November 26, 2002

Ricky Williams

Ricky has a blog. I thought he was a great player and now I think he's an awesome person.

Posted at 06:19 PM | Comments (0)

Google!

I like Google and I use their toolbar, but now I am strongly considering uninstalling the toolbar. The main issue is that they update the toolbar without notifying the user.

The link below shows some bugs in the toolbar. The scariest aspect is the ability to execute arbitary scripts simply by referring to them. Terrible!
Google toolbar hacks

Posted at 10:06 AM | Comments (3)

November 25, 2002

Eyes

We have two eyes to see two sides of things, but there must be a third eye which will see everything at the same time and yet not see anything. That is to understand Zen.
-- D. T. Suzuki
Posted at 02:08 PM

Camille

Homosexuality is not 'normal.' On the contrary, it is a challenge to the norm; therein rests its eternally revolutionary character. Note I do not call it a challenge to the idea of the norm. Queer theorists - that wizened crew of flimflamming free-loaders - have tried to take the poststructuralist tack of claiming that there is no norm, since everything is relative and contingent. This is the kind of silly bind that word-obsessed people get into when they are deaf, dumb, and blind to the outside world. Nature exists, whether academics like it or not. And in nature, procreation is the single, relentless rule. That is the norm. Our sexual bodies were designed for reproduction. Penis fits vagina: no fancy linguistic game - playing can change that basic fact. However, my libertarian view, here as in regard to abortion, is that we have not only the right, but the obligation to defy nature's tyranny. The highest human identity consists precisely in such assertions of freedom against material limitation.
Camille Paglia --Vamps and Tramps
Posted at 09:43 AM

November 23, 2002

Finnegans Wake

Finnegans Wake is an experimental novel by James Joyce. It appeared in the late 1930's and still has a major fan following attempt to decipher its circular references.

The book begins with the end of a sentence left unfinished at the end of the book! It is said that Joyce was inspired by 18th century Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico, who said history is cyclic.

Attempt to read it online

Posted at 10:38 PM | Comments (0)

Literature Grab bag

This is a literature grab bag. Sites that deserve returns:

The Wondering Ministrels A poetry collection at Rice.

The Modern World Lots of content on diverse authors

Posted at 10:22 PM

On Mirrors and Men

Then Bioy-Casares recalled that one of the heresiarchs of Uqbar had stated that mirrors and copulation are abominable, since they both multiply the numbers of man. -- "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius"
-- Jorge Luis Borge
Posted at 10:17 PM

Symbolism

At the end of the 19th century there emerged in Paris a new art form, Symbolism. Impressionim was the dominant art style at this point in time. Symbolists preferred to convey their impression via suggestion as opposed to explicitly stating it.

Baudelaire is credited with being the earliest artist of this genre. Others include Mallarme, Caheraen, Nietzche, Rilke, d'Annunzio and Rimbaud.

Themes

Posted at 10:10 PM

Zeno's paradox

Zeno of Elea proposed 4 paradoxes. The paradox when followed to their logical conclusion proved motion to be an impossibility. One example is the conversation between Achilles and the tortoise. Achilles promises the tortoise a 10m head start in a race. The tortoise then asks Achilles how long it would take for him to cover the 10m. The tortoise then points out that by the time Achilles makes up the 10m the tortoise has gained a little more distance. This continues indefinitely making it impossible for Achilles to ever catch up.

For a better rendering of this tale and an explanation head to The Math Academy

The vision thing

Bush Vision

Posted at 05:53 PM | Comments (0)

November 22, 2002

Exquisite Corpse

In the 1920's a group of surrealists sat around discussing how to push their art form further. They invented a game that involved people writing down random nouns, adjectives, pronouns, adverbs and pulling out a sentence. One of the first few sentences formed included the words "Exquisite Corpse".

You can play this game online and more info

Posted at 09:49 AM

November 19, 2002

Must See

"A must see". "If you see only one meteoroid shower this century then the Leonid shower is the one". The haze clears. The subliminal messages are goading my weary body out of bed. The clock registers 4:15.

I pull on warm clothing in anticipation of the cold and step outside. My mouth continues masticating the remnants of a slice of bread. I look up at the sky but see trees instead. I amble towards my car. I get in, and I am soon heading out towards the back roads. A few miles later I'm on an highway running through sparse hill country landscape. I peer up into the sky while keeping a watchful eye on the road.

I see cars pulled to the side of the road. Hopeful eyes gazing heavenwards. I pull over. Step out and look up. Its been a while. I don't recall having looked up in a long time. At one point in my life when the desire to be an astrophysicist was strong I would gaze up every night in hopeful anticipation of one day being able to decipher the mysteries of the sky. I was nine then. Things have changed a bit since then. I see nothing. I get back in the car and head to my original destination. A road that leads up a hill which offers unfettered view of the sky without the distraction of street lights.

I muse that its quite likely people will call the cops on me. It's not every day that someone shows up at 4am and looks up at the sky. I reach my destination. I get out of the car and take my position leaning against the hood of the car. I use the sleeve of my sweat shirt to thaw my nose. The crick in my neck gets worse with each passing minute. I tell myself that I will see something for all the work I've put into coming here. This is probably the same mix of human psychology and frustration that goes through the minds of people who corroborate UFO sightings. Every wants to say they've seen the little green men and their contraptions for anal inquiries.

