' - Picture of the Resurrection by Piero della Francesca

Those who prefer
Garber’s Harvard sneer
may consult
The Crimson Passion
and the following
 resurrection figure:

The Harvard Jesus, by Nancy K. Dutton in the Harvard Crimson

The Harvard Jesus     
Crimson/Nancy K. Dutton    

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thursday November 6, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:07 AM

Death of a Classmate

Michael Crichton,
Harvard College, 1964

Authors Michael Crichton and David Foster Wallace in NY Times obituaries, Thursday, Nov.  6, 2008

Authors Michael Crichton and
David Foster Wallace in today’s
New York Times obituaries

The Times’s remarks above
on the prose styles of
Crichton and Wallace–
“compelling formula” vs.
“intricate complexity”–
suggest the following works
of visual art in memory
of Crichton.


Crystal from 'Diamond Theory'


(from Crichton’s
Jurassic Park)–

Dragon Curve from 'Jurassic Park'

For the mathematics
(dyadic harmonic analysis)
relating these two figures,
see Crystal and Dragon.

Some philosophical
remarks related to
the Harvard background
that Crichton and I share–

Hitler’s Still Point

The Crimson Passion.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday August 22, 2008

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

Tentative movie title:

Kohs Block Design Test

The Kohs Block Design
Intelligence Test

Samuel Calmin Kohs, the designer (but not the originator) of the above intelligence test, would likely disapprove of the "Aryan Youth types" mentioned in passing by a film reviewer in today's New York Times. (See below.) The Aryan Youth would also likely disapprove of Dr. Kohs.

Related material from
Notes on Finite Geometry:

Kohs Block Design figure illustrating the four-color decomposition theorem

Other related material:

1.  Wechsler Cubes (intelligence testing cubes derived from the Kohs cubes shown above). See…

Harvard psychiatry and…
The Montessori Method;
The Crimson Passion;
The Lottery Covenant.

2.  Wechsler Cubes of a different sort (Log24, May 25, 2008)

3.  Manohla Dargis in today's New York Times:

"… 'Momma’s Man' is a touchingly true film, part weepie, part comedy, about the agonies of navigating that slippery slope called adulthood. It was written and directed by Azazel Jacobs, a native New Yorker who has set his modestly scaled movie with a heart the size of the Ritz in the same downtown warren where he was raised. Being a child of the avant-garde as well as an A student, he cast his parents, the filmmaker Ken Jacobs and the artist Flo Jacobs, as the puzzled progenitors of his centerpiece, a wayward son of bohemia….

In American movies, growing up tends to be a job for either Aryan Youth types or the oddballs and outsiders…."

4.  The bohemian who named his son Azazel:

"… I think that the deeper opportunity, the greater opportunity film can offer us is as an exercise of the mind. But an exercise, I hate to use the word, I won't say 'soul,' I won't say 'soul' and I won't say 'spirit,' but that it can really put our deepest psychological existence through stuff. It can be a powerful exercise. It can make us think, but I don't mean think about this and think about that. The very, very process of powerful thinking, in a way that it can afford, is I think very, very valuable. I basically think that the mind is not complete yet, that we are working on creating the mind. Okay. And that the higher function of art for me is its contribution to the making of mind."

Interview with Ken Jacobs, UC Berkeley, October 1999

5.  For Dargis's "Aryan Youth types"–

From a Manohla Dargis
New York Times film review
of April 4, 2007
   (Spy Wednesday) —

Scene from Paul Verhoeven's film 'Black Book'

See also, from August 1, 2008
(anniversary of Hitler's
opening the 1936 Olympics) —

For Sarah Silverman

and the 9/9/03 entry 

Olympic Style.

August 21-22, 2008:


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sunday March 23, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:00 AM
A sequel to
The Crimson Passion

Easter Egg

Jill St. John with diamond

Click on image
for further details.

Monday, February 25, 2008

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).

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

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.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday January 20, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 AM
Oh, What Can It Mean?

From the last entry in my
Harvard weblog– May 21, 2005:

//www.log24.com/log/pix05/050521-Zeitung.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Franken is best known as
the author of

Lies and the Lying Liars
Who Tell Them.

Today, more from the same newspaper:


AP Top Entertainment News
At 6:09 a.m. EST

‘Newhart’ Actress Suzanne Pleshette Dies
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Suzanne Pleshette, the husky-voiced star best known for her role as Bob Newhart’s sardonic wife on television’s long-running “The Bob Newhart Show,” has died at age 70….

‘Daydream Believer’ Songwriter Dies

SAN DIEGO (AP) — John Stewart, who wrote the Monkees’ hit “Daydream Believer” and became a well-known figure in the 1960s folk music revival as a member of The Kingston Trio, has died, according to the band’s Web site. He was 68….

“Oh, what can it mean
to a daydream believer
and a homecoming queen?”

Related material:
Buck Mulligan’s Introibo
and The Crimson Passion

“Thanks, old chap, he cried briskly.
That will do nicely. Switch off
the current, will you?”
Buck Mulligan

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Sunday December 2, 2007

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

Part I: Matisse

The Wisdom of the Ego, by George E. Vaillant

The Wisdom of the Ego
by George E. Vaillant,
Harvard University Press (1993)

Cover illustration:
“Icarus,” from Jazz, by Henri Matisse

Publisher’s description of author:

George E. Vaillant is Professor of Psychiatry;
Director of the Study of Adult Development,
Harvard University Health Services;
and Director of Research in
the Division of Psychiatry,
Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

A review:

“This is a remarkable synthesis of the best current thinking on ego psychology as well as a many-faceted picture of what Robert White would call ‘lives in progress.’ It makes on its own not only a highly innovative contribution to ego psychology but an equally original and impressive contribution to longitudinal research. A remarkable and many-faceted work.”

