Friday, October 8, 2010

Starting Out in the Evening

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

… and Finishing Up at Noon

This post was suggested by last evening’s post on mathematics and narrative
and by Michiko Kakutani on Vargas Llosa in this morning’s New York Times.


Above: Frank Langella in
Starting Out in the Evening

Right: Johnny Depp in
The Ninth Gate


“One must proceed cautiously, for this road— of truth and falsehood in the realm of fiction— is riddled with traps and any enticing oasis is usually a mirage.”

— “Is Fiction the Art of Lying?”* by Mario Vargas Llosa, New York Times  essay of October 7, 1984

My own adventures in that realm— as reader, not author— may illustrate Llosa’s remark.

A nearby stack of paperbacks I haven’t touched for some months (in order from bottom to top)—

  1. Pale Rider by Alan Dean Foster
  2. Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
  3. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
  4. Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry
  5. Literary Reflections by James A. Michener
  6. The Ninth Configuration by William Peter Blatty
  7. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
  8. Nine Stories by J. D. Salinger
  9. A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
  10. The Tempest by William Shakespeare
  11. Being There by Jerzy Kosinski
  12. What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson
  13. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
  14. A Gathering of Spies by John Altman
  15. Selected Poems by Robinson Jeffers
  16. Hook— Tinkerbell’s Challenge by Tristar Pictures
  17. Rising Sun by Michael Crichton
  18. Changewar by Fritz Leiber
  19. The Painted Word by Tom Wolfe
  20. The Hustler by Walter Tevis
  21. The Natural by Bernard Malamud
  22. Truly Tasteless Jokes by Blanche Knott
  23. The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton
  24. Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry

What moral Vargas Llosa might draw from the above stack I do not know.

Generally, I prefer the sorts of books in a different nearby stack. See Sisteen, from May 25. That post the fanciful reader may view as related to number 16 in the above list. The reader may also relate numbers 24 and 22 above (an odd couple) to By Chance, from Thursday, July 22.

* The Web version’s title has a misprint— “living” instead of “lying.”

Tuesday, February 3, 2004

Tuesday February 3, 2004

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 7:11 PM

Retiring Faculty

The following is related to
today's previous four log24 entries.

From my paper journal, a Xeroxed note, composed entirely of cut copies
of various documents,
from July 11, 1990….


Harvard Alumni Gazette June 1990

Retiring Faculty Continue their Love of Learning, Creativity

Thought for today: "He who tells the truth must have one foot in the stirrup." — Armenian Proverb

Preserve me from the enemy
     who has something to gain: and
     from the friend who has something to lose.
Remembering the words of
     Nehemiah the Prophet:
"The trowel in hand, and the gun
     rather loose in the holster."

— T. S. Eliot, Choruses from the Rock — 1934

Pattern in Islamic Art is the most thorough study yet published of the structure of the art.

Oleg Grabar, Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Art, will join the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, where he will devote himself to pure research.  He has three books planned — which he estimates will take him about four years to finish — including books on the theory of ornament, and studies of early medieval Jerusalem and Islamic Sicily.  "I'm also planning to brush up on my Persian, which I had kind of forgotten," he said.

Clint Eastwood is the nameless stranger who mysteriously appears in the Warner Brothers film 'Pale Rider.'

Closing the cylinder, he holstered the gun, pivoted, and strode across the now silent street toward his horse.
   An ashen-faced Lahood stared out the second-story window, following the tall man's movements.  In his right hand he held a long-barreled blue-black derringer.  He raised the muzzle purposefully.
   The Preacher put a foot in the stirrup and hesitated.  Turning, he lifted his eyes to a particular window.  The curtains behind it moved slightly.  The report of the single shot was muffled by distance and glass.  From his position the Preacher could not hear the thump of the body as it struck the thick Persian rug.  He did not have to hear it.
   Lahood had begun this day's work, and Lahood had finished it.

Sources: Harvard Alumni Gazette, local newspaper, a volume of the poems of T. S. Eliot, David Wade's Pattern in Islamic Art, and a paperback novelization of Pale Rider

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