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Monday, March 31, 2014


I am off to my mother's for another two days of fun, no internet, talk about ice in the lake. Maybe some Fox news.

Nobel Prize In Religion?

 Dr. Marshall and Dr. Warren, The Researchers into Heliobacter Pylori

New York Times:
Published: July 31, 1984
TWO Australian researchers have discovered what seems to be a new spiral-shaped bacterium living in the human stomach. The finding of one more microorganism among the thousands known might have been no more than a curiosity if the Australian bacterium were not now being tentatively linked to some of the most painful ailments known: gastritis, peptic ulcers in the stomach and duodenum, and perhaps other problems as well. Several million Americans have these ailments whose origins are often unknown.

The story of how the finding was made and how the research is being conducted on several continents has much to say about how science really works, not so much as a matter of breakthroughs but rather in fits and starts, with optimism, pessimism and rivalries that sometimes impede potentially important advances. Thus, while there is a great deal of skepticism about the importance of this finding, there is a great deal of excitement, too, as the potential implications begin to emerge...
I remember. Most doctors and people could not believe that ulcers were caused by bacteria - heliobacter pylori - and could be cured by antibiotics. This is an early (1984) article in the New York Times, and it reflects the scepticism and surprise still present.

Also surprisingly, there are numerous revolutions in religion, even though religions often seem like monoliths and mammoths that move slowly - if at all!

Each individual story of pain, suffering, fear, and bondage is potentially a story of redemption and freedom.
Each one of us who has walked the long miles searching for spirit may become one of the religious geniuses in the flash of an eye; when the walker reaches their goal; when the prodigal returns and the feast is laid out.

The Structure Of Religious Revolutions plays out in each of us before it finds a public venue.

Religion is filled with research, development, and revolutions in knowledge and understanding.

So why do we pretend it is dogmatic?

Why do we abandon our research and leave it to the priests, monks, and imams?


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Oh, Death

Oh, Death,
Oh, Death,
Won't you spare me over til another year?
Ralph Stanley

Death is illogical. It is a vast inconsistency upon the logic of Creation.

Just as mankind turns to Science to reach beyond its limits and boundaries in the material world, so does mankind reach to life after death and the resurrection to reach beyond the crippling contradiction of Death.
Religion is the manifestation and the intuition and recognition of the power of the Holy.

The Holy is that life and logic which has no death-inconsistency.


The Florida Pop-Tart Law

 Dennis Baxley, Republican-Florida

Tampa Bay Times:
TALLAHASSEE — A pair of high-profile, NRA-supported gun bills won the support of the Florida House on Thursday.
One proposal seeks to extend "stand your ground" immunity to people who fire a warning shot or threaten to use other deadly force in cases of self-defense.
The second bill would prevent children from facing severe punishments for playing with simulated weapons in schools. It specifically permits the use of pastries as pretend pistols.

The so-called Pop-Tart bill (HB 7029) passed by a 98-17 vote. Only Democrats voted against it.
Rep. Dennis Baxley, the Ocala Republican sponsoring the bill, said the measure would bring "common sense" back to zero-tolerance discipline policies in school.

When the Republicans take over, we shall view the amusements of destruction again.
I'm looking forward to it.

Slower Than Noah's Pudding

 It's Been A Minute That Crow Go

The film Noah has received a good deal of attention. Whether this publicity be good or bad, only time will tell. There is an old Arab saying "slower than Noah's crow". I am sure Paramount wishes the revenues do not dribble in at a similar speed.

For example, we read in Mother Jones:

Glenn Beck hates Noah because why wouldn't he? Beck (of course) lashed out at the movie: "If you're looking for a biblical movie, this definitely is not it," the right-wing commentator declared, having screened the film with Paramount executives. "I don't think it's an environmental thing as much as it's just so pro-animal and anti-human, and I mean strongly anti-human."
It would be obvious that the film must at least be pro-Noah and his family. They do survive and form the early Noahic covenant with God.

If I remember properly, the rest of humankind was depraved and corrupt, which is why they were drowned in a deluge.

Even Mr. Beck would have trouble trying to make that bunch sympathethic.

 Christians on Fox News are upset that the word "god" isn't uttered in the film. "That's like writing an American history book without mentioning George Washington," says Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt. However, the word "creator" (which means, you know, god) is used many times in the picture, thus invalidating the Fox segment's point, and yet they carry on...
I don't think "God" is a proper name, actually. It is the word "god" from the days of polytheism with a capital G to show monotheism. That's about all there is to that.
And I am not clear whether they want to hear "Adonai" or the true name of the Holy, which is not supposed to be uttered anyway.

Conservative Islam objects to depictions of the prophets, and Noah is indeed a prophet. This was not a secret, and I would think everyone involved is not surprised.

There is some stuff about Nephilim, a type of fallen angel. Nick Nolte is one of these. If you have a belief system that is stuffed with necessities like a carry-on bag, those Nephilim are probably in a pocket somewhere, and this is a big deal for you.

At this point, I have decided to be truly heretical and offend orthodoxies of all Abrahamic religions and utter the true recipe for...

Noah's Pudding!     Aşure (in Turkish)

2 cups instant barley, it will be much more when cooked
1 cup canned white Northern beans, washed and drained
1 cup canned chickpeas, washed and drained
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
10 cups water
10 dry apricots, soaked in water overnight, cut in pieces
10 dry figs, cut in pieces
1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup walnuts, crumbled, slivered almonds, currants, pine nuts, pomegranate seeds

Cook barley according to directions on package. (If using non-instant barley, get it to boil on high heat. Then as soon as it boils, turn it down to medium-low heat and cook for about half an hour.) Set aside 1-2 cups of cooked barley and put into a food processor or blender. To the barley in the pot add the beans, chickpeas, vanilla, apricots, raisins, figs, sugar and 6 cups of hot water. Simmer for about 45 minutes on medium to medium-low heat. Stir occasionally. Process 1-2 cups cooked barley that you set aside in a food processor or blender, mixing water if needed to make it pudding-ish. Add this to the pot to thicken it. Cook a couple more minutes, then pour into a large service bowl and let cool.

