Log24

Monday, March 6, 2017

Reading the Coins

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 PM

From Didion’s Play It As It Lays :

Everything goes.  I am working very hard at
not thinking about how everything goes. 
I watch a hummingbird, throw the I Ching
but never read the coins, keep my mind in the now.
— Page 8

From Play It As It Lays :

I lie here in the sunlight, watch the hummingbird. 
This morning I threw the coins in the swimming pool,
and they gleamed and turned in the water in such a way
that I was almost moved to read them.  I refrained.
— Page 214

From a search in this journal for "The Southwest Furthers" —

Hexagram 39:
Obstruction

I Ching, Hexagram 39

The Judgment

Obstruction. The southwest furthers.

(See Zenna Henderson.) 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sermon

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 11:00 AM

The Ideas

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live….
We interpret what we see, select the most workable
of multiple choices. We live entirely, especially if we
are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon
disparate images, by the ‘ideas’  with which we have
learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria
which is our actual experience.”
— Joan Didion

See Didion and the I Ching  and posts tagged Plato in China .

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Race

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:14 AM
 
IMAGE- From Esther Dyson- Boats on the Charles- 'Race you to the bridge!'

An image related to
the Flesh obituary below—

See "As It Lays" in this journal.

Vegas background for 'Play It As It Lays'

(Not as it lies .)

New York Times 
obituaries today—

Click to enlarge.

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11B/110721-NYT-Gayler-240w.jpg

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11B/110721-NYT-Flesh-240w.jpg

     "That's GUY-ler, not GAY-ler."

      See also Time and the River, Number of the Beast, and Story Theory.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wednesday June 10, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:29 PM
Hello, Columbus

continued from
the two entries of
October 12, 2003:

Part I —
October 12, 2003 —

Vegas background for 'Play It As It Lays'

Above, an image from
Spinnin’ Wheel,
Spinnin’ True

Part II
  October 12, 2003 —

Stars of a film based on a novel, 'True Confessions,' by John Gregory Dunne

Above, an image from
Hello, Columbus

Part III —
June 10, 2009 —

Below, images from
a website:
 Images from a website on race, politics, and religion

“They all laughed at
    Christopher Columbus…”

Ira Gershwin  

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tuesday June 9, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:56 PM
Recessional

"I know what 
nothing means."
— Joan Didion, 
Play It As It Lays

President Faust at Harvard Baccalaureate, June 2, 2009

Faust

President Faust of Harvard on Joan Didion:

"She was referring to life as a kind of improvisation: that magical crossroads of rigor and ease, structure and freedom, reason and intuition. What she calls being prepared to 'go with the change.'"
 

Bippity Boppity Boo.


Didion's own words
:

"I think about swimming with him into the cave at Portuguese Bend, about the swell of clear water, the way it changed, the swiftness and power it gained as it narrowed through the rocks at the base of the point. The tide had to be just right. We had to be in the water at the very moment the tide was right. We could only have done this a half dozen times at most during the two years we lived there but it is what I remember. Each time we did it I was afraid of missing the swell, hanging back, timing it wrong. John never was. You had to feel the swell change. You had to go with the change. He told me that. No eye is on the sparrow but he did tell me that."

From the same book:

"The craziness is receding but no clarity is taking its place."

— Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

For a magical crossroads at another university, see the five Log24 entries ending on November 25, 2005:


The sign of the crossroads at Stanford

This holy icon
appeared at
N37°25.638'
W122°09.574'
on August 22, 2003,
at the Stanford campus.

Also from that date,
an example of clarity
  in another holy icon —

A visual proof of the Pythagorean theorem

— in honor of better days
 at Harvard and of a member
of the Radcliffe Class of 1964.
 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesday February 24, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 1:00 PM
 
Hollywood Nihilism
Meets
Pantheistic Solipsism

Tina Fey to Steve Martin
at the Oscars:
"Oh, Steve, no one wants
 to hear about our religion
… that we made up."

Tina Fey and Steve Martin at the 2009 Oscars

From Wallace Stevens: A World of Transforming Shapes, by Alan D. Perlis, Bucknell University Press, 1976, p. 117:

… in 'The Pediment of Appearance,' a slight narrative poem in Transport to Summer

 A group of young men enter some woods 'Hunting for the great ornament, The pediment of appearance.' Though moving through the natural world, the young men seek the artificial, or pure form, believing that in discovering this pediment, this distillation of the real, they will also discover the 'savage transparence,' the rude source of human life. In Stevens's world, such a search is futile, since it is only through observing nature that one reaches beyond it to pure form. As if to demonstrate the degree to which the young men's search is misaligned, Stevens says of them that 'they go crying/The world is myself, life is myself,' believing that what surrounds them is immaterial. Such a proclamation is a cardinal violation of Stevens's principles of the imagination.


