Monday, December 30, 2019

Death on Becket’s Day

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:22 AM

Author Alasdair Gray reportedly died yesterday,
on the feast of St. Thomas à Becket.

"His Collected Verse  (2010) was followed by 
Every Short Story 1951-2012 . Hell and Purgatory ,
the first two parts of his version of Dante’s
Divine Comedy , “decorated and Englished in
prosaic verse”, appeared in 2018 and 2019. 
In November Gray received the inaugural 
Saltire Society Scottish Lifetime Achievement award."

— https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/dec/29/

See some related remarks from May 15, 1998.

Friday, December 29, 2017

On Becket’s Day

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:22 PM

For those who prefer Becket to Beckett
See a Log24 search for True Grid.

Update of 1:37 PM —

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Marginal Remarks

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:17 AM

Today's Google Doodle is in honor of Fermat's birthday—


"I have discovered a truly marvelous proof of this theorem,
 which this doodle is too small to contain."
— Google's caption

Another marginal remark, from a link target in last night's "Ein Kampf"—

"We are talking about the spatial and temporal phenomenon of language,
not about some non-spatial, non-temporal chimera [Note in margin:
Only it is possible to be interested in a phenomenon in a variety of ways]."

— Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations  (1953),  Section 108

Related material on spatial and temporal phenomena—

A Dec. 29, 2010, comment to a Dec. 26 weblog post on
"Unexpected Connections in Mathematics"—


Connoisseurs of synchronicities  in the phenomena of language may note that
these December dates mark the feasts of St. Stephen and St. Thomas Becket.

From the feast of the latter, two Log24 posts: Toy Stories and True Grid.

Those less enchanted by pop math than Google may prefer to observe
two other birthdays today— those of Robert De Niro and of Sean Penn:


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Shot at Redemption

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:59 AM

"I need a photo-opportunity,
I want a shot at redemption.
Don't want to end up a cartoon
In a cartoon graveyard."
— Paul Simon


For Sabato's photo opportunity, click here.

The link is to a weblog post in Spanish published
on St. Thomas Becket's Day, 2010.

See also Helen Lane in this journal. Lane translated
Sabato's "On Heroes and Tombs."

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Canterbury Tale

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:20 PM

For today's Feast of St. Thomas Becket


See also the dedication following the remark by another Ishmael quoted here this morning.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Thursday January 1, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:00 AM
The Becket List

Monday, Dec. 29, 2008, was St. Thomas Becket’s Day.

On that day in this journal there was a note from the New York Times on the screenwriter of the 1969 film  “A Walk With Love and Death”–

“He feuded with… John Huston, who gave the lead female role in ‘Walk’ to his teenage daughter… against Mr. Wasserman’s wishes.”

Legacy.com this morning:

Liz Evett

WEST RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) – Liz Evett, a teen who inspired people across the nation by creating a “bucket list” of things she wanted to do before she died, has died. She was 18.

Her mother, Angie Ivey, said Evett died Monday [Dec. 29, 2008] of leukemia. The West Richland teen was diagnosed with cancer nearly three years ago and relapsed in April.

When she stopped responding to treatment in June, Evett created a “bucket list” of things she wanted to do before dying and spent the last six months crossing them off.

Her list included feeding giraffes, meeting Seattle Mariner Ichiro Suzuki and graduating from high school.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Sunday December 31, 2006

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 8:00 PM
Tools of
Christ Church
(Continued from
St. Thomas Becket’s day)

The author of the thesis
“Conversations with the Dead”

described in this morning’s entry,

Aesthetics of Evil
vs. Christ Church

is Darren Joseph Danylyshen.

This may be the same
Darren Danylyshen who has
taught at St. Stephen’s SS
(a Catholic secondary school
in Bowmanville, Ontario).
Following a link in the
section of that school’s site
beneath the title
“St. Stephen’s Goes Hollywood,”
we find the following:
The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06B/061231-McLuhan.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
This ties in rather neatly with the
“Tools of Christ Church” entry
for last Friday–
St. Thomas Becket’s day–
and with the fact that
today would be the feast day
of Marshall McLuhan,
if McLuhan were a saint.
(McLuhan, a Catholic, died on
Dec. 31, 1980.)
Related material:
The Communion of Saints as
the Association of Ideas

Friday, December 29, 2006

Friday December 29, 2006

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:01 AM
of Christ Church

"For every kind of vampire,
there is a kind of cross."
Thomas Pynchon

Cover of Thomas, by Shelley Mydans: Sword and its shadow, a cross

Click on picture for details.