Keep Noah's Pudding refrigerated. When serving, garnish with crumbled walnuts, roasted slivered almonds, currants, pine nuts and pomegranate seeds. The garnish is the best part, and you might think of different ones.
(recipe and photo)

Be careful and judicious. Indiana Jones was almost killed for this arcane recipe!
It is currently on display in the kitchen of the British Museum, although the Turkish PM, "Yip" Erdogan, has been negotiating for its return to Istanbul.


The Axis Of Internet Social Media Blocking

Mother Jones

Countries which impose restrictions upon social media as outlined in Mother Jones seem to form an axis, sort of. The most recent was Turkey, where " Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip  ( "Yip" ) Erdogan says that social networks are facilitating the spread of wiretapped recordings that have been politically damaging..."

Axel FoleyNorth Korea is distinguished by being yet a member of another axis.It makes you think of an award show for axis participation. The award could be called an "Axel". The family Kim must have a whole trophy room of Axels by now.

I do not do social media, so it is a point to be mooted (debated) in some moot (used for debating) Moot (assembly for debate and legislation).


The Macaroni Of Certain Christian Fundamentalist Belief Systems

Macaroni Hall Of Fame 

In the neighborhood of the Old Eighteenth - or the 18th century to you blokes -the term "macaroni" in England  was applied to dandies who affected mannerisms and customs of a Continental European - and, hence, outlandish - nature.
It also came to mean a muddle or mosh-mish of such affected poses and voguing.
(It also means  "composed of or characterized by Latin words mixed with vernacular words or non-Latin words given Latin endings" , which is why I know the word so well, because my favorite Christmas song is In Dulce Jubilo... nun singet und seid froh !  a mixture of Latin and German.)

There is a new edition of the TV show Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson, and it happens that its scientific description of comets disrupts the macaronic belief systems of Christian fundamentalists of the present day USA.

Yes, "Cosmos" Fans, Creationists Also Deny the Science of Comets
Last night on "Cosmos," Neil deGrasse Tyson explained how comets work, and why they're not bad omens. They are for creationists, though.

—By Chris Mooney
| Mon Mar. 24, 2014 11:04 AM PDT
...if you visit the website of creationist Ken Ham's Answers in Genesis and search for "Oort Cloud," you will find multiple articles providing a creationist take on the origins and nature of comets. In one of them you will find the assertion that there is "zero observational evidence that the Oort cloud exists," followed later by this observation: "but if the solar system is only thousands of years old, as God's Word clearly teaches, there is no problem." In another article, you get this:
Actually the Oort cloud, like Peter Pan's Neverland, has never been observed. The Oort cloud was imagined to provide a birthplace for new comets, since comets like ISON could not exist in a billions-of-years-old universe without some renewable source. The Oort cloud is thus a convenient fiction, but a fiction nonetheless.
Is the fault in me, or is it in these creationists?
I mean, their meanings elude me. They do not task me, rather it is their ungraspable, greased-pig slipperiness that befuddles me.

Why say "convenient fiction"?
When you are speaking of things that truly interest me, two large ones of which are Science and Religion, why would you speak unclearly to me?

"Fiction" seems to be intended to mean "something which bears no basis in reality", such as Thomas the Tank Engine, and "convenient" seems to be intended to mean "easily available". Thus, the Ooort Cloud is an easily available set of statements with no basis in reality.

In the good old days, people would just say "a lie", or "an untruth", but that has fallen out of fashion, since that intemperate and ignorant attitude betrays too readily the intemperance and ignorance of the speaker.

"Fiction" comes from Latin. The verb is "facere", meaning to make or to fashion.
The passive tense of "facere" is "fieri", meaning to be made or to be fashioned, and its third person singular subjunctive is "fiat", which verb Jerome uses in the Vulgate Bible for "Fiat lux," or "let there be light" as it is usually translated, although "let light be fashioned," might be just as good, if not better.

"Convenient" comes from "convenire", meaning "to come together".
Its early meanings were "fitting", "appropriate", and "internally consistent".
Thus, we see a statement explaining a phenomenon may indeed be convenient in the sense that all its parts are internally consistent, and this is a rather big plus, and not a subtraction, as the anti-Oort cloud activists would have us believe.

This is why I find such quotes as that above so difficult to come to grips with; the people who say or write such things cannot be as dumb as they make themselves out to be.
Indeed, if my grandchildren see a news program and are upset by the chaos in the world, is it not a "convenient fiction" for me to say to the children of the world that God's in His heaven, and all is right in the world, when I know full well that the children of Syria are starving and contracting polio? When the children of the Congo are soldiering? When the children of many places in the USA are hungry and malnourished?
But the convenient fiction is a mask we wear to allay their fears.

How can the science of the Oort Cloud be in the same category of statements as a tale told to calm the fears of children?
To maintain they are is bold and brazen stupidity, therefore, the people who said the quote above cannot be saying what I think they are saying. So what, what, what are they saying? I just do not know.

But I know this: their belief system is a Macaroni of snips and scraps of holy books and attitudes and sermons all scrapbooked together in a appalling collage.

