Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Dramatic Dialogue

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 3:24 PM

“How’s tricks?” — Cop in Impulse” (1990).
(See a Log24 search for that word.)

That line of dialogue is in memory of a woman who reportedly
died in Bellingham, Washington, on January 11, 2021.

See also Bellingham in this journal.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Dark Thirty

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:28 PM


Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:59 PM
Lines from “Impulse,” a 1990 Sondra Locke film —

He died by two contact
gunshots to the head.

Definitely small caliber.
Probably .22.

There’s almost no rigor,

so time of death
must be about 12:30 a.m.

an anonymous woman
caller reported it.

If a broad did it,

she sure knew
how to use a gun.

“Bing bang . . . .” — Song lyric quoted here on 7/01.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Actress Descending a Staircase

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 3:25 AM

The above title was suggested by a scene in Body Double  (1984) . . .

Variations, starring Theresa Russell, on related themes —

The De Palma Balcony in Body Double , and “ready for my closeup” —

“Bing bang, I heard the whole gang!”

Summary — 

Monday, June 29, 2020

The De Palma Balcony

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 1:44 AM

The Demolished Man  was a novel that had fascinated De Palma
since the late 1950s and appealed to his background in mathematics
and avant-garde storytelling. Its unconventional unfolding of plot
(exemplified in its mathematical layout of dialogue) and its stress on
perception have analogs in De Palma’s filmmaking.”  — Wikipedia

This, together with the Cuernavaca balcony in Deschooling MIT, is
perhaps enough of a clue for mystified theologians on St. Peter’s Day.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Deschooling* M.I.T.

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 1:29 PM

New York Times  opinion yesterday from a professor at M.I.T.

* For some background on Deschooling, see (for instance) . . .

Monday, April 6, 2020


Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 5:24 PM

The clock of Cortez's Palace in Cuernavaca

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Art Wars

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:45 AM

Wil S. Hylton today in the online New York Times

"It seems to me now, with greater reflection,
that the value of experiencing another person’s art
is not merely the work itself, but the opportunity
it presents to connect with the interior impulse of another.
The arts occupy a vanishing space in modern life:
They offer one of the last lingering places to seek out
empathy for its own sake, and to the extent that
an artist’s work is frustrating or difficult or awful,
you could say this allows greater opportunity to try to
meet it. I am not saying there is no room for discriminating 
taste and judgment, just that there is also, I think,
this other portal through which to experience creative work
and to access a different kind of beauty, which might be
called communion."

Or damnation.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Dirac and Geometry

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:30 AM


See a post by Peter Woit from Sept. 24, 2005 — Dirac's Hidden Geometry.

The connection, if any, with recent Log24 posts on Dirac and Geometry
is not immediately apparent.  Some related remarks from a novel —

From Broken Symmetries by Paul Preuss
(first published by Simon and Schuster in 1983) —

"He pondered the source of her fascination with the occult, which sooner or later seemed to entangle a lot of thoughtful people who were not already mired in establishmentarian science or religion. It was  the religious impulse, at base. Even reason itself could function as a religion, he supposed— but only for those of severely limited imagination. 

He’d toyed with 'psi' himself, written a couple of papers now much quoted by crackpots, to his chagrin. The reason he and so many other theoretical physicists were suckers for the stuff was easy to understand— for two-thirds of a century an enigma had rested at the heart of theoretical physics, a contradiction, a hard kernel of paradox. Quantum theory was inextricable from the uncertainty relations. 

The classical fox knows many things, but the quantum-mechanical hedgehog knows only one big thing— at a time. 'Complementarity,' Bohr had called it, a rubbery notion the great professor had stretched to include numerous pairs of opposites. Peter Slater was willing to call it absurdity, and unlike some of his older colleagues who, following in Einstein’s footsteps, demanded causal explanations for everything (at least in principle), Peter had never thirsted after 'hidden variables' to explain what could not be pictured. Mathematical relationships were enough to satisfy him, mere formal relationships which existed at all times, everywhere, at once. It was a thin nectar, but he was convinced it was the nectar of the gods. 

