Saturday, May 31, 2014

For the Black Widow Club*

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:19 AM

… and for Anthony Hopkins and a Black Widow,
as well as for a filmmaker who reportedly died on May 19.

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

Update of 4:48 PM ET:  See also Philip Roth on an ambiguity.

* The title was suggested in part by a series of Isaac Asimov mysteries.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Duende for St. Wallace

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:01 AM

IMAGE- Google search on 'Wallace Stevens died'

(The final quote above is bogus. Stevens did write "Death is the mother 
of beauty," but the "perishable" part is from a lesser poet, Billy Collins.)

For the duende  of this post's title, see a dance.

The dance suggests a 1956 passage by Robert Silverberg—

"There was something in the heart of the diamond—
not the familiar brown flaw of the others, but something
of a different color, something moving and flickering.
Before my eyes, it changed and grew.

And I saw what it was. It was the form of a girl—
a woman, rather, a voluptuous, writhing nude form
in the center of the gem. Her hair was a lustrous blue-black,
her eyes a piercing ebony. She was gesturing to me,
holding out her hands, incredibly beckoning from within
the heart of the diamond.

I felt my legs go limp. She was growing larger, coming closer,
holding out her arms, beckoning, calling—

She seemed to fill the room. The diamond grew to gigantic size,
and my brain whirled and bobbed in dizzy circles.
I sensed the overpowering, wordless call."

— "Guardian of the Crystal Gate," August 1956

For similar gestures, see Nicole Kidman's dance in "The Human Stain."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Gameplayers of the Academy

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

New Game

In memory of a Jesuit who died on February 22 (see yesterday's "For the Ides of March")–

“The Game in the Ship cannot be approached as a job, a vocation, a career, or a recreation. To the contrary, it is Life and Death itself at work there. In the Inner Game, we call the Game Dhum Welur, the Mind of God."

— M. A. Foster, The Gameplayers of Zan

"… for Othello, no less than his creator Shakespeare, death without speechmaking is almost unthinkable."

"Walter Ong," by Jeet Heer (Book & Culture, July/August 2004)

"This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, patch, matchwood…."

— Jesuit quote at David Lavery's weblog today

See also this journal on February 22, the date of the Jesuit death. A post on that date mentions Ong and his teacher McLuhan, and displays a McLuhan figure related to the "joke" quote above–

McLuhan 'tetrad' figure with four diamonds surrounding a fifth, the medium

Click figure for background.

Ong discussed "agonistic" culture.
See "Sunday's Theater" and a film
based on the novel discussed there–

Menin... First line, in Greek, of the Iliad

Classics 101

IMAGE- Anthony Hopkins in 'The Human Stain'

Prof. Coleman Silk introduces
freshmen to academic values

For academic gameplayers who prefer
less emotionally challenging subjects,
there is Othello Online —


"New Game. You May Pass for White to Start."

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tuesday July 29, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:31 AM
To Die For: 

Scenes from 
The Human Stain

Menin, the word
in Greek on the
   means “wrath“…

Menin... First line, in Greek, of the Iliad

Scenes from the film 'The Human Stain'

Objects in rear view mirror
may be older than they appear.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sunday February 17, 2008

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

Log24 on Feb. 13:

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

"We've lost the plot!"

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

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

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

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

Fritz Leiber's 'Spider' symbol

Bordered version
of the sigil

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

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

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

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

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

"Which is?" I asked.

"The Spiders," she said.

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

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

Related material:
the previous entry.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thursday September 27, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:29 AM
The Holy Spook

Classics 101 —
The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07A/070915-HumanStain.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Prof. Coleman Silk introducing
 freshmen to academic values

(See September 15. )

"The communication
of the dead is tongued with fire
   beyond the language of the living."

— T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets

The Boston Globe,
Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2007-

Psychiatrist treated veterans
using Homer

Work made him

Dr. Jonathan Shay
(Harvard Class of 1963)


"When Boston psychiatrist Jonathan Shay wanted to understand the psychological toll of the Vietnam War on the veterans he treated, he turned to the 'Iliad' and the 'Odyssey.'

The classical Greek epics perfectly encapsulate the mental damage of combat, said Shay, who works for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Boston….

Today, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation will announce that Shay, 65, has been selected as a 2007 MacArthur fellow 'for his work in using literary parallels from Homer's "Iliad" and "Odyssey" to treat combat trauma suffered by Vietnam veterans.'….

'I was hearing elements of the story of Achilles over and over again,' Shay said.

Achilles, the hero of the 'Iliad,' is mistreated by his commander, who takes a girl, a prize of war, from him. Achilles is also tormented by the loss of his best friend in the Trojan War. With his ethical universe upended, he goes berserk.

Soon, Shay began to work on his first book, 'Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character.'

In the book, he interspersed the story of Achilles with examples of his patients' losses and contentious relationships with their commanders in Vietnam to illustrate some of the causes of the troops' psychological wounds."

The first word of the 'Iliad,'
Menin, is written in Greek
on Professor Silk's blackboard
in the photo at top.
It means "wrath."

Related material:

The wrath of a Vietnam
veteran, portrayed by
Ed Harris, in the film
"The Human Stain,"
and a calmer Harris in
the illustration below,
from Log24, Oct. 8, 2005:

A History of Death

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/051008-HistHarris3.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Adapted from
the film
"A History of Violence"

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.

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