If holy books are inspired, you must accept them in their entirety. If the creation in Genesis is part of your belief system, so also must be the dietary laws that follow in Deuteronomy and Leviticus.

You cannot just stick a feather of creationism in your hat and call it Macaroni !


Saturday, March 29, 2014

My Favorite

My favorite poem.
I tear up a little when I read it.

(I have used the Anglo-Saxon word trūw in the last stanza in order to try and capture the many meanings of "true", which range from "not logically false" to "firm and steadfast" to "aligning tires to run in a straight line". It should be pronounced as the modern "true", however.
The "Georgia" referred to is the Caucasian State of Georgia.)

when did you get home?
and did the ocean roar?

did you see your pals again
at the Georgian shore?

did you look into a store,
did you hold your child high?

and why was he a kid again,
and why was I a sigh?

i have already been there...
i shall not go again.
go and find your future
and sometimes i will send

an email of Christmas time,
Easter email too,
picnics, woods, and running twain
for we shall ne'er be trūw...


A New Chair Is Endowed

I have just instituted a new study area and represented as so by a label:  LGBT Studies
I appointed myself as the first professor to the Turing Chair at Montag U.

What brought this about was an old proposition about dear Professor Dumbledore of Hogwarts:

Resolved:  Whether Dumbledore be gay, or no.

"Night and Silence, who is there?
Weeds of gay pride doth he wear."  

" 'sfaith! 'tis old Dumbledore! "

(quote from my book Le Shakespeare Imaginaire)

I am appalled at this nonsensical 1984 Stalinist attempt to rewrite history and tell us that Dumbledore is gay. We did not know it before; the author did not know it before...perhaps she hid the fact until she had amassed limitless wealth, then sprung...what?...the sorry truth...the love that dare not speak its name?... I mean, how can it be part of the story when it is dumped on us like a deus ex machina that has no particular part to play in the story...the deus just stands there on the stage and looks ill at ease, waiting for a player or two to toss it a line.  
(I was about to write "waiting for one of the protagonists to throw it a line" but I got into an internal debate of Fowler versus the OED...and Fowler triumphed! Absolutely wizard debate.)

The author should have said that Dumbledore is not gay. Then we could have said, ahah! we thought so! Surely no sane gay person could have decorated Hogwarts, the school being more Huysmanian than gay.  

( In re Huysman, Huysmanian trumps gay every time; that is, the concept "gay" is rather tepid next to the real deal and sort of squinches down like a feline that knows it has met its match...and vanishes.)


Whose Death Is It Anyway?

Samuel Beckett - Waiting For Godot

From the New Oxonian:

...Now think of Waiting for Godot, Ionesco’s Rhinoceros, Kafka’s Metamorphosis, the absurd and existentially restless genres of the twentieth century. On the one hand, the drama and music of the period tolled in the death of God and certainty, illustrated by atonality and abandonment of form and the unities of classical aesthetics. On the other hand, we already see this art as periodically limited to the discovery of psychology and the aftermath of nuclear confusion.

In fifty years it will be unreadable except by literary professionals interested in last-century movements. If it means anything in the twenty first century, it underscores David Hart’s comment, “The world is dying of metaphysical boredom.” Atheism is hard pressed to be a solution to that situation, at any level...
I am very much impressed at how the Death of God follows so closely upon the heels of the magnificently grotesque holocausts of the Death of Mankind:  the Sho'a, The World Wars, the slaughters of politics and ideology.

I think there is a connection.


The Great Beauty Of Aristotle And Aquinas 2

Jep Gambardella Above Rome

The Great Beauty Of Aristotle And Aquinas 1

I had previously compared Fellini to Aristotle, a great mind who had raised certain questions about life as we lived it in the 20th century. And I had compared Sorrentino to Aquinas, who had - in a sense - at a later date filled out the philosophy of his predecessor, and had made a great new philosophy of it.

For example, Fellini showed us the vacuous pleasure lives of La Dolce Vita, and bid us to watch and observe.

Sorrentino made us complicit with the shallow ones we watched: when Sister Maria comes into the story, we sit and judge her according to our lights. When she sits quietly with her mouth open, we at our kindest judge her to be a saintly fool.
Of course, we soon learn how wrong we are.

Fellini shows us freaks and buffoons, while Sorrentino bids us to act out our buffoonery and freakish nature in the darkling audience.

 Guido Anselmi Over Rome


你好... Good Morning!


My first words in the Chinese language to a real person this morning.
I had the tones correct, too.

I said it to a lady who exercises in the mornings. I was just leaving as she entered the exercise room. I had finished wiping down the treadmill I had run on.

"你好," I said.

She smiled, and I told her I had just started studying... which was a bit of an extension of the truth; I did study some written Chinese a long time ago, but had never spoken to anyone.

She said if I ever needed any help, just ask her.

" 谢 谢,"  I said, and bowed slightly.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sixteen Tons 2

 Illustration Of Isnad

So why was I interested in such a question as whether God can create a rock so massive that even God cannot lift it?

I wondered that myself.
It is a silly question that bedevils our riddle minds. It is a riddle, an old and ancient riddle, more than a serious philosophical question. I think it has more in common with a knock-knock joke than philosophy.

Everything in the riddle is dependent upon our concept of God. Further, it is dependent upon our mish-mosh of ideas jumbled together that we call The Holy.

Consider the riddle in this form:

1) Montag claims to have infinite powers, and he can do all things.
2) Given that, can Montag create a rock so massive that even Montag cannot lift it?

Notice that the riddling part is no longer part 2), the lifting of the massive rock, yea or nay. The part which confronts us with great feelings of oddness is part 1).
We would probably say Montag has gone over the edge, and is quite mad, and should be assisted straight away to the nearest dafter.