— The late George W. Goethals    
of Harvard University

Part II:
The Hospital

Cached from http://bostonist.com/2007/12/01/boston_blotter_164.php

December 1, 2007

Boston Blotter: More on Harvard Student Found Dead

'Boston Blotter body outline–John Edwards, the Harvard sophomore whose body was found yesterday at Harvard Medical School,* committed suicide. People who knew him, such as a professor and his roommate are mystified. Eva Wolchover lists Edwards’ many accomplishments. He was a top science student (and that’s saying something around here), a stem cell researcher, and a guitar player.

A Facebook group named “In Memory of John Edwards” has already been established.

* Other reports say the body was found at about 11 PM on Thursday, Nov. 29– the presumed date of Edwards’s death.  Edwards was said to have conducted stem cell research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School.

Part III:
Down to Earth

The reviewer in Icarus, Part I, above,
Dr. Goethals, was my teacher in a
1960-61 freshman seminar at Harvard.
He admired the work of
Harry Stack Sullivan.

The cover of the Sullivan book below
may serve to illustrate yesterday’s
“Plato’s Horses” remarks.


The ego defenses of today’s
Harvard students seem to need some
  strengthening. Perhaps Vaillant, Sullivan,
and the philosophies of Pirsig and of Plato
discussed in yesterday’s entry
may be of use in this regard.

Related material:

In the Details and
The Crimson Passion.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tuesday November 20, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:44 AM
Death on a Friday

and the
Magic of Numbers

PA Lottery Friday, Nov. 16, 2007: Midday 717, Evening 419

Above: PA Lottery on
Friday, November 16th,
the date of death
for noted leftist attorney
Victor Rabinowitz

“Mr. Rabinowitz was a member
of the Communist Party
from 1942 until the early 1960s,
he wrote in his memoir,
Unrepentant Leftist (1996).
He said the party
seemed the best vehicle
to fight for social justice.”

The New York Times,
 Nov. 20, 2007

Related material:


From the Harvard Crimson on Friday:

“Robert Scanlan, a professor of theater
who knew Beckett personally,
directed the plays….
He said that performing Beckett as part of
the New College Theatre’s inaugural series
represents an auspicious beginning.”

From Log24 on 4/19–
Drama Workshop“–
a note of gratitude
from the Virginia Tech killer:

“Thanks to you, I die like Jesus Christ,
to inspire generations of the weak
and the defenseless people.”

“It’s not for me. For my children,
for my brothers and sisters…
I did it for them.”

Manifesto of Cho  

Party on, Victor.

For further drama, see

The Crimson Passion.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Friday October 12, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 AM
H is for Hogwarts

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07A/071012-Coop.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Shop thecoop.com for your
favorite Hogwarts merchandise.

Ceremonies marking the installation of Drew Gilpin Faust as the President of Hogwarts will begin in Hogwarts Yard at 2 PM ET today.

Faust has actually been Hogwarts’s president since July 1. Last month she welcomed the Class of 2011:

Faust “encouraged the incoming class to explore [the school’s] many opportunities. ‘Think of it as a treasure room of hidden objects Harry discovers at Hogwarts,’ Faust said.”

The Hogwarts Crimson, Sept. 10, 2007 

From Faust’s website today:

“As a historian, I am proud to lead an institution with such a rich and storied past. Hogwarts began in colonial days with a handful of students, little property and limited power and prestige, but a determined mission: ‘To advance Learning and perpetuate it to Posterity,’ as a 1643 brochure put it.  That bold vision has guided Hogwarts for the past four centuries….”

The rest of the story —

From The Hogwarts Guide:

“An early brochure, published in 1643, justified the College’s existence: ‘To advance Learning and perpetuate it to Posterity; dreading to leave an illiterate Ministry to the Churches.'”

Related material:

The Crimson Passion,
Midnight Drums for Larry,
and Primitive Roots.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tuesday September 25, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:00 AM
A Song is a
Terrible Thing
to Waste

“Teach us to
number our days.”
The New Yorker,
Oct. 1, 2007

Link from previous entry:
on a day numbered


Come, Mister Tally Man…

Catherine O'Hara in Beetlejuice

Related material:
The Crimson Passion
and this morning’s
Harvard Crimson:

Faust’s Kickoff

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07A/070925-Faust.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
See also the home page
of today’s online New Yorker

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07A/070925-NYer.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

— as well as
Harvard at the Grammys (2/12/07),
The Fullness of Time (7/29/04),
and Soul at Harvard (9/18/04).

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Saturday September 22, 2007

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:22 AM
The Magic of Numbers

"Emphasis will be placed on discovery through conjecture and experimentation."

Elena Mantovan, pre-2007 undated Harvard syllabus for Quantitative Reasoning 28, "The Magic of Numbers"

"The lunatic, the lover, and the poet, said Shakespeare, are of imagination all compact. He forgot the mathematician…. Those who win through to the end of The Magic of Numbers will be for the rest of their lives in touch with the accessible mystery of things."

Review, Harvard Magazine, Jan/Feb 2004

"Lear becomes almost lyrical. 'When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down/ And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh/ At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues/ Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too/ Who loses and who wins; who's in, who's out– And take upon's the mystery of things/ As if we were God's spies.' That is a remarkable, haunting passage."