The psychic investigators, on the other hand, demanded to know how  the mind and the psychical world were related. Through ectoplasm, perhaps? Some fifth force of nature? Extra dimensions of spacetime? All these naive explanations were on a par with the assumption that psi is propagated by a species of nonlocal hidden variables, the favored explanation of sophisticates; ignotum per ignotius

'In this connection one should particularly remember that the human language permits the construction of sentences which do not involve any consequences and which therefore have no content at all…' The words were Heisenberg’s, lecturing in 1929 on the irreducible ambiguity of the uncertainty relations. They reminded Peter of Evan Harris Walker’s ingenious theory of the psi force, a theory that assigned psi both positive and negative values in such a way that the mere presence of a skeptic in the near vicinity of a sensitive psychic investigation could force null results. Neat, Dr. Walker, thought Peter Slater— neat, and totally without content. 

One had to be willing to tolerate ambiguity; one had to be willing to be crazy. Heisenberg himself was only human— he’d persuasively woven ambiguity into the fabric of the universe itself, but in that same set of 1929 lectures he’d rejected Dirac’s then-new wave equations with the remark, 'Here spontaneous transitions may occur to the states of negative energy; as these have never been observed, the theory is certainly wrong.' It was a reasonable conclusion, and that was its fault, for Dirac’s equations suggested the existence of antimatter: the first antiparticles, whose existence might never have been suspected without Dirac’s crazy results, were found less than three years later. 

Those so-called crazy psychics were too sane, that was their problem— they were too stubborn to admit that the universe was already more bizarre than anything they could imagine in their wildest dreams of wizardry."

Particularly relevant

"Mathematical relationships were enough to satisfy him,
mere formal relationships which existed at all times,
everywhere, at once."

Some related pure  mathematics

Anticommuting Dirac matrices as spreads of projective lines

Sunday, September 27, 2015

She Said Carefully

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:24 PM

A passage suggested by the previous post, Box Office:

From the 1959 Fritz Leiber story "Damnation Morning" —

She looked at me and then nodded. She said carefully, “The person you killed or doomed is still in the room.”

An aching impulse twisted me a little. “Maybe I should try to go back––” I began. “Try to go back and unite the selves . . .”

“It’s too late now,” she repeated.

“But I want to,” I persisted. “There’s something pulling at me, like a chain hooked to my chest.”

She smiled unpleasantly. “Of course there is,” she said. “It’s the vampire in you—the same thing that drew me to your room or would draw any Spider or Snake. The blood scent of the person you killed or doomed.”

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Logic for Jews

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 11:02 PM

New York Daily News , 2:55 PM EST today—

Joe Simon, who dreamed up the star-spangled super hero Captain America while riding on a Manhattan bus during the early days of World War II, died Thursday [Dec. 15] after an undisclosed illness. He was 98.

New York Times , about 10 PM EST today—

Joe Simon, a writer, editor and illustrator of comic books who was a co-creator of the superhero Captain America, conceived out of a patriotic impulse as war was roiling Europe, died on Wednesday [Dec. 14] at his home in Manhattan. He was 98.

The discrepancy is perhaps due to initial reports that quoted Simon's family as saying he died "Wednesday night."

Simon was a co-creator of Captain America. For some background on Simon and a photo with his fellow comic artist Jerry Robinson, co-creator of The Joker, see a Washington Post article from this afternoon. Robinson died on either Wednesday, Dec. 7, or Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011.

Los Angeles Times

Jerry Robinson, a pioneer in the early days of Batman comics and a key force in the creation of Robin the Boy Wonder; the Joker;  Bruce Wayne’s butler, Alfred; and Two-Face, died Wednesday afternoon [Dec. 7] in New York City. He was 89.


Cartoonist Jerry Robinson, who worked on the earliest Batman comics and claimed credit for creating the super-villain The Joker, died Thursday [Dec. 8] at the age of 89, his family confirmed.