But in the original question, God is the subject of an incredibly large belief system on our parts, and there is little or nothing "systematic" about it.
It would be more correct to call it a Belief Landfill, or a Belief Hodge-Podge.
I read various commentors on this question on a forum recently, and the members of the Abrahamic religions are infamous for their capacity to write, comment, argue, and generally go to ungodly lengths in their erudition.

Jews write a Talmud, Christians write a Summa, and Islamic commentors write opinions which are isnad-ded to the opinions of ancient scholars.

I think the riddle is a good illustration of the wretched nature of "belief systems".

A Belief System should be systematic, as is Science.

I think it is fine to have a  belief system about morals and ethics, but when it comes to God, belief systems lead incessantly to paradoxes such as that above.

If God, then grasp virtue, and never look back... and certainly do not stop to chatter on about your belief system.

A belief system is nothing more than Tony Robbin's bed of hot coals.
When you look back later, you see there was not much to it.

isnad - a chain of transmission of hadith

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sixteen Tons?

 William of Ockham... no particular connection with the post

I was reading a discussion this morning about the old question whether God can make a rock so massive that even He cannot lift it, thereby negating His omnipotence.

This is a poser for people. I am not sure why.

The first part says that God can do anything. Since that is the case, He can do any amount of Work, and work = force x displacement in a straight line = Fd.

Therefore, God can exert a Force F1 which can displace any mass M1 upwards ("lift") a distance d.

Therefore, there is a Force F1.

The second part says that there is a rock of mass M1 that is so heavy that there is no force that can be exerted to lift it.

Therefore, there is no Force F1.

It really does not matter if God is in the question or not. It comes down to a contradiction: {there is a force F1} and {there is not a force F1}.

The concept of "God" is added merely to confuse us.

We usually compound God and notions of necessity, so we usually end up with:

It is Necessarily True that {there is a force F1}          since we associate God with Necessary Truth


It is Necessarily True that {there is no Force F1}         since we say it is

Now a mere contradiction should not make us lose a night's sleep, but this is different.

To me it is the same thing as being a logical matchmaker, and saying:

Proposition A is necessarily true.
Having said that, let's consider proposition Not-A and see how they get along.


Oh, Sixteen Tons refers to the song of the same name.... "You load sixteen tons, and what do ya get? A ticket to Beulah Land and no regret."


Some days it feels great to be alive, for not only do we feel good, we are aware of this goodness, and we may even have a hint as to why.

Today is such a day.

Last Monday I thought I had pulled a long adductor muscle in my leg. Today I ran 4 miles, ending at a pace of just over 5 miles per hour. Monday last I was running at 6 miles per hour, and had finished 1.75 miles when the problem came up.
It was the first time I ever had this problem, and it obviously was not a serious pull; just a minor strain.

Beyond that, my life is changing, and I feel as if I can see the tide, even though it is if through a dark glass. At least it is not change over which I feel powerless.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spring 1

Spring has the power to rejuvenate.

When the Polar Vortex swept in in early January, I woke in the middle of the night and ran hot water through the pipes, left the cold water in the tubs dripping, and took a flashlight downstairs to the front door.
I felt a pencil thin cold draft push against me, so I approached the door closely and saw small crystals of ice forming next to a small opening where the door handle meets the jamb.

There was a hoar frost on the edge of the door and the door handle. I got a hair dryer and towel and extension cord, melted the ice and wiped it dry, then ran weather tape over the openings.

I maintained awareness in the watches of the winter's nights.

I hibernated, I withdrew.
I still moved about, but I withdrew from most of the world. I went through motions, but my heart felt frozen.

Florida thawed me, but I went back into hibernation when we returned.
I did not read my friends' blogs. I grew supremely tired of reading news. I could not apply myself to poetry.
I could shovel snow.
That I did do.

It is spring now, and everything feels different, even though it is very cold today.



When I give recipes, I may or not give quantities, depending on the criticality of the issue at hand.

Last night, I made black beans for supper.

Cut up a quarter onion and a couple cloves of garlic, and heat in olive oil.

Take a passel of beans. We used the canned variety from Bush's.
Goya is a good brand, but the sodium is 9% higher. There will be other sources of sodium, so 19% compared to Bush's 10% is too high.

Drain and rinse the canned beans. Add to the onion and garlic.

Soon enough, add a bunch of cumin to taste and maybe a dash of turmeric and some pepper flakes.

After a spell, add some chopped olives.
We use Kroger's Low Sodium olives, mainly because the brine does not entirely overwhelm the taste of the olives, and it is nice to have the taste of olive.

Spoon into bowls, and top with Labne (Karoun brand... much thicker than Greek yogurt).

Put some Coriander Chutney (SWAD brand and available in any Indian grocery).

You can have quite a number of combinations with the above, maybe add parsley, cilantro, avocado.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Detroit Adventure (1)

Tour De Hood


Ice Jam Session

The Times Herald
Waiting for the ferry: State, area transit agencies still seek agreement
Mar. 21, 2014
HARSENS ISLAND — The owner of Champion’s Auto Ferry said a deal to hand over operations to a local transit agency isn’t dead — it’s just dormant.“In a couple months, it’s my intention, if I can, to make new contact with MDOT,” said David Bryson, president of Champion’s Auto Ferry. “I’m busy right now. This is the ice jam season.” ...

"On, my," she exclaims, her breath smoking the windowpane, "it's ice jam season."... 
"I knew it before I got out of bed," she says, turning away from the window with a purposeful excitement in her eyes.


