Thursday, September 5, 2019

Desert Economics

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:23 PM

See as well

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Desert Notes*

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 3:13 AM

A November 1 LA Times  article about a book to be published today —

Why did Jonathan Lethem
turn toward the desert
in 'The Feral Detective'?

See also searches in this  journal for Desert and, more particularly,
Point Omega and Mojave.

* The title of a book by Barry Holstun Lopez.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Palm Desert’s Got Talent

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:59 PM

The film captures the offbeat time warp of the present-day
desert cities around Palm Springs, with the movie being
partly filmed in Palm Desert.”

See also posts on College of the Desert.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Desert Cross

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:45 PM

Two news stories for Armistice Day:

Nov. 11, 2012—

Veterans to resurrect war memorial cross
in Mojave desert in Calif., capping long legal dispute

Nov. 6, 2012—

Mojave Cross, stolen two years ago,
discovered in Bay Area

See also this journal on the reported date of the cross theft.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Word in the Desert

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


For Trotsky's Birthday (Old Style), 2009—

IMAGE- Two Log24 posts, on Rosalind Krauss and on the occult, from Oct. 25, 2009

Related material:

IMAGE- Video- On the road to the U2 Rose Bowl concert of Oct. 25, 2009- 'Quest for the U2 Joshua Tree + Zabriskie'

IMAGE- NY Times Sept. 1, 2012, online obituary for Alexander Saxton, who died by his own hand on Aug. 20, 2012

(Click for further details.)

See also St. Stephen's Day, 2011.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

College of the Desert

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:08 AM

(Continued from 6:08 AM EDT yesterday and the day before)

"Richard Elster was seventy-three, I was less than half his age. He’d invited me to join him here, old house, under-furnished, somewhere south of nowhere in the Sonoran Desert or maybe it was the Mojave Desert or another desert altogether.* Not a long visit, he’d said."

— Don DeLillo, Point Omega

IMAGE- Detail of John Ritter's NY Times illustration for Geoff Dyer's review of 'Point Omega,' plus link to Twitter beneath illustration

Maybe it was the desert near Twentynine Palms.

IMAGE- Twentynine Palms in Geoff Dyer's review of 'Point Omega'

"Sometimes a wind comes before the rain
and sends birds sailing past the window,
spirit birds that ride the night,
stranger than dreams."

— Ending of Point Omega

* Update of Sept. 2, 2012— A different passage yields a more precise location.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Desert of the Real Numbers

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:30 PM

New York Lottery today—

Without imagination, these digits are a meaningless jumble.

With  imagination…

608 might refer to June 8, the Saint's Day  of Gerard Manley Hopkins.
        (See the date July 29, 2002, that appeared in an earlier post today
         as the publication date of Geometrical Landscapes . In this
         journal, a post on that date, "At Random," referred to Hopkins.)

8516 might refer to 8/5/1916. A check of a hometown newspaper
         on that date yields…
         "St. Joseph's Garden Party and Bazaar 22, 23, 24.
          Pictures. Everybody Welcome. Admission to Garden Ten Cents"

And in the evening…

937 might refer to a post on the nihilistic philosophy of Joan Didion, and

7609 might refer to an occurrence of these digits in a link 
          to "7/11" in a post from the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola last year.

For a more cynical view of lottery hermeneutics, see
"High on RAM (overload)," by Jo Lyxe.

Happy birthday to Stevie Nicks.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Desert of the Real

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:00 PM


See "How Deep the Darkness" + Koestler.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Unity Game

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 11:59 PM

“Old men ought to be explorers.” — T. S. Eliot

“Everybody’s lost but me!” — Young Indiana Jones, quoted
in a book review (“Knox Peden on Martin Hägglund”) in
Sydney Review of Books  on May 26 . . .

” Here I am reminded of the words of
the young Indiana Jones alone in the desert,
decades before the Last Crusade:
‘Everybody’s lost but me.’ “

 Related remarks — Now You See It, Now You Don’t.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The Oberwolfach Zoom

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:44 PM

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Panhandle Project

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 AM

"When they all finally reach their destination —
a deserted field in the Florida Panhandle…." 

" When asked about the film's similarities to the 2015 Disney movie 
Tomorrowland , which also posits a futuristic world that exists in an
alternative dimension
, Nichols sighed. 'I was a little bummed, I guess,'
he said of when he first learned about the project. . . . 'Our die was cast.
Sometimes this kind of collective unconscious that we're all dabbling in,
sometimes you're not the first one out of the gate.' "

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Bustin’ Out All Over

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:30 AM

In memory of June Havoc . . .

"In 1960, Havoc was honored with two stars
on the Hollywood Walk of Fame—one at
6618 Hollywood Boulevard for her contributions
to the motion picture industry, and the other at
6413 Hollywood Boulevard for television."

"Bustin' Out All Over"

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Burning Bright

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

Gell-Mann's 'eightfold way' as 'a mosaic of simple triangular building blocks' — George Johnson, 1999

Compare and contrast with . . .

The Brightburn Logo:

Related material from the May 12 post

"The Collective Unconscious
in a Cartoon Graveyard
" —

"When they all finally reach their destination —
a deserted field in the Florida Panhandle…." 

" When asked about the film's similarities to the 2015 Disney movie Tomorrowland , which also posits a futuristic world that exists in an alternative dimension, Nichols sighed. 'I was a little bummed, I guess,' he said of when he first learned about the project. . . . 'Our die was cast. Sometimes this kind of collective unconscious that we're all dabbling in, sometimes you're not the first one out of the gate.' "

Sunday, May 12, 2019

The Collective Unconscious in a Cartoon Graveyard

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:00 PM

Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst
in "Spider-Man 2" (2004) —

Spoilers for another Kirsten Dunst film,
"Midnight Special" (2016) —

"When they all finally reach their destination —
a deserted field in the Florida Panhandle…." 

" When asked about the film's similarities to the 2015 Disney movie 
Tomorrowland , which also posits a futuristic world that exists in an
alternative dimension
, Nichols sighed. 'I was a little bummed, I guess,'
he said of when he first learned about the project. . . . 'Our die was cast.
Sometimes this kind of collective unconscious that we're all dabbling in,
sometimes you're not the first one out of the gate.' "

From another obituary for
the "Spider-Man" screenwriter —

“When I die,” he liked to say, “I’m going to have written
on my tombstone, ‘Finally, a plot!’”

— Robert D. McFadden in The New York Times

Sunday, February 17, 2019

See Also …

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 12:31 PM

"And the Führer digs for trinkets in the desert."

"See also Acht "
— Cambridge German-English Dictionary, article on "Elf "

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Claremont Noir

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:00 AM

From the Claremont Review of Books

From elsewhere —

See as well posts from Log24 related to
the McClay date above — June 8, 2007.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Raum und Zwischenraum*

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 8:42 AM

An Internet search for "Raum und Zwischenraum " this morning
led to a Munich artist who reportedly died on Nov. 11, 2012.

Related material —

Desert Cross, in Log24 on that date, and . . .