A picture by Robinson—

IMAGE- The Joker with calendar page for November 27

The Joker in January 1943
with a Nov. 27 calendar page

A non-joke from a more recent November 27—

Simplex Sigillum Veri

"Oh, what a tangled web we weave…"

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Flight from Ennui

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

Post 2310 in yesterday evening’s Short Story links to two posts
from 2006 inspired by Oxford mathematician Marcus du Sautoy—

Thursday, May 25, 2006


May there be an ennui
of the first idea?
What else, prodigious scholar,
should there be?

— Wallace Stevens,
“Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction”

Related material: The Line.

7:13 PM

Order and Ennui

Meanwhile, back at the Institute
for Advanced Study:

May 25, 4:40 PM —
Research Seminar
(Simonyi Hall Seminar Room) —
Pirita Paajanen,
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem:
Zeta functions of
finitely generated infinite groups

Some background cited by Paajanen:

M.P.F. du Sautoy,
“Zeta functions of groups:
The quest for order
versus the flight from ennui,”
Groups St Andrews 2001 in Oxford ,
Volume 1, CUP 2003.

Those who prefer the showbiz
approach to mathematics
(the flight from ennui?) may
enjoy a website giving
further background from du Sautoy.

4:40 PM

The first paragraph of
Zeta Functions of Groups: The Quest for Order
Versus the Flight from Ennui
,” by Marcus du Sautoy,
Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford—

“Mathematics is about the search for patterns,
to see order where others see chaos. We are very lucky
to find ourselves studying a subject which is neither so rigid
that the patterns are easy, yet not too complicated
lest our brains fail to master its complexities.
John Cawelti sums up this interplay perfectly in a book*
not about mathematics but about mystery and romance:
‘if we seek order and security, the result is likely to be
boredom and sameness. But rejecting order for the sake
of change and novelty brings danger and uncertainty…
the history of culture can be interpreted as a dynamic
tension between these two basic impulses
between the quest for order and the flight from ennui.”’

* John G. Cawelti, Adventure, Mystery, and Romance:
Formula Stories as Art and Popular Culture 
University of Chicago Press, 1976.

[Cawelti cites as his souce on interpreting “the history
of culture” Harry Berger, Jr., “Naive Consciousness and
Culture Change: An Essay in Historical Structuralism
Bulletin of the Midwest Modern Language Association ,
Vol. 6, No. 1 (Spring 1973): page 35.]

Here du Sautoy paints mathematicians as seekers of order,
apparently not realizing that the author he approvingly quotes
states that seekers of order face the danger of boredom.

Another danger to seekers
of order is, of course, seeing
order where there is none.


Are you the butterfly?

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:00 PM

"Center loosens, forms again elsewhere…"

— Zelazny, quoted here for Women's History Month.

"I know it's not much but it's the best I can do.
My gift is my song and this one's for you."

— Elton John song.  John hosts SNL tonight.

IMAGE- Kristen Wiig in blue jeans

Blue Jean Baby…

IMAGE- Kristen Wiig at L.A. premiere

LA Lady…

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Women’s History Month

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

Susanne for Suzanne

From pages 7-8 of William York Tindall’s Literary Symbolism  (Columbia U. Press, 1955)—

                                     ... According to Cassirer's Essay 
on Man, as we have seen, art is a symbolic form, parallel in respect 
of this to religion or science. Each of these forms builds up a universe 
that enables man to interpret and organize his experience; and each 
is a discovery, because a creation, of reality. Although similar in func- 
tion, the forms differ in the kind of reality built. Whereas science
builds it of facts, art builds it of feelings, intuitions of quality, and 
the other distractions of our inner life— and in their degrees so do 
myth and religion. What art, myth, and religion are, Cassirer con- 
fesses, cannot be expressed by a logical definition. 