Out of the corner of my eye I see a flash of light. I turn quickly to the source. Nothing. I wonder if it was the reflection of a distant street light playing tricks on my mind. Then again. This time a much more subdued version of the earlier occurrence. Within a few minutes the pattern is more reliable. Varying combinations of bright and dull streaks paint the sky momentarily. Leonid Meteoroids.

Half hour of astronomical sight-seeing later I get back into my car. My neck welcomes the change in position. On to the next heavenly body sighting. Wed night network television plays host to Victoria Secret's annual lingerie show.

Posted at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2002

Houston

Houston is one big strip mall. I enter the middle lane. I move the lever to turn off the turn signals. The clickety-clack of the turn signal dissolves into silence. The regular clip of the tires against the concrete is once again audible.

From all sides they scream out. Bright, big neon signs proclaiming similar messages in quickly digestible portions. Outback Steakhouse. Pappadeux's. Denny's. Macaroni Grill. Every now and then I catch a glimpse of a non-standard sign. Rita's Mexican Food. Vying for attention. Drowning in a sea of tran-american corporate branding.

I watch them dissappear into the Texas sunset in the rear view mirror. In a few miles the scene will form again. The same stores. Bed Bath and Beyond. Linen's and Things. Best Buy. Circuit City. Each with their distinct logo and symbols, proclaiming their desire to help in our conspicuous consumption. Capitalism's promise: to sell us what we don't need at 20% off.

Posted at 10:11 PM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2002

The purpose of Zazen

The practice of zazen is not for gaining a mystical mind. Zazen is for allowing a clear min - as clear as a bright autumn day

-- Shunruyu Suzuki

Posted at 02:45 PM

November 12, 2002

Dualism

Dualism is a condition that afflicts the philosophy of most people today. Inculcated as a religious truth its cancerous growth is unstoppable. Dualism essentially identifies two irreducible concepts.

Metaphysical Dualism concerns itself with properties such as good and evil. In the Judaeo-Christian tradition metaphysical dualism concerns itself with the battle of God and Satan

Epistemological Dualism concerns itself with the knowable and the unknowable. We know about our surroundings through our senses. So there are in reality two spheres of knowledge: Reality and what we perceive of reality. It is impossible for us to transcend our senses to see into reality.

An excellent site for more manichaean info

Posted at 12:24 PM

November 11, 2002

Derrida on Derrida

What's the most widely held misconception about you and your work?

That I'm a skeptical nihilist who doesn't believe in anything, who thinks nothing has meaning, and text has no meaning. That's stupid and utterly wrong, and only people who haven't read me say this. It's a misreading of my work that began 35 years ago, and it's difficult to destroy. I never said everything is linguistic and we're enclosed in language. In fact, I say the opposite, and the deconstruction of logocentrism was conceived to dismantle precisely this philosophy for which everything is language. Anyone who reads my work with attention understands that I insist on affirmation and faith, and that I'm full of respect for the texts I read.

Interview with Derrida

Posted at 08:57 AM

November 07, 2002

Record Sales

When a record sells more than 500,000 copies it becomes a Gold Record.
When a record sells more than a million copies its a Platinum record
Then multiples of millions become multi-platinum.
Finally when more than 10 million copies are sold it becomes a diamond.

The most all-time successful band is the beatles with 102 million copies sold.

Other Definitions

Posted at 09:42 PM

November 06, 2002

Mustafa Kemal Pasha

Over the course of a decade or so, Atatürk proclaimed a new constitution, created a national legislature, abolished the sultan and caliph, required Muslims to pray in Turkish and not Arabic, urged the study of science, created a secular public education system, abolished religious courts, imposed the Latin alphabet, ended the practice of allowing divorce simply at the husband’s request, gave women the vote, adopted the Christian calendar, did away with the University of Istanbul’s theology faculty, created commercial legal codes by copying German and Swiss models, stated that every person was free to choose his own religion, authorized the erection of statues with human likenesses, ended the ban on alcohol (Atatürk liked to drink), converted the mosque of Hagia Sophia into a secular museum, authorized the election of the first Turkish beauty queen, and banned the wearing of the fez.

You may imagine that this last decision was over a trivial matter, but you would be wrong. The fez, the red cap worn by many Turks, conveyed social standing and, because it lacked a brim, made it possible for its wearer to touch the ground with his forehead when saying prayers. Western hats, equipped with brims, made this impossible. When the ban on the fez was announced, riots erupted in many Turkish cities, and some 20 leaders were executed.

James Q. Wilson
The reform Islam needs

Posted at 09:56 AM

Genes

We are survival machines - robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes. This is a truth which still fills me with astonishment.
Richard Dawkins --The Selfish Gene
Posted at 09:22 AM

November 05, 2002

Brief history

A brief history of the Palestine-Israel conflict is at the Guardian.

Posted at 09:58 AM

November 04, 2002

Religion

Religion is an illusion of childhood, outgrown under proper education.
Auguste Comte
Posted at 09:11 AM
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