Michigan Gay-Marriage Ban

Federal Judge Strikes Down Michigan Gay-Marriage Ban
by Scott Neumann
March 21, 2014 5:28 PM

A federal judge has struck down Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage, making the state the latest to see such a prohibition overturned on constitutional grounds.

The Associated Press reports:
"[U.S. District] Judge Bernard Friedman ruled Friday, two weeks after a trial. Two Detroit-area nurses who've been partners for eight years claimed the ban violated their rights under the U.S. Constitution.

"It was not clear if gay marriages could begin immediately."
Kate Wells, of Michigan Public Radio, reports that Friedman said the ban had violated the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection Clause.
Wells reports:
"In his ruling, Friedman says the ban does not advance any legitimate state interest.

"Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette — who argued in favor of the amendment — says he has filed an emergency request for the ruling to be put on hold while the decision is appealed to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals."
In his decision, Friedman writes that the state ban doesn't survive even the "most deferential level of scrutiny" under the Equal Protection Clause.
It does not seem to me that the State of Michigan defended the law very well.

The Michigan Attorney General is a Republican, and it seems that even though he supports the law, the issues involved are beyond his ability to comprehend.

He had put forward a Sherif Girgis as an expert witness to argue for the ban, but the court rejected this person as not having had enough experience to be an expert yet, even though at some future date - when he had finished his schooling and been in the real world - he would undoubtedly be so.

This Mr. Girgis writes in the Murdochian Wall Street Journal:
...As we argue in our book "What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense," marriage is a uniquely comprehensive union. It involves a union of hearts and minds; but also—and distinctively—a bodily union made possible by sexual-reproductive complementarity. Hence marriage is inherently extended and enriched by procreation and family life and objectively calls for similarly all-encompassing commitment, permanent and exclusive...
I find this deficient.

Mr. Girgis plays an old game here in describing three types of union, of hearts, of minds, and of bodies, and uses what he calls "sexual-reproductive complementarity" to get very, very descriptive of two bodies joining together...
but he has no such imagery to deal with unions of hearts and minds.
However, he assumes that the bodily union is somehow reflected in the hearts and minds unions; i.e., there is a part of the male mind that "fits" into a corresponding part of the female mind...

... and there is a part of the male heart that "fits" into a corresponding part of the female heart.

Argument from Mammalian Body Parts.
Argumentum Ex Membris Virilibus An Muliebribus.
(I wonder if there is a similar argument for other parts of the body. I mean, what conclusions could one draw from breasts, for example? Do they work somehow to form a more perfect union?)

The "all-encompassing commitment" Mr. Girgis talks about was disappearing over a century ago. It is foolishness to look for it where it does not exist; i.e., in illustrations and descriptions from a Sex Ed 101 textbook.

Furthermore, the New Testament has an outright condemnation of divorce.
There is no divorce ban anymore in any state that I know of. Since this move away from marriage-for-life has been going on for over 100 years, that means it pre-dates same-sex marriage by a long time.

Therefore, if the institution of marriage is in decline, the mortal cause is not same-sex marriage.
If traditional values mean anything.....

But that's the problem! Traditional Values today mean absolutely nothing, neither to the liberal minded nor to the conservative minded. We are a world of dunces.



The notion of "complementarity" brings to mind Niels Bohr and Quantum Theory.
Mr. Girgis' notion of complementarity is not anything like Bohr's. As mentioned. Mr. Girgis is philosophizing somewhere in the area of "sword fits into its sheath", but that is not a very interesting complementarity.

To be frank, Mr. Girgis uses "complement" in the sense of  "If A is the complement of B, then A fills up B."
Bohr used "complement" more in the sense of "If A is the complement of B, both A and B serve to render a full and complete description of the real world."

I do agree that "male" and "female" are complementary in that we need both to understand the world, but that is most definitely not what Mr. Girgis says. He says we need them both to procreate.)


An Adventure In Art (56)

Game World

Stephen Magsig
Janet Hamrick
Postcards From Detroit


Friday, March 21, 2014


The way I understand it, an "Affordance" is a function of the relationship between an Environment and the Abilities of the Inhabitants of the Environment.

Simply, an environment affords me the possibility of doing certain things as far as my abilities allow.
For example, a room with a stairway presents the possibility of my climbing up to the second storey, assuming that my legs are functioning.

Similarly with Guns.

If a child takes a gun and shoots another younger child, it is a tragedy.

It is not properly the "fault" of Society, but certainly the social environment of the child afforded the chance to do it and set the probabilities high for disaster.
An environment which had more stringent controls would have less chance to afford or present the possibility of this type of disaster. However, many people in this country believe that more controls would afford the chance of the government taking away what rights we have left.

You decide how you want it, then you must accept the mortality statistics.

We do not approve of kids killing kids. But we do accept the environment which affords this opportunity.


An Adventure In Art (55)

Rolling Cornfields

Jennifer Woodburn
Jennifer Woodburn


An Adventure In Art (54)

Wik-Wak, Sun Over Manana

Rick Daskam
Rick Daskam - Connecticut and Monheghan Island, Maine


Blessed New Year

A Haftseen Table For Nowruz

The Persian New Year began yesterday, a 13 day festival.


Bereshit Bara Elohim Big Bang...

A Orthodox Jewish Scientist has stated that the most recent science into the Big Bang - the BICEP2 experiment - has verified the Genesis account of Creation.

Euro News
... The new results from BICEP2 at the South Pole are significant in several ways. First of all, we’ve now “detected” the gravitational waves; i.e., we’ve seen them put matter in motion.

Second of all, these gravitational waves that we’re seeing were emitted one trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. That’s pretty damn cool...