— Father James V. Schall, Society of Jesus, Georgetown Hoya, undated column (perhaps, the URL indicates, from All Hallows' Eve, 2006)

Related material:
The Crimson Passion,
Beauty Bare,
Gross To Step Down.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Saturday September 15, 2007

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 8:00 PM
The Crimson Passion
Professors: Post Your Syllabi
Professors should post their
course syllabi before move-in,
not after class has started

The Harvard Crimson

Published On Friday, September 14, 2007  12:54 AM

"Classes start in three days, and that means it’s time to… examine course syllabi– that is if you can find them…." More >>

Classics 101:
The Holy Spook

IMAGE- Anthony Hopkins in 'The Human Stain'

Prof. Coleman Silk introducing
 freshmen to academic values

The Course Begins:

Larry Summers, former president
of Harvard, was recently invited,
then disinvited, to speak at a
politically correct UC campus.

A Guest Lecturer Speaks:

"This is so pathetic. I used to write long disquisitions on the ethical dimensions of behavior like this, but years of it can make a girl get very tired. And that's because this stuff is tiresome, and boring, and wrong, and pathetic, and so very indicative of the derailed character of academic life. It's more important to keep punishing Summers for a comment he made years ago– and apologized for many times over, and essentially lost the presidency of Harvard over– than it is just to move on and let free exchange happen on campuses. I doubt Summers would have devoted his time before the Regents to theorizing gender (not that I would personally care much if he did– I was not so mortally wounded by his observations as others were), and he is a brilliant man with much of value to bring to a visit with the Regents. But what does that matter when the opportunity to mob a politically incorrect academic presents itself?" —Erin O'Connor on Sept. 15, 2007

Illustration of the Theme:

Clarinetist Ken Peplowski
plays "Cry Me a River"
as Nicole Kidman focuses
the students' attention.

A sample Holy Spook,
Kurt Vonnegut, was introduced
by Peplowski on the birthday
this year of Pope Benedict XVI.

"Deeply vulgar"
Academic characterization
of Harvard president Summers

"Do they still call it
 the licorice stick?"
Kurt Vonnegut

Related Material:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07A/070915-Summers.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Midnight Drums for Larry

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday June 22, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:22 PM
Encounter at Harvard–   

Logos: Tree of Knowledge and Burning Bush

Related material:

(Click to enlarge)

Harvard Crimson: Dean Gross resigns

Dean Gross also appears in

The Crimson Passion:
A Drama at Mardi Gras

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Wednesday April 25, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:30 PM
Religion at Harvard
continued from
Devil’s Night, 2006

Harvard Crimson, April 24-25, 2007

Click image to enlarge.

Related material:

Yesterday morning’s entry
(on David Halberstam)
with its link to Log24
entries of 2005 on

The Way of the Pilgrim
(Nov. 28-29, 2005),

Orville Schell, dean of Berkeley’s
Graduate School of Journalism,
on a dinner following a lecture
by Halberstam at Berkeley
on Saturday night, April 21:

“No one wanted to leave.
It was kind of like
the Last Supper.”

See also
The Crimson Passion.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tuesday February 20, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:15 AM

On this, the second anniversary of Hunter Thompson’s death, two Xanga footprints from Texas furnish appropriate links:

Texas /514659186/item.html 2/20/2007 7:47 AM

Texas /534740724/item.html 2/20/2007 9:39 AM.

The first link is to Highway 1 Revisited (8/1/06).

The second link is to Serious (10/3/06).
(See also today’s previous entry.)

Related material:

The Crimson Passion: A Drama at Mardi Gras.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday October 27, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:31 PM

Shem the Penman

Excerpt from Harvard Magazine:

“The people who intermediate between lunatics and the world used to be called alienists; the go-betweens for mathematicians are called teachers. Many a student may rightly have wondered if the terms shouldn’t be reversed.”

— Review of The Magic of Numbers, a book by Benedict H. Gross, Leverett Professor of Mathematics and Dean of Harvard College

For the full review, see

On Mathematical Imagination–
Harvard Magazine
(January-February 2004):

… part of a New Instauration
that will bring mathematics, at last, …
Wednesday, December 31, 2003,
7:00pm EST •  26.1k •

From today’s Harvard Crimson:

Leverett resident in
critical condition, ‘improving’

Published On Friday,
October 27, 2006  4:35 AM

An undergraduate fell from a ninth-floor window in Leverett House Tower F yesterday morning, suffering serious injuries, according to University officials.

The 25-year-old student, Steven R. Snyder ’04-’08, was in critical condition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center as of yesterday….

Rooms in the Leverett Towers typically have one large window that doesn’t open and at least one smaller window that can be cranked open. The smaller windows are each about two feet wide and four feet high….

Snyder– who is from Avon Lake, Ohio– is a mathematics concentrator….

Dean of the College Benedict H. Gross ’71, in an e-mail sent to undergraduates at about 12:30 p.m. yesterday, said a student “apparently fell from a window,” and an “investigation is underway.”

“A time like this can be very difficult for everyone, especially those who live in Leverett. I would like to remind all students and staff that there are many people on campus who can help you through this difficult time,” Gross added. He directed students to the University’s Mental Health Services and the Bureau of Study Counsel.

Related material:

The Crimson Passion,

the previous entry,
Hall of Shem,

and the link, in the
Ash Wednesday, 2006,
entry, Deaconess,

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to The House of God,
a novel by
Samuel Shem.

Shem is the pen-name
of Stephen J. Bergman,
Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry
at Harvard Medical School.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Thursday October 26, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM
Hardy & Wright 
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“When he was taken to church
he amused himself by factorizing
the numbers of the hymns.”