Today is the feast
of St. Thomas Becket.

In his honor, a meditation
on tools and causation:

"Lewis Wolpert, an eminent developmental biologist at University College London, has just published Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast, a pleasant, though rambling, look at the biological basis of belief. While the book focuses on our ability to form causal beliefs about everyday matters (the wind moved the trees, for example), it spends considerable time on the origins of religious and moral beliefs. Wolpert defends the unusual idea that causal thinking is an adaptation required for tool-making. Religious beliefs can thus be seen as an odd extension of causal thinking about technology to more mysterious matters. Only a species that can reason causally could assert that 'this storm was sent by God because we sinned.' While Wolpert's attitude toward religion is tolerant, he's an atheist who seems to find religion more puzzling than absorbing."

Review by H. Allen Orr in
The New York Review of Books,
Vol. 54, No. 1, January 11, 2007    

"An odd extension"–

Wolpert's title is, of course,
from Lewis Carroll.

Related material:

"It's a poor sort of memory
that only works backwards."
Through the Looking-Glass

An event at the Kennedy Center
broadcast on
December 26, 2006
(St. Steven's Day):

"Conductor John Williams, a 2004 Honoree, says, 'Steven, sharing our 34-year collaboration has been a great privilege for me. It's been an inspiration to watch you dream your dreams, nurture them and make them grow. And, in the process, entertain and edify billions of people around the world. Tonight we'd like to salute you, musically, with a piece that expresses that spirit beautifully … It was written by Leonard Bernstein, a 1980 Kennedy Center Honoree who was, incidentally, the first composer to be performed in this hall.' Backed by The United States Army Chorus and The Choral Arts Society, soprano Harolyn Blackwell and tenor Gregory Turay sing the closing number for Spielberg's tribute and the gala itself. It's the finale to the opera 'Candide,' 'Make Our Garden Grow,' and Williams conducts."

CBS press release

See also the following,
from the conclusion to

"Mathematics and Narrative"

(Log24, Aug. 22, 2005):

Diamond on cover of Narrative Form, by Suzanne Keen

"At times, bullshit can
only be countered
   with superior bullshit."
Norman Mailer

Many Worlds and Possible Worlds in Literature and Art, in Wikipedia:

    "The concept of possible worlds dates back to at least Leibniz who in his Théodicée tries to justify the apparent imperfections of the world by claiming that it is optimal among all possible worlds.  Voltaire satirized this view in his picaresque novel Candide….
    Borges' seminal short story El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan ("The Garden of Forking Paths") is an early example of many worlds in fiction."

"Il faut cultiver notre jardin."
— Voltaire

"We symbolize
logical necessity
with the box (box.gif (75 bytes))
and logical possibility
with the diamond (diamond.gif (82 bytes))."

Keith Allen Korcz 

Diamond in a square

"The possibilia that exist,
and out of which
the Universe arose,
are located in
     a necessary being…."

Michael Sudduth,
Notes on
God, Chance, and Necessity
by Keith Ward,
 Regius Professor of Divinity,
  Christ Church College, Oxford
(the home of Lewis Carroll)

For further details,
click on the
Christ Church diamond.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Into the Woods

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:19 AM

This just in:

Headline- 'Clown tries to lure kids into woods'

See also Cinderella in yesterday's post "As" —

The James Lapine version —

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Angles of Vision

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

IMAGE- Review of a book on Stevens's poetry, 'The Dome and the Rock,' with the reviewer's phrase 'angles of vision.'

See also Desargues in this journal.


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

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Rome After Dark

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:48 PM


For more about Rome, see two pages from Stevens suggested
by the New York Lottery numbers from today, St. Peter's Day.

The pages mention "Rome after dark" and a "disused ambit
of the soul." Those who prefer a "more severe, more
harassing master" may consult the date 8/6/79 suggested by
the New York Lottery this afternoon and, from that date,
Freeman Dyson's memoir in The New Yorker .

This evening's four-digit number, 0006, may, if one likes,
be regarded as an "artist's signature" of sorts.

The New Yorker  on Dyson—

"He recalls that at age 8 he read 'The Magic City,'
 by Edith Nesbit. It is the story of a crazy universe.
 He now sees that this universe bears a strong
 resemblance to the one we live in."

Friday, May 20, 2011

Lottery Hermeneutics (continued)

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

Recent New York Lottery numbers—


The interpretation of "056" in yesterday's
The Aleph, the Lottery, and the Eightfold Way
was not without interest, but the interpretation there
of "236" was somewhat lacking in poetic resonance.