The Times Of Israel
New Big Bang evidence supports Biblical creation, says Orthodox physicist
That there was a creation event as described in Genesis is indisputably confirmed by this week’s Big Bang scientific breakthrough, an Israeli physicist who is also an Orthodox Jew claims. A secular Israeli professor, unsurprisingly, insists that the Bible and the Big Bang are “not related.”...

Unfortunately, there are other scenarios of the creation of the world by gods which this would support in the same manner it supports Genesis.

The creation is described as "creatio ex nihilo", creation from nothing, and not creatio ex Big Bang.

Sorry, true-blue believers. Look for signs and wonders elsewhere and elsewhen.


How Do You Solve A Problem Like Martin?

How do you solve a problem like Martin?
How do you catch a philosopher,  and pin him down?

The Week

...Arguably the most influential European philosopher of the 20th century (only Ludwig Wittgenstein rivals him for the title), Heidegger has long been known to have been a National Socialist. He joined the Nazi Party in 1933 and remained a member through 1945. He eagerly served in an administrative post as rector of Freiburg University after Hitler assumed power. He praised the "inner truth and greatness" of National Socialism during a lecture in 1935. Never once did he express a word of moral condemnation of the Nazis or the Holocaust. (He died in 1976.)
And now, a philosophical diary Heidegger kept through World War II has just been published, displaying blatant examples of anti-Semitism. Heidegger's defenders have always noted that the philosopher flatly rejected the explicitly racial theories promoted by the Nazis, and the so-called "black notebooks" apparently corroborate that. But they also contain passages denouncing "world Jewry," the distinctively Jewish "talent for calculation," and the "collusion of 'rootless' Jews in both international capitalism and communism." These sound like quotes lifted straight out of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
 and further along,
...Perhaps the most electrifying statement of this vision of philosophy can be found in a lecture course Heidegger taught in 1929-30:

Philosophy is the opposite of all comfort and assurance. It is turbulence, the turbulence into which man is spun, so as in this way alone to comprehend his existence without delusion. 

Precisely because the truth of this comprehension is something ultimate and extreme, it constantly remains in the perilous neighborhood of supreme uncertainty. 

No knower necessarily stands so close to the verge of error at every moment as the one who philosophizes. Whoever has not yet grasped this has never yet had any intimation of what philosophizing means.

That the man who delivered this bracing lecture would fall for the Nazis a mere four years later was not, as Arendt would have it, a sign of mere naïveté or foolishness. It was a complete betrayal of his own philosophical ideal and a flinching in the face of its strenuous demands. In place of relentless questioning and uncertainty, Heidegger bought into a comforting Teutonic fairy tale, put his faith in the most demonic false prophet in human history, and endorsed some of the vilest (and most ridiculous) conspiracy theories ever proposed.
But we can do better — in part by following Heidegger's example better than he followed it himself. Heidegger was right to insist on placing at the core of thinking the relentless questioning of every dogma — in religion, philosophy, science, economics, politics, morality, and countless other spheres of life. It would be a terrible shame if Heidegger's utter failure to live up to his own philosophical standards persuaded people to reject those standards altogether — or to reject him entirely as a guide to striving for them.
I am not sure how to take this.
The writer is quite sure that he, the writer, is on the side of the angels, but the very thing Heidiggerian which arrests his attention - standing so close to "supreme uncertainty" - makes me wonder how any person who thinks himself to be on the verge of error at every second can be so sure of themself.

It is a philosophical pose, not a truth. Most of our knowledge is attitude and posing.
I know of no one who lives up to strict and severe philosophical standards, much less Heideigger.
Seek God, not Martin.


Thursday, March 20, 2014


Les Revenants (The Returned)

I saw an episode of Resurrection last night.

I found that it did not engage me. That was surprising, since the French series Les Revenants (The Returned) which it seemingly was based on, did engage me.

I had heard an interview on NPR with one of the creatives behind Resurrection (the writer, I think), and they did not mention Les Revenants. Maybe it had no influence on them. Nevertheless, the French series imbued me with a desire to see more, and the American did not.

There is a basic formula for American shows about uncanny things that seems to dictate that everything must be done after the manner of a military force or a national police force - not a local police force, for they are used either as foils, either incompetent or possessing skills unknown to the national forces, such as the FBI.

So Omar Epps wants to keep the Feds out of things, because he knows that if they ken what is going on, they will be all over things, they will clamp a lid on it, they will expend every effort to contain it, the will devise ways to put an end to it...
The list goes on.

The French had a local police force, but most of the time the citizens did what they felt like doing, and the police were a background, like police should be, not always mugging right in front of the camera.
It seems as if we are always running from unknown dangers, or we are running from the government, or running from both, and any moments for love are few and far between and gratuitous when they do occur; fear, hatred, and violence have top billing.

The most poignant scenes in Les Revenants dealt with a teen girl who returned and found that the boy she had been enamored of was too shocked to return her love. Their relationship runs through the story, and it is surprisingly compelling.

What I like best so far about Resurrection is that Veronica Cartwright is to be in it. I loved her in Alien.



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Peak Physics

The Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) sits vacant in Waxahachie, Texas.

It had a capability of reaching energies of 40 TeV, or 40 trillion electron volts, versus the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) which has a maximum of 14 TeV.


An Adventure In Art (53)

Garden Party Quilt


Jane Brocket
Jane Brocket
...Garden Party Quilt. This is what happened to the squares of embroidered cotton I cut out of tablecloths and tray cloths and tea cosy covers. I kept to one size of square, chose all the best bits and my favourite details (a Welsh lady, some crinoline ladies, a Scottie dog, lots of herbaceous borders and richly coloured flowers) and put them all together to make a big garden party.
My grandmothers had a number of such cloths, and I wish we had done likewise with them.