— C. P. Snow, foreword to
A Mathematician’s Apology,
by G. H. Hardy

An application of
lottery hermeneutics:

420 –> 4/20 –>

Hall of Shame,
Easter Sunday,
April 20, 2003;

145 –> 5*29 –> 5/29 –>

The Shining of May 29.

The Rev. Wright may also
be interested in the following

Related material:

“Shem was a sham….”
(FW I.7, 170 and Log24 Oct. 13),
and The Hebrew Word Shem:

“When I teach introductory Hebrew, the first word I typically teach is the common noun SHEM. It’s pronounced exactly like our English word ‘shame,’ means almost exactly the opposite, and seems to me to be a key….” — Glen Penton

This word occurs, notably, in Psalm (or “hymn”) 145.

See http://scripturetext.com/psalms/145-1.htm:

thy name
shem  (shame)
an appellation, as a mark or memorial of individuality; by implication honor, authority, character — + base, (in-)fame(-ous), named(-d), renown, report.

Update of 12:25 PM 10/26
from the online Crimson:

Related material:
The Crimson Passion

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Tuesday August 8, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:00 PM

The Crimson Passion

From The Harvard Crimson today:

Ned Lamont ’76 faces voters
today in Connecticut’s primary

“Lamont was a fourth generation legacy student whose great-grandfather– Thomas W. Lamont, class of 1892– was a partner at J.P. Morgan and the donor who gave Lamont Library its name.”

There was an article on
that center of learning
in The Harvard Crimson
on May 18, 2006:

Lamont Pick-up Lines

That article suggests a caption
for this excerpt from
The Crimson Passion,
Mardi Gras, 2004:

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“What are you looking at, sugar tits?”

(Courtesy of Mel Gibson,
Malibu bon-vivant)

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Wednesday August 2, 2006

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 1:06 PM

The Crimson Passion

The Harvard Jesus:

Crimson/Nancy K. Dutton
Monday, Feb. 23, 2004

"If Jesus does come back, he will likely be wearing a tie-dyed shirt, smoking a joint, flashing the peace sign and rocking rose-tinted glasses….

Gibson never wants people to forget that we are ultimately responsible for his Lord's crucifixion.  And by 'people' I mean 'the Jews.'"

Harvard Crimson,
Monday, Feb. 23, 2004,
opinion column
by Erol N. Gulay

And now…

From the Harvard Crimson
on the 2006 feast of
St. Ignatius Loyola:


Billionaire Harvard Donor
Arrested For Soliciting Prostitutes

Epstein donated $30 million to Harvard in 2003; Law professor Alan Dershowitz has been hired to defend Epstein.

Monday, July 31, 2006 7:46 PM
Billionaire money manager Jeffrey Epstein, who donated $30 million to Harvard in 2003, has been charged with soliciting sex from prostitutes in his Palm Beach, Florida mansion– and has hired Frankfurter Professor of Law Alan M. Dershowitz to serve in his defense.

Related illustrations
from Dec. 15, 2004:

Judeo-Christian Heritage:
The Wiener Kreis

The meditation below was suggested by this passage:

"… the belief that any sensible discourse had to be formulated within the rules of the scientific language, avoiding the non sense of the ordinary language. This belief, initially expressed by Wittgenstein as aphorisms, was later formalized by the Wiener Kreis [Vienna Circle] as a 'logical construction of the world'…."

"Deeply Vulgar"

— Epithet applied in 2003 to
Harvard President Lawrence Summers.

"Examples are the stained-glass
windows of knowledge."
— Vladimir Nabokov


In today's Crimson:
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Only moderately vulgar, with its sniggering pop-culture reference. But it  should be
Professor of Law.

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Today's birthday:
Peter O'Toole.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Sunday May 28, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:29 PM


From today’s
London Daily Mail:

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6.54  My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.)

He must surmount these propositions; then he sees the world rightly.

7  Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.

— Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1922

Art in Our Schools:

  Former President
of Dartmouth Dies

From today’s New York Times:

“In one widely publicized episode, in 1988, he condemned The Dartmouth Review, a conservative student newspaper, for ridiculing blacks, gay men and lesbians, women and Jews.”

Related material:

The Harvard Jesus


The Crimson Passion

Monday, April 24, 2006

Monday April 24, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:00 PM

continued from
Saturday, April 22


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Sweet Little Sixteen
She's just got to have
About half a million
Famed autographs…

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Her wallet's filled with pictures
She gets 'em one by one

— After Chuck Berry, 1958

"We are all Paris Hilton now."
— Ana Marie Cox,
Sweet 16 and Spoiled Rotten,
in TIME Magazine,
the April 24 Opus Dei issue

Related material
in the Harvard Crimson:

The $500,000 sophomore’s
debut novel is on the shelf…
But is it a gift or a curse?

Publisher 'Certain' of
'Literal Copying' in
Sophomore's Novel

The Crimson Passion

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Wednesday March 22, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:30 AM

Former President
of Dartmouth Dies

From today’s New York Times:

“In one widely publicized episode, in 1988, he condemned The Dartmouth Review, a conservative student newspaper, for ridiculing blacks, gay men and lesbians, women and Jews.”

Related material:

The Harvard Jesus


The Crimson Passion

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Saturday March 18, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:07 PM

The Crimson Passion continues…

How to Grow
a Crimson Clover

Published in the Harvard Crimson
on Thursday, March 16, 2006, 6:24 PM
by Patrick R. Chesnut,
Crimson staff writer

Stephen Dedalus, James Joyce’s literary alter ego, once described the trappings of Irish culture as nets that hold a soul back from flight. By his standards, Harvard has soared.