* See Zwischenraum  in this journal.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Settings and Tools

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:02 AM

On Mathematical Beauty

Filed under: G-Notes,General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 2:18 AM

A phrase from the previous post —
"a size-eight dame in a size-six dress" —
suggests a review . . .

See as well the diamond-theorem correlation and . . .

Why PSL(2,7) is isomorphic to GL(3.2)

Monday, November 5, 2018

Eyes on the Prize

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 7:04 PM

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Aleph Meets Zahir

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 AM

For the "Aleph" of the title in the seal of
the College of the Desert, see the final post
in a search for the College in this journal.

A better-known Aleph appears in a story by Borges.
See Borges + Aleph in this journal.

For the "Zahir" of the title, see another story by Borges
and the coin scenes in the films "No Country for Old Men"
(2007) and "Mojave" (2015).

The word "Zahir" has appeared previously in this journal
in a post of January 11, 2011, Soul and Spirit.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

For All Hallows’ Eve

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:00 AM

See the previous post and College of the Desert in this journal.

From the latter, see particularly Slide 69 in Geoff Hagopian's Symmetry.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Red Pill

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:45 AM

"We have passed through the looking glass
and down the rabbit hole."

Kurt Andersen in the Sept. 2017 Atlantic

See as well "the desert of the real" and, 
for comparison, College of the Desert in this  journal.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Norwegian Sermon

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:30 AM

"And the Führer digs for trinkets in the desert."

See also the previous post.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Crichton Prize …

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:32 AM

Goes to Feynman, Epstein, and Kaplan

“A self-replicating swarm of predatory molecules
is rapidly evolving outside the plant.”

Amazon.com synopsis of Michael Crichton’s
2002 novel Prey

Washington Post  online today —

Nobel Prize in chemistry is awarded
for molecular machines

” The physicist and Nobel laureate Richard Feynman
gave a seminal lecture on the subject in 1959,
envisioning a ‘great future’ in which ‘we can arrange
the atoms the way we want; the very atoms,
all the way down.’ ” — Sarah Kaplan

Richard Feynman in 1959

“How do we write small?”

Related material quoted here on Sunday morning, Oct. 2, 2016 —

Westworld  is especially impressive because it builds two worlds
at once: the Western theme park and the futuristic workplace.
The Western half of Westworld  might be the more purely
entertaining of the two, with its shootouts and heists and chases
through sublime desert vistas. Behind the scenes, the theme park’s
workers show how the robot sausage is made. And as a dystopian
office drama, the show does something truly original.”

— Adam Epstein at QUARTZ, October 1, 2016

Sunday, October 2, 2016


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:45 AM

On a new HBO series that opens at 9 PM ET tonight —

Watching Westworld , you can sense a grand mythology unfolding before your eyes. The show’s biggest strength is its world-building, an aspect of screenwriting that many television series have botched before. Often shows will rush viewers into plot, forgetting to instill a sense of place and of history, that you’re watching something that doesn’t just exist in a vacuum but rather is part of some larger ecosystem. Not since Lost  can I remember a TV show so committed to immersing its audience into the physical space it inhabits. (Indeed, Westworld  can also be viewed as a meta commentary on the art of screenwriting itself: brainstorming narratives, building characters, all for the amusement of other people.)

Westworld  is especially impressive because it builds two worlds at once: the Western theme park and the futuristic workplace. The Western half of Westworld  might be the more purely entertaining of the two, with its shootouts and heists and chases through sublime desert vistas. Behind the scenes, the theme park’s workers show how the robot sausage is made. And as a dystopian office drama, the show does something truly original.

Adam Epstein at QUARTZ, October 1, 2016

"… committed to immersing its audience
  into the physical space it inhabits…."

See also, in this journal, the Mimsy Cube

"Mimsy Were the Borogoves,"
classic science fiction story:

"… he lifted a square, transparent crystal block, small enough to cup in his palm– much too small to contain the maze of apparatus within it. In a moment Scott had solved that problem. The crystal was a sort of magnifying glass, vastly enlarging the things inside the block. Strange things they were, too. Miniature people, for example– They moved. Like clockwork automatons, though much more smoothly. It was rather like watching a play."

A Crystal Block —

Cube, 4x4x4

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Quick and the Dead

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:30 AM

I watched the 2015 film "Mojave" this morning. Some related remarks:

"Mojave" screenwriter William Monahan won an Oscar for "The Departed."

The opening of a book by another Hollywood author, now departed —

The Latecomers

"Nicholas Concert, a minister without particular portfolio
or flock, and once, long ago, a priest of the Roman faith,
awoke in a troubled dawn. It was the new day sensed
rather than perceptible to him in the interior blackness of
the detached truck camper. It was cold. He was tempted
to huddle in his sleeping bag awhile longer, until the sun
would rise out of the Mojave, climb the ridge and fill the
isolated desert valley. He had not slept well. His night had
been frantic with apparitions, sounds, fragments of dialogue. 

It had been a long night, a terrible night, one that Concert
had thought would never end or, at its worst, that it had ended
and he had died during its passing and this was his eternal hell,
to be transfixed in this night forever, kept from his tomorrow as
Moses, flawed, had been kept from his. …"

E. M. Nathanson

Friday, March 18, 2016

Southwestern Noir

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:56 PM

Kyle Smith on April 15, 2015, in the New York Post —

"The ludicrous action thriller 'Beyond the Reach'
fails to achieve the Southwestern noir potency
of 'No Country for Old Men,' but there’s no denying
it brings to mind another Southwestern classic
about malicious pursuit: the Road Runner cartoons."

See also ….

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Raiders of the Lost Box

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:30 AM

See Triumph of the Will and Box of Nothing

"And the Führer digs for trinkets in the desert."

Friday, January 8, 2016

Triumph of the Will

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

"And the Führer digs for trinkets in the desert."

Monday, October 12, 2015

Ex Tenebris

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:40 AM
“By groping toward the light
 we are made to realize
 how deep the darkness
 is around us.”
— Arthur Koestler,
   The Call Girls: A Tragi-Comedy,
   Random House, 1973,
   page 118

"The Tesseract is where it belongs: out of our reach."

 — Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury,
      quoted here on Epiphany 2013

Earlier (See Jan. 27, 2012)

"And the Führer digs for trinkets in the desert."

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Last Wish

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:48 PM

(Continued from Sept. 8, 2014)

“I want Harry Winston to make me a toe tag.” — Joan Rivers

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Deepening the Spielfeld

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 3:27 AM

(Continued from Friday, June 26, 2015)

In memory of an architect —

Donald Wexler, an architect whose innovative steel houses
and soaring glass-fronted terminal at the Palm Springs
International Airport helped make Palm Springs, Calif.,
a showcase for midcentury modernism, died on Friday
[June 26, 2015] at his home in Palm Desert. He was 89.

William Grimes in this morning's New York Times

For a different sort of architecture in Palm Desert, see…

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Oscar Views

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:05 AM

View of La Quinta (click to enlarge) —

Detail of reported death location —

The Oscar director reportedly died in a car accident somewhat before 
9:30 PM PDT Thursday, May 21, 2015. See details from The Desert Sun .

