Friday, March 25, 2016

Pleasantly Discursive

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:00 AM

Toronto geometer H.S.M. Coxeter, introducing a book by Unitarian minister
Richard J. Trudeau —

"There is a pleasantly discursive treatment of Pontius Pilate’s
unanswered question ‘What is truth?’”

— Coxeter, 1987, introduction to Trudeau’s
     The Non-Euclidean Revolution

Another such treatment

"Of course, it will surprise no one to find low standards
of intellectual honesty on the Tonight Show.

But we find a less trivial example if we enter the
hallowed halls of Harvard University. . . ."

— Neal Koblitz, "Mathematics as Propaganda"

Less pleasantly and less discursively —

"Funny how annoying a little prick can be."
— The late Garry Shandling

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Canticle for O’Connor

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

University Diaries  today has a meditation on
nothingness and the University of North Carolina.

She includes a picture by John Picacio that was done as a
cover illustration for the novel A Canticle for Leibowitz .

Related material:

A June 10 obituary for Msgr. Tim O'Connor, former rector
of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Raleigh, NC.

"To those who knew him, O’Connor’s aesthetic sense
was a defining quality. As rector at Sacred Heart Cathedral—
the seat of the bishop of Raleigh— he led a $500,000
renovation project in the late ’90s that refurbished the floors
and pews and installed art, such as painting the ceiling blue
with 14-karat gold leaf stars."

— Julian Spector — jspector@newsobserver.com

Some context:

Sermon in this journal last Sunday, June 9, which
was the reported date of Msgr. O'Connor's death.

Mary Chapin Carpenter in this journal on July 6, 2008:

Related art:

Ceiling of Raleigh's Sacred Heart Cathedral—

Some context for this  art:

From "Spider Robinson: The SF Writer as Empath"
by Ben Bova 

When Analog magazine was housed over at Graybar Building
on Lexington Avenue, our offices were far from plush. In fact,
they were grimy. Years worth of Manhattan soot clung to the
walls. The windows were opaque with grime. (What has this
to do with Spider Robinson? Patience, friend.)

Many times young science fiction fans would come to Manhattan
and phone me from Grand Central Station, which connected
underground with the good old Graybar. "I've just come to New 
York and I read every issue of Analog and I'd like to come up and
see what a science fiction magazine office looks like," they would
invariably say.

I'd tell them to come on up, but not to expect too much. My advice
was always ignored. The poor kid would come in and gape at the
piles of manuscripts, the battered old metal desks, and mountains
of magazines and stacks of artwork, the ramshackle filing cabinets 
and bookshelves. His eyes would fill with tears. His mouth would
sag open.

He had, of course, expected whirring computers, telephones with
TV attachments, smoothly efficient robots humming away, 
ultramodern furniture, and a general appearance reminiscent of a 
NASA clean room. (Our present offices, in the spanking new Condé
Nast Building on Madison Avenue, are a little closer to that dream.)

The kid would shamble away, heartsick, the beautiful rainbow-hued
bubble of his imagination burst by the sharp prick of reality.

"Funny how annoying a little prick can be." — Garry Shandling as Senator Stern

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