Irish culture has been an indelible part of Boston, but the names on our red-brick buildings tell a different story: Adams, Lowell, Winthrop. It would be easy to assume that for Harvard students, Irish culture consists of little more than guzzling alcohol in Tommy Doyle’s Irish Pub or at St. Patrick’s Day Stein Club.

Recently, however, a small but lively Irish subculture, centered on Celtic music and language, has been developing at Harvard. But despite its vivacity, it remains largely unnoticed by the broader student body.

Efforts by groups like the Harvard College Celtic Club and by the producers of the upcoming Loeb mainstage of J.M. Synge’s “The Playboy of the Western World” may be just the sort of first step needed to finally make Harvard a place where Irish artistic culture lives….


“The Playboy”– which will run from April 28 through May 6– revolves around the disruption of life in a provincial Irish village when an outsider arrives with an extravagant story. All points converge at this play’s production: members of the Celtic Club coordinated and will perform the play’s music, the producers hope to draw Boston’s Irish community, and the production will present Harvard’s students with a script deeply entrenched in Irish history, but that boasts a universal appeal.

As Kelly points out, the Irish roots of “The Playboy” are clearer than in the plays of the nominally Irish, but Francophone, absurdist writer Samuel Beckett. And unlike the plays of Sean O’Casey, which are extremely rooted in Irish culture, “The Playboy” boasts a visceral appeal that will be accessible to Harvard students.

From a site linked to in yesterday’s St. Patrick’s Day sermon as the keys to the kingdom:

“In the western world, we tend to take for granted our musical scale, formed of whole tone and half tone steps. These steps are arranged in two ways: the major scale and the minor.”

From the obituary in today’s online New York Times of fashion designer Oleg Cassini, who died at 92 on St. Patrick’s Day, Friday, March 17, 2006:

“… he was always seen in the company of heiresses, debutantes, showgirls, ingenues. Between, before or after [his first] two marriages, he dated young starlets like Betty Grable and Lana Turner and actresses like Ursula Andress and Grace Kelly, to whom he was briefly engaged.

‘He was a true playboy, in the Hollywood sense,’ said Diane von Furstenberg, the fashion designer and a friend of Mr. Cassini’s. ‘Well into his 90’s, he was a flirt.'”

“How strange the change from major to minor…
      Ev’ry time we say goodbye.”
   — Cole Porter

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Tuesday February 28, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:23 PM
The Crimson Passion:
A Drama at Mardi Gras

See Feb. 21 and 22 and
the previous entry.

In related news:

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Thursday February 23, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:09 PM

Headline in today’s Harvard Crimson:

University at a

Related material:

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Instantia Crucis,
The Crucifixion
of John O’Hara

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Book cover, 1938

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Tuesday February 21, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:00 PM
Conceptual Lens

“Contemporary literary theory did not emerge in an intellectual and cultural vacuum. The subordination of art to argument and ideas has been a long time in the works. In The Painted Word, a rumination on the state of American painting in the 1970s, Tom Wolfe described an epiphany he had one Sunday morning while reading an article in the New York Times on an exhibit at Yale University. To appreciate contemporary art– the paintings of Jackson Pollock and still more so his followers– which to the naked eye appeared indistinguishable from kindergarten splatterings and which provided little immediate pleasure or illumination, it was ‘crucial,’ Wolfe realized, to have a ‘persuasive theory,’ a prefabricated conceptual lens to make sense of the work and bring into focus the artist’s point. From there it was just a short step to the belief that the critic who supplies the theories is the equal, if not the superior, of the artist who creates the painting.”

Peter Berkowitz, “Literature in Theory”

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Cover art by Rea Irvin

On this date in 1925,
The New Yorker
first appeared.

Related material:

Aldous Huxley on
The Perennial Philosophy
(ART WARS, March 13, 2003)
and William James on religion:

“James points out that… a mystical experience displays the world through a different lens than is present in ordinary experience. The experience, in his words, is ‘ineffable’….”

For an experience that is
perhaps more effable,
see the oeuvre of
 Jill St. John.

Related material:

A drama for Mardi Gras,
The Crimson Passion,
and (postscript of 2:56 PM)
today’s Harvard Crimson
(pdf, 843k)

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Thursday February 9, 2006

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:00 PM
The Vanishing (?) President
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Karen E. Fields, translator’s introduction to Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, by Emile Durkheim:

“Durkheim breathed the air of turn-of-the-century Paris, a place that fizzed with experiments in artistic representation, and a time when philosophy, science, and art existed in nothing like today’s isolation from one another.24


24  Judith Ryan provides an illuminating account of the links joining physics, psychology, philosophy, painting, and literature in The Vanishing Subject: Early Psychology and Literary Modernism, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1991.”

And today’s Crimson provides an illuminating account of Judith Ryan and (implicitly) forms of the religious life at Harvard.

Related material:
The Crucifixion of John O’Hara,
The Crimson Passion,
Supper at Eight,

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Tuesday December 6, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:33 AM
  In memory of…

– Spanish singer Gloria Lasso, who made her name recording romantic ballads in Latin America and Paris, died in her sleep on Sunday at her home in Cuernavaca. She was 83.

Today’s Harvard Crimson–

Pudding Show Features
Wild West Theme

From yesterday’s entry,
a tribute to Olivia Newton-John:

“At the still point,
there the dance is.”
— T. S. Eliot

Xanadu (1980)

For related material, see

Balanchine’s Birthday (1/9/03)
and Deep Game (6/26/04).