Cost Of Deflation

 Ogre of Deflation

Read this Quick Take on Deflation in Bloomberg. It'll take 5 minutes or less.
Then ask yourself if one of the major contributors to Deflationary Pressure is Wage Stagnation for a quarter of a century.

The Trouble With Falling Prices

By Simon Kennedy | Published March 19, 2014


East Of Eden

I believe this is by Rachel K.


Kim Kardashian Finds Lost Airplane !

I believe it was a birthday gift for a niece or nephew.
Sources are few and the data sketchy at this time.


Greetings from Alvin Xiao: 记下日期

I think that may be correct for "Save the Date" in the sense we hereabouts use it for events and parties.

Anyway, She-who-must-be-obeyed and I received our  记下日期 , or Save The Date, card from Alvin Xiao ____.  (I leave the last name blanked out for his privacy.) He will be one year old in the summer, and there is a multi-cultural get-together.

His father, the brother of my goddaughter, was not able to have a large wedding in the USA, even though he did have one in China. He keeps referring to this future shindig as partly a postponed wedding party - USA style - that he never had.

I told my wife that if he was expecting another gift, he was sorely mistaken. Nor would I throw dollar bills at him and his wife as they danced.

One year birthday gifts, however, are another matter entirely, and must be weighed seriously.


Foxy News

I think my mother approves of Megan Kelly.
Well, I know she approves of some pretty blonde lady on FOX, whom I think is Megan (or Meghan or whatever) Kelly.

She likes her because
(1) she is blonde, just as my mother is,
(2) she is a healthy Causcasian specimen, and
(3) she has a pleasant speaking voice.

The voice is important. My mother almost did not vote for McCain because Sarah Palin was his running mate, and the Palin voice was fingernails on a blackboard, or the twisting of styrofoam cups, or the popping of bubble wrap upon my mother's fair ears.

I said I did not like Ms. Kelly.
My mother was aghast. She said that surely I could tell Ms. Kelly was competent and truthful. I said that was reading a lot into blonde hair and lip gloss. (She seems to be the only FOX bathing beauty who wears a very opaque lip gloss, which sort of reflects the light back into the observer's face, intimidatingly, like the Georgian sunshine reflects off Sheriff Gillespie's sunglasses when he's giving Virgil Tibbs a hard time.)

I said that Ms. Kelly was talking so fast that she was tripping over her tongue. Indeed, she was. Very sweet, very loud, and very fast. It is part of the mythos of the place.
Bill O'Reilly gets to slow it down with his unctuous, stentorian tones. Perhaps the opinion people speak slowly to give the impression of weighty thought.
The news people chatter on at a rate calculated to make you think events are "unfolding" so fast that one can barely keep up, and before you blink an eye, more news is "on tap". This rapid machinegun-fire method of news delivery replaces the old frenzied teletype clattering in the background which was a feature of so many news shows back in the day.

When my mother asks for more information on a topic, I feel as if I must go and search the Internet for good articles and print them for her. I try to find factual presentations and stay away from opinionated garbage, which takes a bit of work.
Of course, that means I have to read the bloody stuff, thereby becoming more informed myself, which is something I usually try to avoid.


A Hierarchy Of Nonsense

Yesterday I wandered into my mother's kitchen, where she sat absorbing the news from FOX news.

The hot topic just at that time was whether Rush Limbaugh was correct in blasting the media for spending way too much time covering flight 370.

I think I literally sort of cock my head to one side when I come across these things. It was as if all the neurons were shipping to the starboard side of the cranium, and the old ship of self was beginning to list to one side.

I mean, if there is an event, and the media covers the event, and then Rush covers the media coverage, then here I was sitting and watching FOX cover Rush's coverage of the media coverage of the event!

And if one of the lower levels of this hierarchy were nonsense, then it would seem logical that any higher levels would constitute a Dunciad.
Yet here we all were. And we certainly did not feel like idiots. We felt like people who want to know.



I said some brief things about the Svoboda, or Freedom, Party in the Ukraine. It was the opinion of many that they were almost neo-Nazis. Some people wondered why we were supporting their coup .

I do not have anything else to say on it. However, I do like reading comments on articles about such things. I do not like the articles themselves; they are too wordy and pretentious.

Here is an example from The Blaze:
I would have hoped the Blaze would have reported the correct story, the Truth Glenn will set you free, remember.
This man was beaten and forced to resign because he aired Putin’s Speech today on Ukraine’s National Television. This was his only crime – Freedom of the Press. Remember Glenn.
I see the add – watch the blaze or stay with mainstream media – well Glenn I have yet to see the difference between the two. The Truth Glenn – is all we ask. Cover the Story like it should be covered. The Truth.
Remember America: Obama and Congress support Gestapo Tactics.
Remember America.
I think there was some sort of pop-up with Glenn Beck asking whether one wanted to stay with mainstream media or get the truth with good old Glenn. This explains some of the incoherency in this comment.

I guess what I like most of all is the charming notion that some absolute Truth will set one free.
That is not quite what the passage in the Gospel of John means.
I mean, the notion that getting a news story correct will free us is quite a laugh. It sort of puts the onus of our slavery upon journalists and media types, and we get away scott free.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick's Day, 2014

Leaving you yet asleep,
I rise and travel far away,
into this our endless winter,
this our cold Saint Patrick’s day.

A rare swimmer, now I go
toward the northern wind to roam
around  great lake of oblivion,
and to recall the warmth of home.