Nevertheless, let us see what Clive Bell says about art. He calls 
it "significant form," but what that is he is unable to say. Having 
no quarrel with art as form, we may, however, question its signifi- 
cance. By significant he cannot mean important in the sense of 
having import, nor can he mean having the function of a sign; 
for to him art, lacking reference to nature, is insignificant. Since, 
however, he tells us that a work of art "expresses" the emotion of 
its creator and "provokes" an emotion in its contemplator,he seems 
to imply that his significant means expressive and provocative. The 
emotion expressed and provoked is an "aesthetic emotion," contem- 
plative, detached from all concerns of utility and from all reference. 

Attempting to explain Bell's significant form, Roger Fry, equally 
devoted to Whistler and art for art's sake, says that Flaubert's "ex- 
pression of the idea" is as near as he can get to it, but neither Flaubert 
nor Fry tells what is meant by idea. To "evoke" it, however, the artist 
creates an "expressive design" or "symbolic form," by which the 
spirit "communicates its most secret and indefinable impulses." 

Susanne Langer,who occupies a place somewhere between Fry 
and Cassirer, though nearer the latter, once said in a seminar that a 
work of art is an "unassigned syntactical symbol." Since this defini- 

End of page 7 

tion does not appear in her latest book, she may have rejected it, but 
it seems far more precise than Fry's attempt. By unassigned she prob- 
ably intends insignificant in the sense of lacking sign value or fixed 
reference; syntactical implies a form composed of parts in relation- 
ship to one another; and a symbol, according to Feeling and Form, 
is "any device whereby we are enabled to make an abstraction." Too 
austere for my taste, this account of symbol seems to need elaboration, 
which, to be sure, her book provides. For the present, however, taking 
symbol to mean an outward device for presenting an inward state, 
and taking unassigned and syntactical as I think she uses them, let 
us tentatively admire her definition of the work of art.



Oh, the red leaf looks to the hard gray stone
To each other, they know what they mean

— Suzanne Vega, “Song in Red and Gray

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Sunday January 7, 2007

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 11:00 AM
Birthday Greetings
to Nicolas Cage
from Marxists.org

Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism

Various forms of “the modern movement” that include “… the modernist school of poetry (as institutionalised and canonised in the works of Wallace Stevens) all are now seen as the final, extraordinary flowering of a high-modernist impulse which is spent and exhausted…” —marxists.org:

“One of the primary critiques of modernism that Learning from Las Vegas was engaged in, as Frederic [sic] Jameson clearly noted, was the dialectic between inside and outside and the assumption that the outside expressed the interior.* Let’s call this the modernist drive for ‘expressive transparency.'”

Aron Vinegar of Ohio State U., “Skepticism and the Ordinary: From Burnt Norton to Las Vegas

* Jameson, Frederic [sic]. 1988. “Architecture and the Critique of Ideology.” The Ideologies of Theory: Essays, 1971-1986. Volume 2. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 59.

Steven Helmling, The Success and Failure of Fredric Jameson, SUNY Press, 2001, p. 54–

Jameson “figures the inside/outside problem in the metaphor of the ‘prison-house of language’….”

      Jung and the Imago Dei:

 “… Jung presents a diagram  
    to illustrate the dynamic
      movements of the self….”

…the movement of
a self in the rock…

Stevens, The Rock, and Piranesi's Prisons

Wallace Stevens:
The Poems of Our Climate
by Harold Bloom,
Cornell U. Press, 1977

“Welcome to The Rock.”
— Sean Connery

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070107-Bridge.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
“… just as God defeats the devil:
this bridge exists….”
Andre Weil

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070107-Magneto2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The bridge illustration
is thanks to Magneto.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Thursday October 21, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:00 PM

A Date Which Will
Live in Infamy

Log24.net Sunday,
December 7, 2003

Annals of Education:

Eyes on the Prize

Dialogue from
“Good Will Hunting” —

Will:    He used to just put a belt,
          a stick, and a wrench
          on the kitchen table
          and say, “Choose.”

Sean: Gotta go with the belt, there.

Will:   I used to go with the wrench.