 For more on Balanchine,
Olivia Newton-John, Sunday,
 and Eliot’s “still point,”
see the previous entry.

For more Harvard humor,
see The Crimson Passion.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Monday November 28, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:00 PM
The Way of the Pilgrim,
Part II:
Einstein’s Orgy

In a recent Edge article, “The Vagaries of Religious Experience,” a Harvard psychologist, Daniel Gilbert,  quotes Einstein on his own religious vagaries:

“(I had) a deep religiosity, which, however, found an abrupt ending at the age of 12. Through the reading of popular scientific books I soon reached the conviction that much in the stories of the Bible could not be true. The consequence was a positively fanatic orgy* of freethinking coupled with the impression that youth is intentionally being deceived by the state through lies. It was a crushing impression. Suspicion against every kind of authority grew out of this experience, a skeptical attitude towards the convictions which were alive in any specific social environment– an attitude which has never again left me.” (Autobiographical Notes, 1949)

Gilbert adds,

“Einstein’s orgy* of freethinking forever changed our understanding of space and time, and the phrase ‘Religion for Dummies’ became, in the view of many scientists, a redundancy.”

Here is another Einstein quotation, from the paragraph in Autobiographical Notes following the paragraph quoted by Gilbert:

“It is quite clear to me that the religious paradise of youth, which was thus lost, was a first attempt to free myself from the chains of the ‘merely-personal,’ from an existence which is dominated by wishes, hopes and primitive feelings.  Out yonder there was this huge world, which exists independently of us human beings and which stands before us like a great, eternal riddle, at least partially accessible to our inspection and thinking.  The contemplation of this world beckoned like a liberation…. The road to this paradise was not as comfortable and alluring as the road to the religious paradise; but it has proved itself as trustworthy, and I have never regretted having chosen it.”

Einstein describes “the road to the religious paradise” as “comfortable and alluring.”  He might therefore have profited by the book saluted in the previous entry… a book that might be described, to adapt Gilbert’s charming phrase, as “Religion for Dummies like Einstein.”

For an approach to the contemptible religion of Scientism that is more subtle than Gilbert’s, see “Einstein’s Third Paradise,” by Gerald Holton, another Harvard savant.

* In the original, the words “orgy of” appear in square brackets to indicate an interpolation by the editor, Paul A. Schilpp, a Methodist minister (pdf).  Einstein’s own words were “eine geradezu fanatische Freigeisterei.”  Gilbert’s omission of the brackets indicates both the moral slovenliness typical of those embracing Scientism and the current low standards of scholarship at Harvard.  (Related material: The Crimson Passion.)

Friday, November 25, 2005

Friday November 25, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:48 PM

Rehearsing Hell

Art critic Michael Kimmelman
in today’s New York Times:

The Los Angeles veteran Mike Kelley’s latest show is a sprawling, scabrous spectacle of noisome installations and hilarious videos, occupying the whole of the cavernous Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea. Ingratiating Mr. Kelley’s work never has been, nor is it now. But serious it is, in its brainy, abrasive, black-humored way, and this is by far his most ambitious and perversely entertaining effort, an attempted Gesamtkunst-werk of satanic rituals and advertising jingles mingled with allusions to Godard, German Expressionist cinema and Stockhausen….
    A teenage girl dressed like a hillbilly recounts a nonsense parable in the manner of H. P. Lovecraft crossed with William Faulkner as part of a faux-reality show….
    Did I mention the church confirmation in which a plump female communicant morphs into a devil worshiper, and teenage boys dressed in Nazi outfits suddenly rap about sex with fat women?….
     … Mr. Kelley’s deep roots are in the performance tradition going back to the Vienna Actionists.

For descriptions of the Vienna Actionists, do a Google search.

From yesterday:

  Even devils too
  Wait to show
How far we come
To joy
— Chris Whitley, “To Joy    
(Revolution of the Innocents)” —
mp3 and lyrics.

It seems that Mike Kelley and Michael Kimmelman are among Chris Whitley’s “devils.”  Let us hope that they enjoy the company of General Augusto Pinochet (see previous entry) in the afterlife.

Related material: Art Wars and The Crimson Passion.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Sunday September 25, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:15 AM

Yesterday was
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s birthday.
(See previous entry.)

“There is a place for a hint
somewhere of a big agent
to complete the picture.”

Notes for an unfinished novel,
The Last Tycoon

Doonesbury today:

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Related material:

The Crimson Passion

Monday, April 25, 2005

Monday April 25, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:31 AM

Mathematical Style:
Mac Lane Memorial, Part Trois

(See also Part I and Part II.)

“We have seen that there are many diverse styles that lead to success in mathematics. Choose one mathematician… from the ones we studied whose ‘mathematical style’ you find most rewarding for you…. Identify the mathematician and describe his or her mathematical style.”


— Sarah J. Greenwald,
take-home exam from
Introduction to Mathematics
at Appalachian State U.,
Boone, North Carolina

From today’s Harvard Crimson:

Ex-Math Prof Mac Lane, 95, Dies

[Saunders] Mac Lane was most famous for the ground-breaking paper he co-wrote with Samuel Eilenberg of Columbia in 1945 which introduced category theory, a framework to show how mathematical structures relate to each other. This branch of algebra has since influenced most mathematical fields and also has functions in philosophy and linguistics, but was first dismissed by many practical mathematicians as too abstract to be useful.

