Thursday, September 22, 2011

Product Placement

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

And the Irving Thalberg Award goes to…


Robert De Niro as Irving Thalberg in "The Last Tycoon"

Text and Context—



Jerky Treats  for dogs



"Mad Dog and Glory" (March 5, 1993)


"Point of No Return" (March 19, 1993) —
Note Jerky Treats  in background.

A possible acceptance speech for the Thalberg Award—

"Let me put you in this unit." — John Calley, via Buck Henry

Sicilian Reflections

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 3:33 PM


Related material—


See also yesterday's Symmetric Generation.

New Day Nina

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 1:06 AM

In memoriam


Bridget Fonda in "Point of No Return."  This is a 1993 remake of 1990's "La Femme Nikita ,"
virtually the same scene-by-scene, but with two nice new touches: the young assassin's code name
is Nina, after Nina Simone, and she happily shops as Simone sings "new day" in the soundtrack.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday September 22, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 7:20 PM
Gates of Hell

(continued from the birthday
this year of Pope Benedict XVI)

"'I took a course in modern poetry when I was back at the university,' he began. 'We read six authors– Yeats, Pound, Eliot, Crane, Stevens, and Gallinger– and on the last day of the semester, when the prof was feeling a little rhetorical, he said, "These six names are written on the century, and all the gates of criticism and Hell shall not prevail against them.''"

— "A Rose for Ecclesiastes,"
a 1963 story by Roger Zelazny

The last poet of the six is fictional.
The name "Zelazny" might be
subsituted for "Gallinger."
It won't happen, but
I wouldn't mind if it did.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Saturday September 22, 2007

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:23 AM

"It was only in retrospect
that the silliness
became profound."
— Review of  
Faust in Copenhagen

Saturday September 22, 2007

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:22 AM
The Magic of Numbers

"Emphasis will be placed on discovery through conjecture and experimentation."

Elena Mantovan, pre-2007 undated Harvard syllabus for Quantitative Reasoning 28, "The Magic of Numbers"

"The lunatic, the lover, and the poet, said Shakespeare, are of imagination all compact. He forgot the mathematician…. Those who win through to the end of The Magic of Numbers will be for the rest of their lives in touch with the accessible mystery of things."

Review, Harvard Magazine, Jan/Feb 2004

"Lear becomes almost lyrical. 'When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down/ And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh/ At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues/ Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too/ Who loses and who wins; who's in, who's out– And take upon's the mystery of things/ As if we were God's spies.' That is a remarkable, haunting passage."

— Father James V. Schall, Society of Jesus, Georgetown Hoya, undated column (perhaps, the URL indicates, from All Hallows' Eve, 2006)

Related material:
The Crimson Passion,
Beauty Bare,
Gross To Step Down.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Friday September 22, 2006

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 7:00 AM
Shining Forth continued:

The Grace of Accuracy

In this morning's New York Times:

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The Times describes yesterday's
memorial to Cy Feuer,
producer, notably, of the 1972
film version of "Cabaret"–

"Joel Grey sang 'Willkommen….'"

Related material:

a Log24 entry
from October 29, 2002–


Our Judeo-Christian Heritage:

Two Sides of the Same Coin


On this date in 1897,
Goebbels was born.
Related reading:

The Calvin College
Propaganda Archive

Prince Ombra.


Joseph Goebbels

  — and Echoes
(August 11, 2006).

The New York Times on Sven Nykvist,
a cinematographer who died on Wednesday:

"In his films, especially those with Mr. Bergman, light assumed a metaphysical dimension that went beyond mood. It distilled and deepened the feelings of torment and spiritual separation that afflicted Bergman characters." –Stephen Holden

"Pray for the grace of accuracy
Vermeer gave to the sun's illumination…."

— "Epilogue," by Robert Lowell,
in Day by Day, 1977

For further remarks on light,
see Shining Forth as well as
Tombstone (from May 17,
the date of Feuer's death).

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Thursday September 22, 2005

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 11:01 PM
For Serge Lang

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/050922-Lang1.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

"Get the aggressively mediocre Yale Daily News obituary here ('he is remembered for his significant academic contributions'?? give me a break…)" — Tom

So far, the Yale Daily News obit is the only one showing up on a Google News search.  Probably the New York Times will get around to Lang eventually.  In the meantime, here's what an online newspaper and some blogs have to say.