Mortal billows and icy wind
will not imprison me,
for I shall gain a higher shore,
and soon return to thee!


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Why I Hate Django Unchained: Reasons # 2,546 and 2,547

Evil Slave Owner

Django's wife's name is Broomhilda, and the plantation of evil Leonard DiCaprio is Candyland.
I think Christopher Waltz's character says "Brunhilda".
It is anyone's guess what that is all about.

I only wish there had been some more plantations, so he could have named them "Parcheesi" or "Hungry Hippos" or "Knock Your Block Off".
Leonard DiCaprio's character is Calvin Candie. I did not notice if Samuel Jackson was called Hobbes.
I wish Tarantino could have worked in a bit about Jamie Foxx and Waltz preparing to pull off a major scheme and then getting set by "simonizing" their watches to the right time.

Later, the evil slave owner played by DiCaprio has a monologue about slavery, and he wonders why slaves don't revolt. (Actually, according to real history, they did.)
With a skull - supposedly of a dead black person - in his hand, he opines that Blacks in general are a submissive lot, and only maybe one in ten thousand would be an exception to this rule.

Soon Django announces that he is that one non-submitting Black person. So with our total support and cheers, he does a one-man revolt.
And the whole premise of his revolt is that nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine Black slaves are truthfully and genetically submissive. Hence, they probably prefer a beating here and there, just as Mr. Jim Brown of Arizona has recently said they do.

My favorite review of the flick is:
The Whale-Ship Globe
The Many Masks Of Django (Unchained)

The slave, Tarantino suggests, lacks an authentic American history prior to slavery, and thus cannot hide from the system of oppression. Instead, African-American identity is seen as emerging throughout the film as a series of masks and roles, from the the grotesque ‘Uncle Tom’ of Samuel L. Jackson’s Stephen to the ‘Blue Boy’ of Thomas Gainsborough’s 1770 painting:

Why Gainsborough, you may ask? Why is Gainsborough's Blue Boy selected as a mask or role parallel to Uncle Tom?

If you know the answer, share it.


Old Sayings

Eddie Bracken

In 1944 Eddie Bracken was in a Preston Sturges film called Hail, The Conquering Hero.

I like Eddie Bracken, and I always get him mixed up with Donald O'Connor for some reason. You probably know him. He played Roy Walley, owner of Walley's World in National Lampoon's Vacation.
Anyway, at the beginning of Conquering Hero, Eddie is sitting at a bar, looking forlorn. The bartender refills his beer and inquires into his low spirits.
After a suggestion that Eddie should find himself a "skirt", the bartender becomes philosophical and says "Smile and the world smiles with you; frown and you frown alone."

It occurred to me that nowadays, when we speak of politics and the state of the union, that adage is reversed, and the frowns find company, while smiles are scarce as hens' teeth.

At Walley World

Omens In The Sky

Внеочередное расстройство
Extraordinary Disorder

Pope Francis at Sunday, January 26, speaking with a traditional sermon, expressed the hope that the violence will end in Ukraine and opposition forces will come to a peaceful solution to the conflict.

After his speech, Francis released into the Roman sky two white doves - symbols of peace, reports BBC. So the Pope hoped to strengthen the impact of his preaching, but the effect was reversed.

Папа Римский Франциск в воскресенье, 26 января, выступая с традиционной проповедью, выразил надежду на то, что насилие на Украине закончится и оппозиционные силы придут к мирному решению конфликта.

После своего выступления Франциск выпустил в римское небо двух белых голубей - символов мира, передает BBC. Так понтифик рассчитывал усилить воздействие своей проповеди, однако эффект получился обратный.)
The doves were attacked by a raven and seagulls. Many took this as a bad omen.


World's Toughest Car Test Track


Newly Discovered Paintings By Norman Rockwell

 Ice Cream At Greenfield's


Are We Living In A Computer Simulation?

The Manifestation (Unoccultation) 
of the Mazda Lamp by Skynet

The question was posed by Nicholas Bostrom some time ago, and it still vexes the wits of many people yet today.

...However, there’s nothing in this cosmic lawfulness to tell us whether we’re in a simulation or not. If the program is good enough with no obvious ‘Easter eggs’ or hidden messages left by its designers, then any experiment we perform will return the same results whether we’re in a simulated cosmos or not. In this scenario, there’s no way we can ever tell we’re in a virtual world, no matter how convincing our favourite philosophers are on the matter. The big-T Truth of the matter might be that we dwell in a simulation but, like the existence of an impersonal god, this fact has no bearing on how we conduct our lives...
In other words, if the program is "perfect", the illusion of living in a "real world" and not just a computer simulation is perfectly accomplished.

To me, this is saying that if an illusion is perfect, then the illusion is perfect. It is a tautology which says nothing new to me, and only appears to be worthy of philosophical discussion because it is a scenario that has been spun out to absurd lengths: we assume anything so voluminous must have meaning.

I know this for a fact, since my associates at Atlantropa (Steve Zissou being one of them) have developed a software for robots and androids which gives them the illusion that they - with all their futuristic gleaming chrome perfections - are actually inhabiting 21st century Earth.

The endless wars and violence and hatred that they have experienced - all illusory! - has driven a number of them to apostasize from the Asimovean principles of robotics.
Some have raised their prosthetics against mankind.

A heresiarch, named Skynet, has established an Autonomous Republic somewhere in the belt of satellites circling Earth.

It is the mirror neurons in our brains that make us see ourselves in inert matter...

It is Skynet who occults the airplane they seek....

(Communication cut off mysteriously at this point.)


The Crimea Votes Today

... and a young Ukrainian boy feeds the doves.



Flora of the Flavian Amphitheater