Superficially the young men's philosophy seems to resemble what Wikipedia calls "pantheistic solipsism"– noting, however, that "This article has multiple issues."

As, indeed, does pantheistic solipsism– a philosophy (properly called "eschatological pantheistic multiple-ego solipsism") devised, with tongue in cheek, by science-fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein.

Despite their preoccupation with solipsism, Heinlein and Stevens point, each in his own poetic way, to a highly non-solipsistic topic from pure mathematics that is, unlike the religion of Martin and Fey, not made up– namely, the properties of space.

Heinlein:

"Sharpie, we have condensed six dimensions into four, then we either work by analogy into six, or we have to use math that apparently nobody but Jake and my cousin Ed understands. Unless you can think of some way to project six dimensions into three– you seem to be smart at such projections."
    I closed my eyes and thought hard. "Zebbie, I don't think it can be done. Maybe Escher could have done it."

Stevens:

A discussion of Stevens's late poem "The Rock" (1954) in Wallace Stevens: A World of Transforming Shapes, by Alan D. Perlis, Bucknell University Press, 1976, p. 120:

For Stevens, the poem "makes meanings of the rock." In the mind, "its barrenness becomes a thousand things/And so exists no more." In fact, in a peculiar irony that only a poet with Stevens's particular notion of the imagination's function could develop, the rock becomes the mind itself, shattered into such diamond-faceted brilliance that it encompasses all possibilities for human thought:

The rock is the gray particular of man's life,
The stone from which he rises, up—and—ho,
The step to the bleaker depths of his descents ...

The rock is the stern particular of the air,
The mirror of the planets, one by one,
But through man's eye, their silent rhapsodist,

Turquoise the rock, at odious evening bright
With redness that sticks fast to evil dreams;
The difficult rightness of half-risen day.

The rock is the habitation of the whole,
Its strength and measure, that which is near,
     point A
In a perspective that begins again

At B: the origin of the mango's rind.

                    (Collected Poems, 528)

Stevens's rock is associated with empty space, a concept that suggests "nothingness" to one literary critic:

B. J. Leggett, "Stevens's Late Poetry" in The Cambridge Companion to Wallace Stevens— On the poem "The Rock":

"… the barren rock of the title is Stevens's symbol for the nothingness that underlies all existence, 'That in which space itself is contained'….  Its subject is its speaker's sense of nothingness and his need to be cured of it."

This interpretation might appeal to Joan Didion, who, as author of the classic novel Play It As It Lays, is perhaps the world's leading expert on Hollywood nihilism.

More positively…

Space is, of course, also a topic
in pure mathematics…
For instance, the 6-dimensional
affine space
(or the corresponding
5-dimensional projective space)

The 4x4x4 cube

over the two-element Galois field
can be viewed as an illustration of
Stevens's metaphor in "The Rock."

Heinlein should perhaps have had in mind the Klein correspondence when he discussed "some way to project six dimensions into three." While such a projection is of course trivial for anyone who has taken an undergraduate course in linear algebra, the following remarks by Philippe Cara present a much more meaningful mapping, using the Klein correspondence, of structures in six (affine) dimensions to structures in three.

Cara:

Philippe Cara on the Klein correspondence
Here the 6-dimensional affine
space contains the 63 points
of PG(5, 2), plus the origin, and
the 3-dimensional affine
space contains as its 8 points
Conwell's eight "heptads," as in
Generating the Octad Generator.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesday February 3, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:59 AM

Everything and Nothing

"I know what 'nothing' means…."

— Joan Didion, Play It As It Lays, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1990 paperback, page 214

"In 1935, near the end of a long affectionate letter to his son George in America, James Joyce wrote: 'Here I conclude. My eyes are tired. For over half a century they have gazed into nullity, where they have found a lovely nothing.'"

— Lionel Trilling, "James Joyce in His Letters," Commentary, 45, no. 2 (Feb. 1968), abstract

"The quotation is from The Letters of James Joyce, Volume III, ed. Richard Ellman (New York, 1966), p. 359. The original Italian reads 'Adesso termino. Ho gli occhi stanchi. Da più di mezzo secolo scrutano nel nulla dove hanno trovato un bellissimo niente.'"