For aspiring students of lottery hermeneutics,
here are some notes that may help. The "236" may
be reinterpreted as a page number in Stevens's
Collected Poems . It then resonates rather nicely
("answers when I ask," "visible and responsive")
with yesterday evening's "434"—


For today's midday "022," see Hexagram 22: Grace in the context of the following—


As for yesterday afternoon's 609, see a particular Stevens-related page with that number…

IMAGE- Review of 'The Dome and the Rock'

For "a body of thought or poetry larger than the subject's," see The Dome of  the Rock.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday January 29, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:23 AM
Dagger Definitions

From 'Ulysses,' 1922 first edition, page 178-- 'dagger definitions'
Midrash by a post-bac:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

“Horseness is
the whatness of allhorse”:
Thingism vs. Thisness

By Amy Peterson

Jacques Derrida once asked the surly and self-revealing question, “Why is it the philosopher who is expected to be easier and not some scientist who is even more inaccessible?” As with philosophers generally, literary critics come with their own inaccessible argot, some terms of which are useful, but most of which are not and only add more loops to literary criticism’s spiraling abstraction. Take for example, James Wood’s neologism thisness (h/t: 3 Quarks Daily):

The project of modernity in Wood’s eyes is largely in revealing the contour and shape, the specific ‘feel’ of that essential mystery. He even borrows a concept from the medieval philosopher Duns Scotus, haecceitas or ‘thisness,’ to explain what he means: ‘By thisness, I mean any detail that draws abstraction toward itself and seems to kill that abstraction with a puff of palpability, any detail that centers our attention with its concretion.’ (my emphasis)

Wood is clearly taking his cue here from the new trend in literary criticism of referring to realism by its etymological meaning, thingism. Where thingism is meant to capture the materialism of late nineteenth and early 20th century Realist literature, thisness, it seems, is meant to capture the basic immaterialism of Modern realist literature. In this, it succeeds. Realism is no longer grounded in the thingism, or material aspect, of reality as it was during the Victorian era. In contemporary literature, it is a “puff of palpability” that hints at reality’s contours but does not disturb our essential understanding of existence as an impalpable mystery. So now we have this term that seems to encompass the Modern approach to reality, but is it useful as an accurate conception of reality (i.e. truth, human existence, and the like), and how are we to judge its accuracy?

I think that, as far as literature is concerned, the test of the term’s accuracy lies in the interpretation of the Modernist texts that Wood champions as truthful but largely abstract depictions of human experience:

‘Kafka’s ‘”Metamorphosis” and Hamsun’s “Hunger” and Beckett’s “Endgame” are not representations of likely or typical human activity but are nevertheless harrowingly truthful texts.’

For brevity’s sake, I’ll pick a passage from a different Modernist text that I think exemplifies the issues involved in the question of thingism and thisness’ reality. In James Joyce’s Ulysses, a pub discussionhttp://www.log24.com/images/asterisk8.gif of art’s purpose arises in which the writer Geoffrey Russell asserts that “Art has to reveal to us ideas, formless spiritual essences”; in his thoughts, Stephen Dedalus prepares to counter this:

Unsheathe your dagger definitions. Horseness is the whatness of allhorse. Streams of tendency and eons they worship. God: noise in the street: very peripatetic. Space: what you damn well have to see. Through spaces smaller than red globules of man’s blood they creepy crawl after [William] Blake’s buttocks into eternity of which this vegetable world is but a shadow. Hold to the now, the here, through which all future plunges to the past.

To give my best translation of Stephen-think: The physical being of the horse (“horseness”) grounds the over-arching, abstract idea of the horse (“allhorse”) in reality (“whatness”). God—the ultimate abstraction—is elusive and rarely manifests himself as a material reality (when listening to children playing earlier in the book, Stephen asserts that God is a “shout in the street”). Space—the material world—must be observed to make sense of abstract ideas (like God). Stephen’s opponents who believe that art must depict the abstract and the essential make claims about existence that have very little basis in material reality so that they can grasp at the divine through the work of such famously fantastic artists as William Blake, whose unrealistic poetry and paintings Stephen evidently holds in little esteem here, though he’s kinder to Blake elsewhere. Finally, the present makes concrete the abstract possibilities of the future by turning them into the realities of the past.