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Relaxed Field*

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 PM

In memory of a dead poet —

"Relax," said the night man.
"We are programmed to receive."

* A phrase from a new book by mathematician
  Michael Harris, Mathematics without Apologies .

Friday, January 16, 2015

California Dreamin’

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:00 PM

In memory of music pioneers Kim Fowley
and Ervin Drake, each dead on Jan. 15

The street was deserted late Friday night
We were buggin' each other while
     we sat out the light….

Dead Man's Curve, it's no place to play
Dead Man's Curve, you best keep away

Jan and Dean

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Ten

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:20 AM

Ten'll getcha twenty.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 11:00 AM

"Welcome to America." — Harrison Ford in "The Devil's Own"

America  (current issue):

On readings at Mass on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014 —

"Isaiah 55:8-9: 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.'

The Gospel reading… was a perfect complement to
the passage from Isaiah…."

The America  piece quoting Isaiah was titled "The Mystery of God."

The author "currently works at Xavier College Preparatory
in Palm Desert, CA, where he teaches theology…."

Related material: This  journal that Sunday morning:

See also "The Mystery of God, Part II" —

Other secular stand-ins for "the thing one doesn't know"—
The mysteries of the late Joseph D. McNamara.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Simple Tune

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 7:00 PM

1  2  3  4  5  9  8  6  7

220 * (1/4) =   55 = A1

220 * (2/4) = 110 = A2

220 * (3/4) = 165 = approximately E3 (164.8)

220 * (4/4) = 220 = A3

220 * (5/4) = 275 = approximately C4/D4 (277.2) 

220 * (6/4) = 330 = approximately E4  (329.6)

220 * (7/4) = 385 = approximately G4  (392.0) 

220 * (8/4) = 440 = A4

220 * (9/4) = 495 = approximately B4  (493.9) 

Exact frequencies (such as 277.2) are from Wikipedia’s Piano key frequencies.

“It may be quite simple, but now that it’s done….

Friday, May 25, 2012


Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:01 PM

Today is commencement day at College of the Desert.

Without Graduation
(from a poem by Jorie Graham)

IMAGE- Description of crow from page 178 of 'Dream of the Unified Field,' a book by Jorie Graham

With  Graduation

IMAGE- From 'Ulysses,' 1922 first edition, page 178-- 'dagger definitions'

Click either passage above for some commentary.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Finishing Up at Noon

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM


From Winning

"In the desert you can remember your name,
'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain."



Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:00 AM

See last year's Day of the Tetraktys.

Those who prefer Hebrew to Greek may consult Coxeter and the Aleph.

See also last midnight's The Aleph as well as Saturday morning's
An Ordinary Evening in Hartford and Saturday evening's
For Whom the Bell (with material from March 20, 2011).

For connoisseurs of synchronicity, there is …


Cached from http://mrpianotoday.com/tourdates.htm —
The last concert of Roger Williams — March 20, 2011 —

   March 20

"Roger Williams" In Concert,
The Legendary Piano Man!!
Roger Williams & his Band
(Sierra Ballroom)

Palm Desert, CA    

Background music… Theme from "Somewhere in Time"

The Aleph

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 AM

Minutes — Organization Meeting
11:00 a.m., Saturday, July 1, 1961—

15. Preparation of College Seal:

By unanimous consent preparation of a College
Seal to contain the following features was
authorized: A likeness of the Library building
set in a matrix of date palms, backed by
a mountain skyline and rising sun; before
the Library an open book, the Greek symbol
Alpha on one page and Omega on the other;
the Latin Lux et Veritas, College of the
Desert, and 1958 to be imprinted within or
around the periphery of the seal.

From the website http://geofhagopian.net/ of
Geoff Hagopian, Professor of Mathematics,
College of the Desert


Note that this version of the seal contains
an Aleph  and Omega instead of Alpha and Omega.

From another Hagopian website, another seal.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:30 AM

From a short story:

One day his mother and his Uncle Oscar came in when he was on one of his furious rides. He did not speak to them.

"Hallo, you young jockey! Riding a winner?" said his uncle.

"Aren't you growing too big for a rocking-horse? You're not a very little boy any longer, you know," said his mother.

But Paul only gave a blue glare from his big, rather close-set eyes. He would speak to nobody when he was in full tilt. His mother watched him with an anxious expression on her face.

At last he suddenly stopped forcing his horse into the mechanical gallop and slid down.

"Well, I got there!" he announced fiercely, his blue eyes still flaring, and his sturdy long legs straddling apart.

"Where did you get to?" asked his mother.

"Where I wanted to go," he flared back at her.

"That's right, son!" said Uncle Oscar. "Don't you stop till you get there. What's the horse's name?"

"He doesn't have a name," said the boy.

— "The Rocking-Horse Winner," by D. H. Lawrence

"In the desert you can remember your name,
'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain."


See also June 12, 2005September 11, 2007, and Something Anonymous.

"A New York Jew imitates D. H. Lawrence at his peril."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saturday October 11, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:23 PM

Haider was pronounced dead
 in a hospital shortly after his
 Volkswagen Phaeton veered
 off the road….”

“In the version of the myth told by Ovid in the Metamorphoses, Phaeton bragged to his friends that his father was the sun-god. One of his friends, who was rumored to be a son of Zeus, refused to believe him and said his mother was lying. So Phaeton went to his father Helios, who swore by the river Styx to give Phaeton anything he should ask for in order to prove his divine paternity. Phaeton wanted to drive his chariot (the sun) for a day. Though Helios tried to talk him out of it, Phaeton was adamant. When the day came, Phaeton panicked and lost control of the mean horses that drew the chariot. First it veered too high, so that the earth grew chill. Then it dipped too close, and the vegetation dried and burned. He accidentally turned most of Africa into desert, burning the skin of the Ethiopians black. Eventually, Zeus was forced to intervene by striking the runaway chariot with a lightning bolt to stop it, and Phaeton plunged into the river Eridanos. His sisters the Heliades grieved so much that they were turned into poplar trees that weep golden amber.

This story has given rise to two latter-day meanings of ‘phaeton’: one who drives a chariot or coach, especially at a reckless or dangerous speed, and one that would or may set the world on fire.” —Wikipedia

Monday, July 7, 2008

Monday July 7, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 AM

Last evening’s entry referred to a 1961 essay by Iris Murdoch titled “Against Dryness.”  Murdoch’s use of “dryness” as a literary term is taken from a 1911 essay by T. E. Hulme, “Romanticism and Classicism.” Hulme says that

“There is a general tendency to think that verse means little else than the expression of unsatisfied emotion. People say: ‘But how can you have verse without sentiment?’ You see what it is: the prospect alarms them. A classical revival to them would mean the prospect of an arid desert and the death of poetry as they understand it, and could only come to fill the gap caused by that death. Exactly why this dry classical spirit should have a positive and legitimate necessity to express itself in poetry is utterly inconceivable to them.”