— Lionel Trilling: Criticism and Politics, by William M. Chace, Stanford U. Press, 1980, page 198, Note 4 to Chapter 9

"Space: what you damn well have to see."

— James Joyce, Ulysses

"What happens to the concepts of space and direction if all the matter in the universe is removed save a small finite number of particles?"

— "On the Origins of Twistor Theory," by Roger Penrose

"… we can look to the prairie, the darkening sky, the birthing of a funnel-cloud to see in its vortex the fundamental structure of everything…"

Against the Day, by Thomas Pynchon (See previous entry.)

"A strange thing then happened."

L. Frank Baum

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Thursday May 8, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM
Star Wars
continued from
May 25, 2003

Israel turns 60

Wed., May 7, 2008
2:23 PM EDT

By Dan Williams

“JERUSALEM, May 7 (Reuters) –
 Fireworks and military fanfare
 launched Israel’s 60th anniversary
 celebrations on Wednesday…”

Related material
from Tuesday:

Mailer's 'The Time of Our Time' May 5, 1998, cover with fireworks starburst

“… someone was down sixty,
   someone was up….”

Play It As It Lays   

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tuesday May 6, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 11:07 AM
In the Dreamtime
the Point Was Ten

From Play It As It Lays,
the paperback edition of 1990
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux) —

Page 170:                                             “… In her half sleep
the point was ten, the jackpot was on eighteen, the
only man that could ever reach her was the son of a
preacher man
, someone was down sixty, someone was
up, Daddy wants a popper and she rode a painted
pony let the spinning wheel spin
.

By the end of a week she was thinking constantly
about where her body stopped and the air began,
about the exact point in space and time that was the
difference between Maria and other. She had the sense
that if she could get that in her mind and hold it for

170


even one micro-second she would have what she had
come to get.”

 
For further details
see yesterday’s entries.”In her half sleep
the point was ten….”
Play It As It Lays

The Random House

Random House logo (color-reversed image)

signed first edition
of Norman Mailer’s
The Time of Our Time
(4 pounds, 1286 pages)
was published
ten years ago yesterday —

May 5, 1998:
Fireworks starburst
on the cover of
The Time of Our Time


Mailer's 'The Time of Our Time' May 5, 1998, cover with fireworks starburst

Also from May 5, 1998:
  File Photo in Mailer’s obituary —

(Photo by Bebeto Matthews
with Mailer obituary in

Toronto Globe and Mail)

with excerpt from the obituary,
by Richard Pyle

(Associated Press
Saturday, Nov. 10, 2007
at 8:20 AM EDT)

Norman Mailer, May 5, 1998 (with notes)

Related material:

Yesterday’s entries and
the time of this entry:
11:07:51 AM ET

CHANGE WE MAY BELIEVE IN sign, adapted from a current political campaign

I Ching hexagram 51: The Arousing (Shock, Thunder)

51

THE JUDGMENT

SHOCK brings success.   
Shock comes - oh, oh!    
Laughing words - ha, ha!

in light of…

 
A:  Mailer’s fireworks starburst
   on his book cover from
      ten years ago yesterday

B:  A real starburst in a story
from ten years ago today.

 

Monday, May 5, 2008

Monday May 5, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:00 PM
"All our words from loose using
have lost their edge."
 — Ernest Hemingway    

Look Homeward, Norman

New York Lottery
May 5, 2008:

NY Lottery May 5, 2008: mid-day 098, evening 411

The evening number,
411, may be interpreted
as 4/11. From Log24
on that date:

NYT obituaries, morning of Friday, April 11, 2008-- Carousel designer and family tribute to Norman Mailer

Click on image for further details.

Ride a painted pony
let the spinning
wheel spin.


As for the mid-day number
098, a Google search
(with the aid of, in retrospect,
the above family tribute)
 on "98 'Norman Mailer'"
yields

Amazon.com:
The Time of Our Time
(Modern Library Paperbacks …

With The Time of Our Time (1998) Norman Mailer has archetypalized himself and in the seven years since publication, within which films Fear and Loathing in

 

From an unattributed
"editorial review" of
  The Time of Our Time
at Amazon.com:

"Surely this sense of himself
as the republic's recording angel
accounts for the structure
of Mailer's anthology…."

Related material:

From Play It As It Lays,
the paperback edition of 1990
  (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) —

Page 170:

                                             "… In her half sleep
the point was ten, the jackpot was on eighteen, the
only man that could ever reach her was the son of a
preacher man
, someone was down sixty, someone was
up, Daddy wants a popper and she rode a painted
pony let the spinning wheel spin
.