Gade University Professor of Mathematics Barry Mazur, a friend of the late Mac Lane, recalled that the paper had at first been rejected from a lower-caliber mathematical journal because the editor thought that it was “more devoid of content” than any other he had read.

“Saunders wrote back and said, ‘That’s the point,'” Mazur said. “And in some ways that’s the genius of it. It’s the barest, most Beckett-like vocabulary that incorporates the theory and nothing else.”

He likened it to a sparse grammar of nouns and verbs and a limited vocabulary that is presented “in such a deft way that it will help you understand any language you wish to understand and any language will fit into it.”

Beckett-like vocabulary
from April 24:


Also from Appalachian State University

(with illustration by Ingmar Bergman):

“In my hour of weakness,
that old enemy
tries to steal my soul.
But when he comes
like a flood to surround me
My God will step in
and a standard he’ll raise.”

Jesus Be a Fence

Related material:
The Crimson Passion

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Thursday March 24, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:00 PM
The Crimson Passion, continued:

Supper at Eight

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Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Tuesday February 8, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:32 PM
The Crimson Passion

(last year’s Mardi Gras drama)
continues with…

The Usual Suspects

(See previous entry.)

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The theme of last year’s drama
is still valid:

“The teenagers aren’t all bad.
I love ’em if nobody else does.
There ain’t nothing wrong
with young people.
Jus’ quit lyin’ to ’em.”

Jackie “Moms” Mabley   

Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Tuesday January 4, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 AM
The Romantic School

Today’s New York Times:

“Mr. Denker was of the romantic school
of chess – always looking to attack.”

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Related material:

From Endgame:

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Black the knight upon that ocean,
Bright the sun upon the king.
Dark the queen that stands beside him,
White his castle, threatening.

In the shadows’ see a bishop
Guards his queen of love and hate.
Another move, the game will be up;
Take the queen, her knight will mate.

The knight said “Move, be done.  It’s over.”
“Love and resign,” the bishop cried.
“When it’s done you’ll stand forever
By the darkest beauty’s side.”

From Log24.net, Feb. 18, 2003:

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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.

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From an entry of Sunday, Jan. 2,
the day Denker died:

“Time had been canceled.”    
— Stephen King, The Shining

From Truth and Style, a tribute
to the late Amy Spindler, style editor
of the New York Times Magazine:

“I don’t believe in truth. I believe in style.”
— Hugh Grant in Vogue magazine, July 1995

From a related page,
The Crimson Passion:

“He takes us to the central activity
of mathematics—which is imagining….”

Harvard Magazine on
Harvard mathematician
and author Barry Mazur.

For related material on Mazur, see

A Mathematical Lie.

“The teenagers aren’t all bad.
I love ’em if nobody else does.
There ain’t nothing wrong
with young people.
Jus’ quit lyin’ to ’em.”

Jackie “Moms” Mabley

Friday, November 5, 2004

Friday November 5, 2004

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

A Harvard Education
in a Sentence

Harvard alumnus Norman Mailer:

At times, bullshit can only be countered with superior bullshit.

For Harvard bullshit, see
The Crimson Passion.

For superior bullshit, see
Shrine of the Holy Whapping.

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Wednesday October 6, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:17 PM

3:17:20 PM

Spin the Numbers


Today’s midday
Ohio lottery number:


2/24 Log24.net entry:

The Crimson Passion


“Heraclitus…. says:
‘The ruler whose prophecy
occurs at Delphi
oute legei oute kryptei,
neither gathers nor hides,
alla semainei, but gives hints.'”
An Introduction to Metaphysics,
by Martin Heidegger,
Yale University Press paperback,
1959, p. 170

“The lord whose oracle is in Delphi
neither indicates clearly nor conceals,
but gives a sign.”
Adolf Holl, The Left Hand of God,
Doubleday, 1998, p. 50


Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Wednesday September 22, 2004

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:38 PM


In memory of Russ Meyer, who "made industrial films for Standard Oil and lumber companies before making his own films," a picture that might aptly (see Pi continued) be titled

The Magic Schmuck:

Aluminum puzzle by Niek Neuwahl.

By the same designer:

Game: Auf Teufel komm raus

Click on picture for details.

Object of game:
Connect the devils
with their tail ends


Click on logo for details.

Related material:
The Crimson Passion

Friday, September 17, 2004

Friday September 17, 2004

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

God is in…
The Details

From an entry for Aug. 19, 2003 on
conciseness, simplicity, and objectivity:

Above: Dr. Harrison Pope, Harvard professor of psychiatry, demonstrates the use of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale "block design" subtest.

Another Harvard psychiatrist, Armand Nicholi, is in the news lately with his book The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life.





For the meaning of the Old-Testament logos above, see the remarks of Plato on the immortality of the soul at


For the meaning of the New-Testament logos above, see the remarks of R. P. Langlands at

The Institute for Advanced Study.

On Harvard and psychiatry: see

The Crimson Passion:
A Drama at Mardi Gras

(February 24, 2004)

This is a reductio ad absurdum of the Harvard philosophy so eloquently described by Alston Chase in his study of Harvard and the making of the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski.  Kaczynski's time at Harvard overlapped slightly with mine, so I may have seen him in Cambridge at some point.  Chase writes that at Harvard, the Unabomber "absorbed the message of positivism, which demanded value-neutral reasoning and preached that (as Kaczynski would later express it in his journal) 'there is no logical justification for morality.'" I was less impressed by Harvard positivism, although I did benefit from a course in symbolic logic from Quine.  At that time– the early 60's– little remained at Harvard of what Robert Stone has called "our secret culture," that of the founding Puritans– exemplified by Cotton and Increase Mather.