Related philosophy from Hollywood:

Bentley: … What is it, Major Lawrence, that attracts you personally to the desert?
Lawrence:  It’s clean.
Bentley:  Well, now, that’s a very illuminating answer.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tuesday May 27, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 PM
From the
Cartoon Graveyard

Page from 'The Paradise of Childhood,' 1906 edition

The above is from
The Paradise of Childhood
a work first published in 1869.

For the late Thelma Keane,
wife of “Family Circus
cartoonist Bil Keane of
Paradise Valley, Arizona:

I need a photo-opportunity,

Thelma Keane, real-life 'Family Circus' mother
I want a shot at redemption.*
Don’t want to end up a cartoon
In a cartoon graveyard.”
— Paul Simon
St. Barnabas on the Desert, Paradise Valley, Arizona

Mrs. Keane died May 23
(St. Sarah’s Eve)
according to
The Washington Post.
Related material:
Log24 on May 23,
Saints in Australia.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunday May 11, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:31 AM
May and Zan

May Swenson, left, and Zan Knudson, right

May Swenson (left)
and Zan Knudson (right)

In memory of poet May Swenson and sports novelist Rozanne Ruth “Zan” Knudson:

Maureen Dowd in today’s New York Times:

“It’s a similar syndrome to the one Katharine Hepburn’s star athlete and her supercilious fiancé have in ‘Pat and Mike.’

The fiancé is always belittling Hepburn, so whenever he’s in the stands, her tennis and golf go kerflooey. Finally, her manager, played by Spencer Tracy, asks the fiancé to stay away from big matches, explaining, ‘You are the wrong jockey for this chick.’

‘You know, except when you’re around, we got a very valuable piece of property here,’ he says, later adding, ‘When you’re around, she’s no good, she’s dead, see?'”

Girl in tesseract on cover of  'The Gameplayers of Zan'

Summary of M. A. Foster’s
The Gameplayers of Zan:

“Then she has a vision of herself,
enclosed by an unfolded hypercube,
and then an immense screen
behind it covered by complex,
     ever-shifting patterns….”

“Christ! What are
 patterns for?”
Amy Lowell   

Does the word ‘tesseract’
mean anything to you?

— Robert A. Heinlein

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tuesday September 11, 2007

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 12:07 AM

Battlefield Geometry

"The general, who wrote the Army's book on counterinsurgency, said he and his staff were 'trying to do the battlefield geometry right now' as he prepared his troop-level recommendations."
Steven R. Hurst, The Associated Press, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2007

"'… we are in the process of doing the battlefield geometry to determine the way ahead.'"
Charles M. Sennott, Boston Globe, Friday, Sept. 7, 2007

"Based on these considerations, and having worked the battlefield geometry … I have recommended a drawdown of the surge forces from Iraq."
United States Army, Monday, Sept. 10, 2007

Related material:

Log24 entries of
June 11 and 12, 2005:

Desert Square, from xxi.ac-reims.fr/terres-rouges/essai/histoire.htm

"In the desert you can
remember your name
'Cause there ain't no one
for to give you no pain."

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tuesday July 31, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:00 AM

Italian Director Antonioni
Dies at 94

Published: July 31, 2007

Filed with The New York Times at 5:14 a.m. ET

“ROME (AP) — Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni, best known for his movies ‘Blow-Up’ and ‘L’Avventura,’ has died, officials and news reports said Tuesday. He was 94.

The ANSA news agency said that Antonioni died at his home on Monday evening.

‘With Antonioni dies not only one of the greatest directors but also a master of modernity,’ Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni said in a statement.

In 1995, Hollywood honored Antonioni’s career work– 25 films and several screenplays– with a special Oscar for lifetime achievement.”

Related material:

  1. “Zabriskie Point” (1970), a film by Antonioni.

    “The name refers to Zabriskie Point in Death Valley, the location of the film’s famous desert love scene, in which members of the Open Theatre simulate an orgy.” —Wikipedia

  2. Play It As It Lays (1970), a novel by Joan Didion

       Play It As It Lays

    Play It As It Lays, page 204

  3. Log24: The Word in the Desert

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Sunday December 31, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:13 PM

7/13, 2003:

The Word in the Desert

Thursday, June 8, 2006

Thursday June 8, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:11 AM
For the Clowns of Harvard
on Commencement Day,
a Reading from 2003’s

The Word in the Desert

Ground Zero 

Today’s birthday: Harrison Ford is 61.

             From The Gag

Seven – Eleven Dice 

Throw a seven or eleven every time. Set consists of a pair of regular dice and another set that can’t miss. A product of the S. S. Adams Company. Make your friends and family laugh with this great prank!

 New York State Lottery:

7-11 Evening Number: 000.

From the conclusion of
Joan Didion’s 1970 novel
Play It As It Lays: 

“I know what ‘nothing’ means,
and keep on playing.”

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Wednesday December 14, 2005

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 1:00 AM
From Here
to Eternity

For Loomis Dean

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See also
For Rita Moreno
on Her Birthday

(Dec. 11, 2005)

Los Angeles Times
Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2005


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After many years at Life magazine,
he continued to find steady work
as a freelancer and as a still
photographer on film sets.
(Dean Family)

Loomis Dean, 88;
Life Magazine Photographer
Known for Pictures of
Celebrities and Royalty

By Jon Thurber, Times Staff Writer

Loomis Dean, a Life magazine photographer who made memorable pictures of the royalty of both Europe and Hollywood, has died. He was 88.

Dean died Wednesday [December 7, 2005] at Sonoma Valley Hospital in Sonoma, Calif., of complications from a stroke, according to his son, Christopher.

In a photographic career spanning six decades, Dean's leading images included shirtless Hollywood mogul Darryl F. Zanuck trying a one-handed chin-up on a trapeze bar, the ocean liner Andrea Doria listing in the Atlantic and writer Ernest Hemingway in Spain the year before he committed suicide. One of his most memorable photographs for Life was of cosmopolitan British playwright and composer Noel Coward in the unlikely setting of the Nevada desert.

Dean shot 52 covers for Life, either as a freelance photographer or during his two stretches as a staffer with the magazine, 1947-61 and 1966-69. After leaving the magazine, Dean found steady freelance work in magazines and as a still photographer on film sets, including several of the early James Bond movies starring Sean Connery.

Born in Monticello, Fla., Dean was the son of a grocer and a schoolteacher.

When the Dean family's business failed during the Depression, they moved to Sarasota, Fla., where Dean's father worked as a curator and guide at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.

Dean studied engineering at the University of Florida but became fascinated with photography after watching a friend develop film in a darkroom. He went off to what is now the Rochester Institute of Technology, which was known for its photography school.

After earning his degree, Dean went to work for the Ringling circus as a junior press agent and, according to his son, cultivated a side job photographing Ringling's vast array of performers and workers.

He worked briefly as one of Parade magazine's first photographers but left after receiving an Army Air Forces commission during World War II. During the war, he worked in aerial reconnaissance in the Pacific and was along on a number of air raids over Japan.

