January 20, 2004

Healthy Scepticism

Scepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer.

George Santayana
--Scepticism and Animal Faith

Posted at 08:48 AM

January 19, 2004

Stoic? or early Buddhist?

'A cucumber is bitter.' Throw it away. 'There are briars in the road.' Turn aside from them. This is enough. Do not add, 'And why were such things made in the world?'

Marcus Aurelius

Posted at 08:34 AM

January 18, 2004

Therein lies the rub

To be, or not to be: that is the question:

Whether ’t is nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep:

No more; and by a sleep to say we end

The heartache and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to,—’t is a consummation

Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;

To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there ’s the rub:

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,

Must give us pause: there ’s the respect

That makes calamity of so long life;

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,

The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,

The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,

The insolence of office and the spurns

That patient merit of the unworthy takes,

When he himself might his quietus make

With a bare bodkin? who would fardels 1 bear,

To grunt and sweat under a weary life,

But that the dread of something after death,

The undiscover’d country from whose bourn

No traveller returns, puzzles the will

And makes us rather bear those ills we have

Than fly to others that we know not of?

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;

And thus the native hue of resolution

Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,

And enterprises of great pith and moment

With this regard their currents turn awry,

And lose the name of action.

-- William Shakespeare
ATTRIBUTION: Hamlet. Act iii. Sc. 1. [text]

Posted at 09:05 PM

January 13, 2004

Life per Kierkagaard

Life must be lived forward, but can only be understood backward.

Soren Kierkegaard
--The Journals of Kierkegaard

Posted at 08:07 AM

January 12, 2004


The substitution of the proletarian for the bourgeois state is impossible without a violent revolution.

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
--The State and Revolution

Posted at 06:22 PM

January 11, 2004

On what matters.

Nothing matters much! If I could find the proper classical expression for this maxim I would have it engraved on the door of the White House and embroidered on the President's pajamas.

Henry Adams

Posted at 01:15 PM

January 09, 2004

Too much sex doesn't sell?

There are a plethora of advertisements that resort to sex to attract the attention of the hapless consumer in 30 seconds. Everything from shampoos that make the user moan loudly to breath freshners that spark instant romance, sex has become the lingua franca of commerical conversation.

However, recently it occurred to me the ultimate sexual product - that blue pill that eradicates sagginess, viagra is different. Ads for viagra never use graphic images or suggestions. Its usually a race car driver or someone who is asked a million questions by friends about his - haircut, workout, diet, etc.

Obviously the target audience (the intended target audience at least) is a group of older couples, mature men. (Not young sexaholics who intend to last the night). Is it the case that making the ad more sexual would turn these people off? Why? because if they need it then they're already sensitive to it. Further, since they already have ED, a graphic and suggestive picture or pose would have no effect!

Posted at 03:36 PM

January 07, 2004

Life like a dream

Our life is like a dream. But in our better hours we wake up just enough to realize that we are dreaming.

- Wittgenstein

Posted at 11:31 AM

Tyranny of Choice

The perils of living in a consumer paradise | csmonitor.com

Driving this malaise is the problem that "everything suffers from comparison." Schwartz describes a simple experiment in which people are asked whether they'd rather be given $100 outright, or gamble on winning $200 at the toss of a coin. That the vast majority would prefer the $100 may seem strange at first: A 50 percent chance of earning $200 is mathematically equivalent to a 100 percent chance of earning $100. Half the people asked ought to opt for the coin toss. However, the alternatives are not psychologically equivalent: Getting twice the money is not twice as pleasurable. The distance between zero and 100 is subjectively greater than the distance between 100 and 200. Economists capture this phenomenon in the law of diminishing marginal utility (and provide us the formulae to calculate that, psychologically, we'd need winnings of $240 to be equally tempted by the coin toss). How, though, does this asymmetry relate to real-life choices? If losses subjectively weigh more heavily than gains, the advantages of any chocolate chip cookie or career path we select will count for less than those of the options we pass up.
Posted at 11:21 AM

January 06, 2004

Judith and Holofernes

In the bible, Judith saves her people by beheading the invader Holofernes. She and her maid servant enter the enemy camp by charming the guards with their physical beauty. When alcohol and feminine charms had over powered Holofernes, Judith cuts off his head. This story became the subject of paintings by several artists (including Carvaggio). This link covers the various perspectives of the paintings.

Portraying Judith and Holofernes: A Matter of Gendered Perspective

Posted at 08:59 AM

Index of painters and paintings

WebMuseum: Artist index

Posted at 08:54 AM

January 05, 2004

Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong

This brings back memories

Posted at 11:07 PM

Crepe Recipe

Crepe Recipes

Posted at 03:49 PM

January 04, 2004


Thank God? No, no, no. Let's not invent anything as curel, visciious, vengeful, intolerant, unloving, immoral and arrogant as god just to explain a stroke of dumb, undeserved luck. I don't need some multilimbed Cosmic Dancer, or white-bearded Ineffable, some virgin-raping metamorphic Maniac, to take credit for saving my skin. Nobody saved the other fellow did they? Nobody saved the Indochinese or the Angkorans or the Kennedys or the Jews

-- Salman Rushide -
The Ground Beneath Her Feet

Posted at 03:19 PM

January 03, 2004


We are like lambs in a field, disporting themselves under the eye of the butcher, who chooses out first one and then another for his prey.

How shall a man be proud, when his conception is a crime, his birth a
penalty, his life a labour, and death a necessity?

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is
violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident

Schopenhaeur - Perhaps?

Posted at 09:45 PM

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