The New Haven Independent

Obituary for Serge Lang

Weblog Entries on
Serge Lang's Death

Peter Woit's weblog

New AIDS Review


Weapon of Class Instruction


Abiola Lapite

Moebius Stripper

Simon's Rock College's Journal

Update of Sept. 24, 2004, 9:25 PM:
The New York Times now has an obituary.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Wednesday September 22, 2004

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:38 PM


In memory of Russ Meyer, who "made industrial films for Standard Oil and lumber companies before making his own films," a picture that might aptly (see Pi continued) be titled

The Magic Schmuck:

Aluminum puzzle by Niek Neuwahl.

By the same designer:

Game: Auf Teufel komm raus

Click on picture for details.

Object of game:
Connect the devils
with their tail ends


Click on logo for details.

Related material:
The Crimson Passion

Wednesday September 22, 2004

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 1:17 PM

Norman F. Cantor on Christianity:

"Christianity itself was a Jewish enterprise, and not simply because Jesus was a Jew; Cantor points out, in his characteristically flippant way, that 'the Church of Rome is officially dedicated to Peter and Paul– two good Jewish boys, Simon Rocky and Saul of Tarsus.'"

— Lawrence Grossman, review of The Sacred Chain: The History of the Jews, by Norman F. Cantor

See also a Palm Sunday, 2003, entry on

Peter, Paul, and Murray.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Monday September 22, 2003

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:23 AM

What Is Poetry?

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Sunday September 22, 2002

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 8:02 PM

Force Field of Dreams

Metaphysics and chess in today’s New York Times Magazine:

  • From “Must-See Metaphysics,” by Emily Nussbaum:

    Joss Whedon, creator of a new TV series —

    “I’m a very hard-line, angry atheist” and
    “I want to invade people’s dreams.”

  • From “Check This,” by Wm. Ferguson:

    Garry Kasparov on chess —

    “When the computer sees forced lines,
    it plays like God.”

Putting these quotations together, one is tempted to imagine God having a little game of chess with Whedon, along the lines suggested by C. S. Lewis:

As Lewis tells it the time had come for his “Adversary [as he was wont to speak of the God he had so earnestly sought to avoid] to make His final moves.” (C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy, Harcourt, Brace, and World, Inc., 1955, p. 216) Lewis called them “moves” because his life seemed like a chess match in which his pieces were spread all over the board in the most disadvantageous positions. The board was set for a checkmate….

For those who would like to imagine such a game (God vs. Whedon), the following may be helpful.

George Steiner has observed that

The common bond between chess, music, and mathematics may, finally, be the absence of language.

This quotation is apparently from

Fields of Force:
Fischer and Spassky at Reykjavik
. by George Steiner, Viking hardcover, June 1974.

George Steiner as quoted in a review of his book Grammars of Creation:

“I put forward the intuition, provisional and qualified, that the ‘language-animal’ we have been since ancient Greece so designated us, is undergoing mutation.”

The phrase “language-animal” is telling.  A Google search reveals that it is by no means a common phrase, and that Steiner may have taken it from Heidegger.  From another review, by Roger Kimball:

In ”Grammars of Creation,” for example, he tells us that ”the classical and Judaic ideal of man as ‘language animal,’ as uniquely defined by the dignity of speech . . . came to an end in the antilanguage of the death camps.”

This use of the Holocaust not only gives the appearance of establishing one’s credentials as a person of great moral gravity; it also stymies criticism. Who wants to risk the charge of insensitivity by objecting that the Holocaust had nothing to do with the ”ideal of man as ‘language animal’ ”?

Steiner has about as clear an idea of the difference between “classical” and “Judaic” ideals of man as did Michael Dukakis. (See my notes of September 9, 2002.)

Clearly what music, mathematics, and chess have in common is that they are activities based on pure form, not on language. Steiner is correct to that extent. The Greeks had, of course, an extremely strong sense of form, and, indeed, the foremost philosopher of the West, Plato, based his teachings on the notion of Forms. Jews, on the other hand, have based their culture mainly on stories… that is, on language rather than on form. The phrase “language-animal” sounds much more Jewish than Greek. Steiner is himself rather adept at the manipulation of language (and of people by means of language), but, while admiring form-based disciplines, is not particularly adept at them.

I would argue that developing a strong sense of form — of the sort required to, as Lewis would have it, play chess with God — does not require any “mutation,” but merely learning two very powerful non-Jewish approaches to thought and life: the Forms of Plato and the “archetypes” of Jung as exemplified by the 64 hexagrams of the 3,000-year-old Chinese classic, the I Ching.

For a picture of how these 64 Forms, or Hexagrams, might function as a chessboard,

click here.

Other relevant links:

“As you read, watch for patterns. Pay special attention to imagery that is geometric…”


from Shakhmatnaia goriachka

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