His first assignment for Life in 1946 took him back to the circus: His photograph of clown Lou Jacobs with a giraffe looking over his shoulder made the magazine's cover and earned Dean a staff job.

In the era before television, Life magazine photographers had some of the most glamorous work in journalism. Life assigned him to cover Hollywood. In 1954, the magazine published one of his most memorable photos, the shot of Coward dressed for a night on the town in New York but standing alone in the stark Nevada desert.

Dean had the idea of asking Coward, who was then doing a summer engagement at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas, to pose in the desert to illustrate his song "Mad Dogs and Englishmen Go Out in the Midday Sun."

As Dean recalled in an interview with John Loengard for the book "Life Photographers: What They Saw," Coward wasn't about to partake of the midday sun. "Oh, dear boy, I don't get up until 4 o'clock in the afternoon," Dean recalled him saying.

But Dean pressed on anyway. As he related to Loengard, he rented a Cadillac limousine and filled the back seat with a tub loaded with liquor, tonic and ice cubes — and Coward.

The temperature that day reached 119 as Coward relaxed in his underwear during the drive to a spot about 15 miles from Las Vegas. According to Dean, Coward's dresser helped him into his tuxedo, resulting in the image of the elegant Coward with a cigarette holder in his mouth against his shadow on the dry lake bed.

"Splendid! Splendid! What an idea! If we only had a piano," Coward said of the shoot before hopping back in the car and stripping down to his underwear for the ride back to Las Vegas.

In 1956, Life assigned Dean to Paris. While sailing to Europe on the Ile de France, he was awakened with the news that the Andrea Doria had collided with another liner, the Stockholm.

The accident occurred close enough to Dean's liner that survivors were being brought aboard.

His photographs of the shaken voyagers and the sinking Andrea Doria were some of the first on the accident published in a U.S. magazine.

During his years in Europe, Dean photographed communist riots and fashion shows in Paris, royal weddings throughout Europe and noted authors including James Jones and William S. Burroughs.

He spent three weeks with Hemingway in Spain in 1960 for an assignment on bullfighting. In 1989, Dean published "Hemingway's Spain," about his experiences with the great writer.

In 1965, Dean won first prize in a Vatican photography contest for a picture of Pope Paul VI. The prize included an audience with the pope and $750. According to his son, it was Dean's favorite honor.

In addition to his son, he is survived by a daughter, Deborah, and two grandsons.

Instead of flowers, donations may be made to the American Child Photographer's Charity Guild (www.acpcg.com) or the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Related material:
The Big Time

(Log 24, July 29, 2003):

A Story That Works

  • "There is the dark, eternally silent, unknown universe;
  • there are the friend-enemy minds shouting and whispering their tales and always seeking the three miracles —

    • that minds should really touch, or
    • that the silent universe should speak, tell minds a story, or (perhaps the same thing)
    • that there should be a story that works, that is all hard facts, all reality, with no illusions and no fantasy;
  • and lastly, there is lonely, story-telling, wonder-questing, mortal me."

    Fritz Leiber in "The Button Molder"


Sunday, October 9, 2005

Sunday October 9, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:00 AM
Today’s Sermon:
Magical Thinking

On this date– “In 1936,
the first generator at Boulder
(later Hoover) Dam began
transmitting electricity to Los Angeles.”
— Today in History, Associated Press

“Brightness doubled
   generates radiance.”
— Hexagram 30

“I know what nothing means.”
— Maria Wyeth in Play It As It Lays

“Nothing is random.”
— Mark Helprin in Winter’s Tale

Maria Wyeth in Las Vegas:

“… She thought about nothing.  Her mind was a blank tape, imprinted daily with snatches of things overheard, fragments of dealers’ patter, the beginnings of jokes and odd lines of song lyrics.  When she finally lay down nights in the purple room she would play back the day’s tape, a girl singing into a microphone and a fat man dropping a glass, cards fanned on a table and a dealer’s rake in closeup and a woman in slacks crying and the opaque blue eyes of the guard at some baccarat table.  A child in the harsh light of a crosswalk on the Strip.  A sign on Fremont Street.  A light blinking.  In her half sleep the point was ten, the jackpot was on eighteen, the only man that could ever reach her was the son of a preacher man, someone was down sixty, someone was up, Daddy wants a popper and she rode a painted pony let the spinning wheel spin.

By the end of a week she was thinking constantly about where her body stopped and the air began, about the exact point in space and time that was the difference between Maria and other.  She had the sense that if she could get that in her mind and hold it for even one micro-second she would have what she had come to get.  As if she had fever, her skin burned and crackled with a pinpoint sensitivity.  She could feel smoke against her skin.  She could feel voice waves.  She was beginning to feel color, light intensities, and she imagined that she could be put blindfolded in front of the signs at the Thunderbird and the Flamingo and know which was which.  ‘Maria,’ she felt someone whisper one night, but when she turned there was nobody.

She began to feel the pressure of Hoover Dam, there on the desert, began to feel the pressure and pull of the water.  When the pressure got great enough she drove out there.  All that day she felt the power  surging through her own body. All day she was faint with vertigo, sunk in a world where great power grids converged, throbbing lines plunged finally into the shallow canyon below the dam’s face, elevators like coffins dropped into the bowels of the earth itself.  With a guide and a handful of children Maria walked through the chambers, stared at the turbines in the vast glittering gallery, at the deep still water with the hidden intakes sucking all the while, even as she watched, clung to the railings, leaned out, stood finally on a platform over the pipe that carried the river beneath the dam.  The platform quivered.  Her ears roared.  She wanted to stay in the dam, lie on the great pipe itself, but reticence saved her from asking.

‘Just how long have you been here now,’ Freddy Chaikin asked when she ran into him in Caesar’s.  ‘You planning on making a year of it?  Or what?'”

Related material

The front page of today’s
New York Times Book Review

and Log24, July 15, 2004:

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A quotation that somehow
seems relevant:

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

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Tuesday August 2, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:18 AM

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Modal Theology

The Associated Press

Tuesday, August 2, 2005  9:50 AM EDT

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Muslim leaders and Saudi princes bade farewell to King Fahd on Tuesday, saying prayers in a packed Riyadh mosque and then burying him in an unmarked desert grave in keeping with the kingdom’s austere version of Islam.

Tuesday August 2, 2005

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 7:00 AM
Today's birthday:
Peter O'Toole

"What is it, Major Lawrence,
 that attracts you personally
 to the desert?"

"It's clean."

Visible Mathematics,
continued —

From May 18:

Lindbergh's Eden

"The Garden of Eden is behind us
and there is no road
back to innocence;
we can only go forward."

— Anne Morrow Lindbergh,
Earth Shine, p. xii

On Beauty
"Beauty is the proper conformity
of the parts to one another
and to the whole."