Ulysses elucidates the distinction between abstractly based and materially based realism because, while abstract to be sure, Joyce’s writing is deeply rooted in material existence, and it is this material existence which has given it its lasting meaning and influence. The larger point that I’m trying to make here is that material reality gives meaning to the abstract. (As a corollary, the abstract helps us to make sense of material reality.) There can be no truth without meaning, and there can be no meaning without a material form of existence against which to judge abstract ideas. To argue, as Wood does, that the abstract can produce concrete truths with little reference to material reality is to ignore the mutual nature of the relationship between material reality and truth. The more carefully we observe material reality, the more truth we gain from our abstractions of its phenomena, or, to state it in the vocabulary—though not the style—of literary criticism: thisness is a diluted form of thingism, which means that thisness is productive of fewer (and lesser) truths.

http://www.log24.com/images/asterisk8.gif “Space: what you
  damn well
     have to see.”

Amy Peterson
has failed to see
that the unsheathing
of dagger definitions
takes place not in
a pub, but in
The National Library
of Ireland

The Russell here is not
Geoffrey but rather
George William Russell,
also known as AE.

Related material:

Yesterday’s Log24 entry
for the Feast of
St. Thomas Aquinas,
Actual Being,”
and the four entries
that preceded it.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday November 29, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 1:06 PM
The Messier Brand

Virginia Heffernan on the film version of A Wrinkle in Time:

"… the film is also sad, and soaring. It recalls the hippie days when a perverse, hubristic originality was a quality to be cultivated, not medicated. Told not from an aloof remove– through the eyes of a wise Yoda or Peter Jackson– the movie glitters irregularly, woven through with the sparkling fibers of a righteous child's tormented imagination. Steven Spielberg also attempted, with the same ambiguous but moving results, this messier brand of science fiction in 'A.I.'"

Log24 on
 Jan. 21, 2007:


California Dreamin', Part II

Spielberg, A.I., and Robot Wisdom

Related material:

An entry of
Dec. 29, 2006,
and entries of
Jan. 20, 2007.

See also today's
 previous entries.

Happy birthday,
Denny Doherty.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sunday January 21, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:22 AM
Spielberg, A.I., and Robot Wisdom

Related material:

An entry of
Dec. 29, 2006,
and entries of
Jan. 20, 2007.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Sunday December 31, 2006

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 9:00 AM
Aesthetics of Evil
vs. Christ Church

“… the closing number
for Spielberg’s tribute
and the gala itself…
[is] the finale to
the opera ‘Candide,’
  ‘Make Our Garden Grow.'”

Press release from CBS
on this year’s
Kennedy Center Honors

Wallace Stevens,
Esthétique du Mal, XI”
“We are not
At the centre of a diamond.”

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06B/061231-DC.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The map shows the original
(pre-1846) diamond shape
of the District of Columbia.

For the relevance of the
closing number of “Candide”
to diamonds, see
the previous entry.

For the relevance of the
closing number of the
12/3/06 DC lottery, see
Theme and Variations.

For the relevance of the
earlier mid-day number,
see the conclusion of
Esthétique du Mal” —

“And out of what one sees
   and hears and out
Of what one feels, who could
   have thought to make
So many selves, so many
   sensuous worlds,
As if the air, the mid-day air,
   was swarming
With the metaphysical changes
   that occur,
Merely in living
   as and where we live.”

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06B/061203-DCday.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

A search on the mid-day number
in the context of metaphysics
yields the following:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06B/061231-Herm536.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Related material:

“In ‘Esthétique du Mal,’ one of his later poems, Wallace Stevens considers existence from a variety of critical and philosophical perspectives, among them various moral, aesthetic, political, theological, and philosophic ‘epistemes’ that condition how humanity perceives and experiences the world. These epistemological ‘modes’ dictate how we live and perceive the world about us, providing preconceptions that shroud understanding and obfuscate ontological explanation. What Stevens accomplishes in ‘Esthétique du Mal‘ is to create a dialogue with various historical and philosophical ‘schools,’ systematically confronting and rejecting their perspectives, and creating a movement toward Martin Heidegger’s ‘aletheia’ to uncover the ontological substructure that exists beneath the individual’s experience in the world. This movement of ‘uncovering’ and exposing the nature of what it means ‘to be in the world’ is a journey to an ontological substructure that allows Stevens to arrive at a dynamic, ontological proof: that existence is full of ‘reverberating’ possibilities, not solitary and ‘univocal’ statements.”

Conversations with the Dead:
The Ontological Substructure of
Wallace Stevens’s “Esthétique du Mal

a 1999 Master’s thesis

For further remarks on
ontological substructure,
see A First Class Degree
(on a notable graduate of
Christ Church, Oxford).

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