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04B/041021--GWH2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Today’s saint’s day:
St. Ursula

Today’s birthday:
Ursula K. Le Guin

 The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04B/041021-Award.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Today’s Scripture:

Zen and the Art
of Motorcycle Maintenance

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04B/041021-Zen.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Chapter 20:

“Then, on impulse, Phædrus went over to his bookshelf and picked out a small, blue, cardboard-bound book. He’d hand-copied this book and bound it himself years before, when he couldn’t find a copy for sale anywhere. It was the 2,400-year-old Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu. He began to read….

Phædrus read on through line after line, verse after verse of this, watched them match, fit, slip into place. Exactly. This was what he meant. This was what he’d been saying all along, only poorly, mechanistically. There was nothing vague or inexact about this book. It was as precise and definite as it could be. It was what he had been saying, only in a different language with different roots and origins. He was from another valley seeing what was in this valley, not now as a story told by strangers but as a part of the valley he was from. He was seeing it all.

He had broken the code.

He read on. Line after line. Page after page. Not a discrepancy. What he had been talking about all the time as Quality was here the Tao, the great central generating force of all religions, Oriental and Occidental, past and present, all knowledge, everything.”

Wednesday, October 9, 2002

Wednesday October 9, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:01 PM


Apollo and Dionysus

From the New York Times of October 9, 2002:

Daniel Deverell Perry, a Long Island architect who created the marble temple of art housing the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass., died Oct. 2 in Woodstock, N.Y…. He was 97.


Clark Art Institute

Nymphs and Satyr


From The Birth of Tragedy, by Friedrich Nietzsche (tr. by Shaun Whiteside):

Chapter 1….

To the two gods of art, Apollo and Dionysus, we owe our recognition that in the Greek world there is a tremendous opposition, as regards both origins and aims, between the Apolline art of the sculptor and the non-visual, Dionysiac art of music.

Chapter 25….

From the foundation of all existence, the Dionysiac substratum of the world, no more can enter the consciousness of the human individual than can be overcome once more by that Apolline power of transfiguration, so that both of these artistic impulses are forced to unfold in strict proportion to one another, according to the law of eternal justice.  Where the Dionysiac powers have risen as impetuously as we now experience them, Apollo, enveloped in a cloud, must also have descended to us; some future generation will behold his most luxuriant effects of beauty.


  • On the Clark Art Institute, from Perry’s obituary in the Times:

    “When it opened in 1955, overlooking 140 acres of fields and ponds, Arts News celebrated its elegant galleries as the ‘best organized and most highly functional museum erected anywhere.'”

  • The “Nymphs and Satyr” illustration above is on the cover of “CAI: Journal of the Clark Art Institute,” Volume 3, 2002.  It is a detail from the larger work of the same title by William Bouguereau.
  • Today, October 9, is the anniversary of the dedication in 28 B.C. of the Temple to Apollo on the Palatine Hill in Rome.  See the journal entry below, which emphasizes the point that Apollo and Dionysus are not as greatly opposed as one might think.

Tuesday, October 1, 2002

Tuesday October 1, 2002

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 12:25 AM

Who’s on First?

To Lucero on October First, 2002:
A Poem by Homero Aridjis


Es tu nombre y es también octubre
es el diván y tus ungüentos
es ella tú la joven de las turbaciones
y son las palomas en vuelos secretos
y el último escalón de la torre
y es la amada acechando el amor en antemuros
y es lo dable en cada movimiento y los objetos
y son los pabellones
y el no estar del todo en una acción
y es el Cantar de los Cantares
y es el amor que te ama
y es un resumen de vigilia
de vigilancia sola al borde de la noche
al borde del soñador y los insomnios
y también es abril y noviembre
y los disturbios interiores de agosto
y es tu desnudez
que absorbe la luz de los espejos
y es tu capacidad de trigo
de hacerte mirar en las cosas
y eres tú y soy yo
y es un caminarte en círculo
dar a tus hechos dimensión de arco
y a solas con tu impulso decirte la palabra.

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