— Werner Heisenberg,
"Die Bedeutung des Schönen
in der exakten Naturwissenschaft,"
address delivered to the
Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts,
Munich, 9 Oct. 1970, reprinted in
Heisenberg's Across the Frontiers,
translated by Peter Heath,
Harper & Row, 1974

Related material:

The Eightfold Cube

The Eightfold Cube

(in Arabic, ka'b)


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Sunday, June 12, 2005

Sunday June 12, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:29 PM
Bedlam Songs

By a knight of ghosts and shadows
I summoned am to tourney…

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In the desert you can
remember your name
‘Cause there ain’t no one
for to give you no pain.

Saturday, June 4, 2005

Saturday June 4, 2005

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 7:00 PM
  Drama of the Diagonal
   The 4×4 Square:
  French Perspectives

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   Les Anamorphoses:
   The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05A/050604-DesertSquare.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
  “Pour construire un dessin en perspective,
   le peintre trace sur sa toile des repères:
   la ligne d’horizon (1),
   le point de fuite principal (2)
   où se rencontre les lignes de fuite (3)
   et le point de fuite des diagonales (4).”
  Serge Mehl,
   Perspective &
  Géométrie Projective:
   “… la géométrie projective était souvent
   synonyme de géométrie supérieure.
   Elle s’opposait à la géométrie
   euclidienne: élémentaire
  La géométrie projective, certes supérieure
   car assez ardue, permet d’établir
   de façon élégante des résultats de
   la géométrie élémentaire.”
  Finite projective geometry
  (in particular, Galois geometry)
   is certainly superior to
   the elementary geometry of
  quilt-pattern symmetry
  and allows us to establish
   de façon élégante
   some results of that
   elementary geometry.
  Other Related Material…
   from algebra rather than
   geometry, and from a German
   rather than from the French:  

This is the relativity problem:
to fix objectively a class of
equivalent coordinatizations
and to ascertain
the group of transformations S
mediating between them.”
— Hermann Weyl,
The Classical Groups,
Princeton U. Press, 1946

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050124-galois12s.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Evariste Galois

 Weyl also says that the profound branch
of mathematics known as Galois theory

   “… is nothing else but the
   relativity theory for the set Sigma,
   a set which, by its discrete and
    finite character, is conceptually
   so much simpler than the
   infinite set of points in space
   or space-time dealt with
   by ordinary relativity theory.”
  — Weyl, Symmetry,
   Princeton U. Press, 1952
   Metaphor and Algebra…  

“Perhaps every science must
start with metaphor
and end with algebra;
and perhaps without metaphor
there would never have been
any algebra.” 

   — attributed, in varying forms, to
   Max Black, Models and Metaphors, 1962

For metaphor and
algebra combined, see  

  “Symmetry invariance
  in a diamond ring,”

  A.M.S. abstract 79T-A37,
Notices of the
American Mathematical Society,
February 1979, pages A-193, 194 —
the original version of the 4×4 case
of the diamond theorem.

More on Max Black…

“When approaching unfamiliar territory, we often, as observed earlier, try to describe or frame the novel situation using metaphors based on relations perceived in a familiar domain, and by using our powers of association, and our ability to exploit the structural similarity, we go on to conjecture new features for consideration, often not noticed at the outset. The metaphor works, according to Max Black, by transferring the associated ideas and implications of the secondary to the primary system, and by selecting, emphasising and suppressing features of the primary in such a way that new slants on it are illuminated.”

— Paul Thompson, University College, Oxford,
    The Nature and Role of Intuition
     in Mathematical Epistemology

  A New Slant…  

That intuition, metaphor (i.e., analogy), and association may lead us astray is well known.  The examples of French perspective above show what might happen if someone ignorant of finite geometry were to associate the phrase “4×4 square” with the phrase “projective geometry.”  The results are ridiculously inappropriate, but at least the second example does, literally, illuminate “new slants”– i.e., diagonals– within the perspective drawing of the 4×4 square.

Similarly, analogy led the ancient Greeks to believe that the diagonal of a square is commensurate with the side… until someone gave them a new slant on the subject.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Friday September 17, 2004

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

Time is a Weapon

In memory of rock star and NRA member Johnny Ramone, who died on Wednesday, Sept. 15:

“You’ve got to ask yourself a question.”
Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry

“At the end, when the agent pumps Neo full of lead, the agent is using a .357 Magnum. That gun only holds 9 bullets, but the agent shoots 10 shots at Neo. I don’t know where he got that gun.”

— Jesse Baumann,
    The Matrix: The Magic Bullet 

Ta’as Israel Industries,
Ramat Hasharon, Israel

Friday, August 01, 2003:

Fearful Meditation 

Ray Price - Time

TIME, Aug. 4, 2003

Ray Price — Time

“The Max D. Barnes-penned title track, with its stark-reality lyrics, is nothing short of haunting: ‘Time is a weapon, it’s cold and it’s cruel; It knows no religion and plays by no rules; Time has no conscience when it’s all said and done; Like a beast in the jungle that devours its young.’ That’s so good, it hurts! Price’s still-amazing vocals are simply the chilling icing on the cake.”

— Lisa Berg, NashvilleCountry.com

O fearful meditation!
Where, alack,
Shall time’s best jewel
from time’s chest lie hid?

— Shakespeare, Sonnet 65

Clue: click here.  This in turn leads to my March 4 entry Fearful Symmetry, which contains the following:

“Every transition from major to minor in a sonata, every transformation of a myth or a religious cult, every classical or artistic formulation was, I realized in that flashing moment, if seen with a truly meditative mind, nothing but a direct route into the interior of the cosmic mystery….”

— Hermann Hesse, The Glass Bead Game

“How strange the change from major to minor….”

— Cole Porter, “Every Time We Say Goodbye

Monday, March 15, 2004

Monday March 15, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 PM

Lenten Meditations:

The Logos Trilogy

  1. Logos and Logic
  2. The Word in the Desert
  3. The Line

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Saturday March 13, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

The Line

From a March 10, 2004, entry:

“Language was no more than a collection of meaningless conventional signs, and life could absurdly end at any moment.  [Mallarmé] became aware, in Millan’s* words, ‘of the extremely fine line

separating absence and presence, being and nothingness, life and death, which later … he could place at the very centre of his work and make the cornerstone of his personal philosophy and his mature poetics.’ “

— John Simon, Squaring the Circle

* A Throw of the Dice: The Life of Stéphane Mallarmé, by Gordon Millan

The illustration of the “fine line” is not by Mallarmé but by myself.  (See Songs for Shakespeare, March 5, where the line separates being from nothingness, and Ridgepole, March 7, where the line represents the “great primal beginning” of Chinese philosophy (or, equivalently, Stevens’s “first idea” or Mallarmé’s line “separating absence and presence, being and nothingness, life and death.”)

By the Associated Press,
Saturday, March 13, 2004:

“Dave Schulthise, known as Dave Blood during his career as a bassist with the 1980’s Philadelphia punk-rock band the Dead Milkmen, died on Wednesday [March 10, 2004] at the home of friends in North Salem, N.Y. He was 47.

‘David chose to end his life,’ Mr. Schulthise’s sister, Kathy, wrote on the band’s Web site.”