From Robert Stone, A Flag for Sunrise:

"Our secret culture is as frivolous as a willow on a tombstone.  It's a wonderful thing– or it was.  It was strong and dreadful, it was majestic and ruthless.  It was a stranger to pity.  And it's not for sale, ladies and gentlemen."

Some traces of that culture:

A web page
in Australia:

A contemporary
Boston author:

Click on pictures for details.

A more appealing view of faith was offered by PBS on Wednesday night, the beginning of this year's High Holy Days:

Armand Nicholi: But how can you believe something that you don't think is true, I mean, certainly, an intelligent person can't embrace something that they don't think is true — that there's something about us that would object to that.

Jeremy Fraiberg: Well, the answer is, they probably do believe it's true.

Armand Nicholi: But how do they get there? See, that's why both Freud and Lewis was very interested in that one basic question. Is there an intelligence beyond the universe? And how do we answer that question? And how do we arrive at the answer of that question?

Michael Shermer: Well, in a way this is an empirical question, right? Either there is or there isn't.

Armand Nicholi: Exactly.

Michael Shermer: And either we can figure it out or we can't, and therefore, you just take the leap of faith or you don't.

Armand Nicholi: Yeah, now how can we figure it out?

Winifred Gallagher: I think something that was perhaps not as common in their day as is common now — this idea that we're acting as if belief and unbelief were two really radically black and white different things, and I think for most people, there's a very — it's a very fuzzy line, so that —

Margaret Klenck: It's always a struggle.

Winifred Gallagher: Rather than — I think there's some days I believe, and some days I don't believe so much, or maybe some days I don't believe at all.

Doug Holladay: Some hours.

Winifred Gallagher: It's a, it's a process. And I think for me the big developmental step in my spiritual life was that — in some way that I can't understand or explain that God is right here right now all the time, everywhere.

Armand Nicholi: How do you experience that?

Winifred Gallagher: I experience it through a glass darkly, I experience it in little bursts. I think my understanding of it is that it's, it's always true, and sometimes I can see it and sometimes I can't. Or sometimes I remember that it's true, and then everything is in Technicolor. And then most of the time it's not, and I have to go on faith until the next time I can perhaps see it again. I think of a divine reality, an ultimate reality, uh, would be my definition of God.



Gallagher seemed to be the only participant in the PBS discussion that came close to the Montessori ideals of conciseness, simplicity, and objectivity.  Dr. Montessori intended these as ideals for teachers, but they seem also to be excellent religious values.  Just as the willow-tombstone seems suited to Geoffrey Hill's style, the Pythagorean sangaku pictured above seems appropriate to the admirable Gallagher.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Thursday February 26, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:01 PM

The Oscar for best picture goes to…

The Best Picture

Aldous Huxley, 1925

“… And when at last one has arrived at San Sepolcro, what is there to be seen? A little town surrounded by walls, set in a broad flat valley between hills; some fine Renaissance palaces with pretty balconies of wrought iron; a not very interesting church, and finally, the best picture in the world.

The best picture in the world is painted in fresco on the wall of a room in the town hall….  Its clear, yet subtly sober colours shine out from the wall with scarcely impaired freshness….  We need no imagination to help us figure forth its beauty; it stands there before us in entire and actual splendour, the greatest picture in the world.

The greatest picture in the world…. You smile. The expression is ludicrous, of course.”

Yet not as ludicrous as the following

Cheesy Consolation

Doonesbury 2/26/04:

  The Harvard Jesus:  

Nancy K. Dutton
in the Harvard Crimson
Monday, Feb. 23, 2004


Maureen Dowd on
The Passion of the Christ:

“I went with a Jewish pal, who tried to stay sanguine. ‘The Jews may have killed Jesus,’ he said.  ‘But they also gave us ‘Easter Parade.’ “

New York Times, Feb. 26, 2004

For a truly cheesy Easter parade at Harvard University, see

The Crimson Passion.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Wednesday February 25, 2004

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

Modernism as a Religion

In light of the controversy over Mel Gibson's bloody passion play that opens today, some more restrained theological remarks seem in order.  Fortunately, Yale University Press has provided a framework — uniting physics, art, and literature in what amounts to a new religion — for making such remarks.  Here is some background.

From a review by Adam White Scoville of Iain Pears's novel titled An Instance of the Fingerpost:

"Perhaps we are meant to see the story as a cubist retelling of the crucifixion, as Pilate, Barabbas, Caiaphas, and Mary Magdalene might have told it. If so, it is sublimely done so that the realization gradually and unexpectedly dawns upon the reader. The title, taken from Sir Francis Bacon, suggests that at certain times, 'understanding stands suspended' and in that moment of clarity (somewhat like Wordsworth's 'spots of time,' I think), the answer will become apparent as if a fingerpost were pointing at the way."

Recommended related material —

By others:

Inside Modernism:  Relativity Theory, Cubism, Narrative, Thomas Vargish and Delo E. Mook, Yale University Press, 1999

Signifying Nothing: The Fourth Dimension in Modernist Art and Literature

Corpus Hypercubus,
by Dali.  Not cubist,
perhaps "hypercubist."

By myself: 

Finite Relativity

The Crucifixion of John O'Hara

Block Designs

The Da Vinci Code and Symbology at Harvard

The Crimson Passion

Material that is related, though not recommended —

The Aesthetics of the Machine

Connecting Physics and the Arts

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Tuesday February 24, 2004

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:30 PM

The Crimson Passion

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