I walk the thinnest line
I walk the thinnest line
I walk the thinnest line
Between the light and dark sides of my mind

The Dead Milkmen, Beelzebubba album

Related material: The Word in the Desert.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Saturday August 23, 2003

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 3:07 AM

Pictures of Nothing

‘”The artist delights to go back to the first chaos of the world… All is without forms and void. Some one said of his landscapes that they were pictures of nothing, and very like.”

William Hazlitt, 1816, on J. M. W. Turner

“William Hazlett [sic] once described Turner’s painting as ‘pictures of the elements of air, earth, and water. The artist delights to go back to the first chaos of the world…All is without form and void. Some one said of his landscapes that they were pictures of nothing and very like.   This description could equally well be applied to a Pollock, Newman, or Rothko.”

— Sonja J. Klein, thesis, The Nature of the Sublime, September 2000

The fifty-second A. W. Mellon series of Lectures in the Fine Arts was given last spring at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., by Kirk Varnedoe, art historian at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey.

The lecture series was titled

Pictures of Nothing:
Abstract Art since Pollock.


The lectures, 2003:

Why Abstract Art? … March 30

Survivals and Fresh Starts … April 6

Minimalism … April 13

After Minimalism … April 27

Satire, Irony, and Abstract Art … May 4

Abstract Art Now … May 11

Varnedoe died on Thursday, August 14, 2003,
the day of the Great Blackout.

Pictures of Nothing:

“Record-breaking crowds turned up at the National Gallery for Kirk’s Mellon Lectures….

… the content of Kirk’s talk was miraculously subtle, as he insisted that there could be no single explanation for how abstraction works, that each piece had to be understood on its own terms — how it came to be made, what it meant then and what it has gone on to mean to viewers since.

Dour works like

Frank Stella’s early
gray-on-black canvases

Die Fahne Hoch,”
Frank Stella,

“Gray on Black,”
or “Date of Death”

seemed to open up under Kirk’s touch to reveal a delicacy and complexity lost in less textured explanations.”

Blake Gopnik in the Washington Post,
Aug. 15, 2003

For another memorial to Varnedoe, see

Fahne Hoch.

A May 18 Washington Post article skillfully summarized Varnedoe’s Mellon Lectures at the National Gallery:

Closing the Circle on Abstract Art.

For more on art and nihilism, see

The Word in the Desert.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Sunday July 13, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 5:09 PM

ART WARS, 5:09

The Word in the Desert

For Harrison Ford in the desert.
(See previous entry.)

    Words strain,
Crack and sometimes break,
    under the burden,
Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
Will not stay still. Shrieking voices
Scolding, mocking, or merely chattering,
Always assail them.
    The Word in the desert
Is most attacked by voices of temptation,
The crying shadow in the funeral dance,
The loud lament of
    the disconsolate chimera.

— T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets

The link to the word "devilish" in the last entry leads to one of my previous journal entries, "A Mass for Lucero," that deals with the devilishness of postmodern philosophy.  To hammer this point home, here is an attack on college English departments that begins as follows:

"William Faulkner's Snopes trilogy, which recounts the generation-long rise of the drily loathsome Flem Snopes from clerk in a country store to bank president in Jefferson, Mississippi, teems with analogies to what has happened to English departments over the past thirty years."

For more, see

The Word in the Desert,
by Glenn C. Arbery

See also the link on the word "contemptible," applied to Jacques Derrida, in my Logos and Logic page.

This leads to an National Review essay on Derrida,

The Philosopher as King,
by Mark Goldblatt

A reader's comment on my previous entry suggests the film "Scotland, PA" as viewing related to the Derrida/Macbeth link there.

I prefer the following notice of a 7-11 death, that of a powerful art museum curator who would have been well cast as Lady Macbeth:

Die Fahne Hoch,
Frank Stella,

Dorothy Miller,
MOMA curator,

died at 99 on
July 11, 2003

From the Whitney Museum site:

"Max Anderson: When artist Frank Stella first showed this painting at The Museum of Modern Art in 1959, people were baffled by its austerity. Stella responded, 'What you see is what you see. Painting to me is a brush in a bucket and you put it on a surface. There is no other reality for me than that.' He wanted to create work that was methodical, intellectual, and passionless. To some, it seemed to be nothing more than a repudiation of everything that had come before—a rational system devoid of pleasure and personality. But other viewers saw that the black paintings generated an aura of mystery and solemnity.

The title of this work, Die Fahne Hoch, literally means 'The banner raised.'  It comes from the marching anthem of the Nazi youth organization. Stella pointed out that the proportions of this canvas are much the same as the large flags displayed by the Nazis.

But the content of the work makes no reference to anything outside of the painting itself. The pattern was deduced from the shape of the canvas—the width of the black bands is determined by the width of the stretcher bars. The white lines that separate the broad bands of black are created by the narrow areas of unpainted canvas. Stella's black paintings greatly influenced the development of Minimalism in the 1960s."

From Play It As It Lays:

   She took his hand and held it.  "Why are you here."
   "Because you and I, we know something.  Because we've been out there where nothing is.  Because I wanted—you know why."
   "Lie down here," she said after a while.  "Just go to sleep."
   When he lay down beside her the Seconal capsules rolled on the sheet.  In the bar across the road somebody punched King of the Road on the jukebox again, and there was an argument outside, and the sound of a bottle breaking.  Maria held onto BZ's hand.
   "Listen to that," he said.  "Try to think about having enough left to break a bottle over it."
   "It would be very pretty," Maria said.  "Go to sleep."

I smoke old stogies I have found…    

Cigar Aficionado on artist Frank Stella:

" 'Frank actually makes the moment. He captures it and helps to define it.'

This was certainly true of Stella's 1958 New York debut. Fresh out of Princeton, he came to New York and rented a former jeweler's shop on Eldridge Street on the Lower East Side. He began using ordinary house paint to paint symmetrical black stripes on canvas. Called the Black Paintings, they are credited with paving the way for the minimal art movement of the 1960s. By the fall of 1959, Dorothy Miller of The Museum of Modern Art had chosen four of the austere pictures for inclusion in a show called Sixteen Americans."

For an even more austere picture, see

Geometry for Jews:

For more on art, Derrida, and devilishness, see Deborah Solomon's essay in the New York Times Magazine of Sunday, June 27, 1999:

 How to Succeed in Art.

"Blame Derrida and
his fellow French theorists…."

See, too, my site

Art Wars: Geometry as Conceptual Art

For those who prefer a more traditional meditation, I recommend

Ecce Lignum Crucis

("Behold the Wood of the Cross")


For more on the word "road" in the desert, see my "Dead Poet" entry of Epiphany 2003 (Tao means road) as well as the following scholarly bibliography of road-related cultural artifacts (a surprising number of which involve Harrison Ford):

A Bibliography of Road Materials

Monday, April 21, 2003

Monday April 21, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:23 PM

This world is not conclusion;
  A sequel stands beyond,
Invisible, as music,
  But positive, as sound.
It beckons and it baffles;         
  Philosophies don’t know,
And through a riddle, at the last,
  Sagacity must go.

Emily Dickinson

From an obituary of a biographer of Emily Dickinson, Richard B. Sewall, who died on Wednesday, April 16, 2003:

"Descended from a line of Congregational ministers dating back to the Salem of the witch trial era, Mr. Sewall was known for infusing his lectures with an almost religious fervor."


What is the hardest thing to keep?

For one answer, see my entry of April 16, 2003.   For commentary on that answer, see the description of a poetry party that took place last April at Sleepy Hollow, New York.

See, too, the story that contains the following passages:

"As to the books and furniture of the schoolhouse, they belonged to the community, excepting Cotton Mather's History of Witchcraft, a New England Almanac, and book of dreams and fortune-telling….

The schoolhouse being deserted soon fell to decay, and was reported to be haunted by the ghost of the unfortunate pedagogue, and the plough-boy, loitering homeward of a still summer evening, has often fancied his voice at a distance, chanting a melancholy psalm tune among the tranquil solitudes of Sleepy Hollow."

Washington Irving

Update of 11:55 PM April 21, 2003,

in memory of
Nina Simone:

See also the last paragraph of this news story,
this website, and this essay,
or see all three combined.

From the entry of midnight, October 25-26, 2002:

Make my bed and light the light,
I'll arrive late tonight,
Blackbird, Bye-bye.

Nina Simone

For more on the eight-point star of Venus,
see "Bright Star," my note of October 23, 2002.

Sunday, December 8, 2002

Sunday December 8, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:48 PM

From a Spanish-English dictionary:

lucero m. morning or evening star:
any bright star….
2. hole in a window panel for the
admission of light….
Sal a tu ventana,
que mi canto es para ti….
Lucero, lucero, lucero, lucero

— “Ya la ronda llega aquí

Cross Window Ex Cathedra
See In Mexico City, a Quiet Revelation,
in the New York Times of December 5.
The photo, from a different website, is
   of a room by the architect Luis Barragán.

From the Nobel Prize lecture of Octavio Paz on December 8, 1990 — twelve years ago today:

“Like every child I built emotional bridges in the imagination to link me to the world and to other people. I lived in a town on the outskirts of Mexico City, in an old dilapidated house that had a jungle-like garden and a great room full of books. First games and first lessons. The garden soon became the centre of my world; the library, an enchanted cave. I used to read and play with my cousins and schoolmates. There was a fig tree, temple of vegetation, four pine trees, three ash trees, a nightshade, a pomegranate tree, wild grass and prickly plants that produced purple grazes. Adobe walls. Time was elastic; space was a spinning wheel. All time, past or future, real or imaginary, was pure presence. Space transformed itself ceaselessly. The beyond was here, all was here: a valley, a mountain, a distant country, the neighbours’ patio. Books with pictures, especially history books, eagerly leafed through, supplied images of deserts and jungles, palaces and hovels, warriors and princesses, beggars and kings. We were shipwrecked with Sindbad and with Robinson, we fought with d’Artagnan, we took Valencia with the Cid. How I would have liked to stay forever on the Isle of Calypso! In summer the green branches of the fig tree would sway like the sails of a caravel or a pirate ship. High up on the mast, swept by the wind, I could make out islands and continents, lands that vanished as soon as they became tangible. The world was limitless yet it was always within reach; time was a pliable substance that weaved an unbroken present.”

Today’s site music is courtesy of the Sinatra MIDI Files

Friday, December 6, 2002

Friday December 6, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:06 PM

Great Simplicity

Frank Tall







is the day that Daisetsu Suzuki attained satori,
according to the Zen Calendar.  “Daisetsu” is
said to mean “Great Simplicity.”

For those who prefer Harry Potter and
Diagon Alley, here is another calendar:

To Have and Have Not

Those who prefer traditional Western religions may like a site on the Trinity that contains this:

“Zen metaphysics is perhaps most succinctly set forth in the words ‘not-two.”  But even when he uses this expression, Suzuki is quick to assert that it implies no monism.  Not-two, it is claimed, is not the same as one.*  But when Suzuki discusses the relationship of Zen with Western mysticism, it is more difficult to escape the obvious monistic implications of his thinking.  Consider the following:

We are possessed of the habit of looking at Reality by dividing it into two… It is all due to the human habit of splitting one solid Reality into two, and the result is that my ‘have’ is no ‘have’ and my ‘have not’ is no ‘have not.’  While we are actually passing, we insist that the gap is impassable.**”

*See: Daisetz T. Suzuki, ‘Basic Thoughts Underlying  Eastern Ethical and Social Practice’ in Philosophy and Culture  East and West: East-West Philosophy in Practical Perspective, ed. Charles A. Moore (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1968), p. 429

** Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki, Mysticism Christian and Buddhist (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1957, Unwin paperback, 1979), p. 57.

Personally, I am reminded by Suzuki’s satori on this date that today is the eve of the anniversary of Pearl Harbor.  I am also reminded by the rather intolerant tract on the Trinity quoted above that the first atomic bomb was exploded in the New Mexico desert at a test site named Trinity.  Of course, sometimes intolerance is justified.

Concluding unscientific postscript:

On the same day in 1896 that D. T. Suzuki attained satori,
lyricist Ira Gershwin was born.

Dies irae, dies illa.

Monday, September 9, 2002

Monday September 9, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:57 PM

Politics of Hell

Born today: Michael Keaton,
star of “
The Dream Team

Regarding my claim in the note below that Michael Dukakis lied about an ancient Greek pledge, thereby incurring the wrath of the Gods…

A Google search for “Athenian pledge” yields four sites, only two of which are relevant.  One is a site in which U. S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY, Harvard ’71) parrots Dukakis, and one is from the final home of William S. Burroughs  — Lawrence, Kansas:

Lawrence the Beautiful

“I ran across this printed paragraph in a supplement to the Journal-World dated, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 1965. The cover, “City of Lawrence, Kansas — Progress Report”, at the top of the inside page has this:

     “City of Heritage. We will never bring disgrace to this city, by any act of dishonesty or cowardice, nor ever desert our comrades; we will fight for the ideals and sacred things of the city, both alone and with many; we will revere and obey the city laws, and do our best to incite a like respect and reverence to others; we will strive unceasingly to quicken the public’s sense of civic duty; that thus in all these ways, we may transmit this city, greater, better, and more beautiful that it was transmitted to us.”

“The Athenian Pledge” 

The link above on Burroughs (Harvard ’36) is to a site subtitled “Secret Agent in Hell.”  Perhaps he now haunts his old alma mater… 

The excellent 1933 Harvard novel Great Circle, by Conrad Aiken, has in its opening paragraph the following:

By all means accept the invitation to hell, should it come.  It will not take you far — from Cambridge to hell is only a step; or at most a hop, skip, and jump. But now you are evading — you are dodging the issue…. after all, Cambridge is hell enough. 

Postscript of 12:55 a.m. September 10:

For a current (9/9/02) Harvard student’s view of Hell, see the description of Solzhenitsyn’s The First Circle at


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