By the end of a week she was thinking constantly
about where her body stopped and the air began,
about the exact point in space and time that was the
difference between Maria and other. She had the sense
that if she could get that in her mind and hold it for

170    

even one micro-second she would have what she had
come to get."


The number 411 from
this evening's New York Lottery
may thus be regarded as naming the
"exact point in space and time"
sought in the above passage.

For a related midrash
 on the meaning of the
passage's page number,
see the previous entry.

For a more plausible
recording angel,
see Sinatra's birthday,
December 12, 2002.

Monday May 5, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:07 AM
Lottery Sermon

"And take upon's
the mystery of things
 as if we were God's spies"
King Lear  

PA Lottery Sunday, May 4, 2008: mid-day 170, evening 144

From Log24 on Aug. 19, 2003
and on Ash Wednesday, 2004:
a reviewer on
An Instance of the Fingerpost::

"Perhaps we are meant to
see the story as a cubist
   retelling of the crucifixion."

From Log24 on
Michaelmas 2007:

Kate Beckinsale (in 'Pearl Harbor') pointing to an instance of the number 144

Google searches suggested by
Sunday's PA lottery numbers
(mid-day 170, evening 144)
and by the above
figure of Kate Beckinsale
pointing to an instance of
the number 144 —

Click to enlarge:

Search for the meaning of 170 and 144, the PA lottery numbers of Sunday, May 4, 2008

Related material:

Beckinsale in another film
(See At the Crossroads,
Log24, Dec. 8, 2006):

"For every kind of vampire,
there is a kind of cross."
Gravity's Rainbow  
 
Kate Beckinsale in Underworld: Evolution

 

Kate Beckinsale, adapted from
poster for Underworld: Evolution
(DVD release date 6/6/6)
 
There is such a thing
as a tesseract.

"It was only in retrospect
that the silliness
became profound."

— Review of  
Faust in Copenhagen

From the conclusion of
Joan Didion's 1970 novel
  Play It As It Lays

Cover of 'Play It As It Lays'

"I know what 'nothing' means,
and keep on playing."

From Play It As It Lays,
the paperback edition of 1990
  (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) —

Page 170:

"By the end of a week she was thinking constantly
about where her body stopped and the air began,
about the exact point in space and time that was the
difference between Maria and other. She had the sense
that if she could get that in her mind and hold it for

170  

even one micro-second she would have what she had
come to get."

"The page numbers
are generally reliable."

Michaelmas 2007   

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tuesday July 31, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:00 AM

Italian Director Antonioni
Dies at 94

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: July 31, 2007

Filed with The New York Times at 5:14 a.m. ET

“ROME (AP) — Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni, best known for his movies ‘Blow-Up’ and ‘L’Avventura,’ has died, officials and news reports said Tuesday. He was 94.

The ANSA news agency said that Antonioni died at his home on Monday evening.

‘With Antonioni dies not only one of the greatest directors but also a master of modernity,’ Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni said in a statement.

In 1995, Hollywood honored Antonioni’s career work– 25 films and several screenplays– with a special Oscar for lifetime achievement.”

Related material:

  1. “Zabriskie Point” (1970), a film by Antonioni.

    “The name refers to Zabriskie Point in Death Valley, the location of the film’s famous desert love scene, in which members of the Open Theatre simulate an orgy.” —Wikipedia

  2. Play It As It Lays (1970), a novel by Joan Didion

       Play It As It Lays

    Play It As It Lays, page 204

  3. Log24: The Word in the Desert

Thursday, June 8, 2006

Thursday June 8, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:11 AM
For the Clowns of Harvard
on Commencement Day,
a Reading from 2003’s


The Word in the Desert
:

Ground Zero 

Today’s birthday: Harrison Ford is 61.

             From The Gag

Seven – Eleven Dice 

Throw a seven or eleven every time. Set consists of a pair of regular dice and another set that can’t miss. A product of the S. S. Adams Company. Make your friends and family laugh with this great prank!

 New York State Lottery:

7-11 Evening Number: 000.

From the conclusion of
Joan Didion’s 1970 novel
Play It As It Lays: 

“I know what ‘nothing’ means,
and keep on playing.”

Monday, April 10, 2006

Monday April 10, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Backstory
for the previous entry,
Once Upon a Time

  • Ernest Hemingway,
    “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”
  • Ernest Hemingway,
    “The Killers”
  • Joan Didion,
    Play It As It Lays
  • The Devil’s Bible

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Wednesday March 1, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:29 PM
Deaconess

“Teach us to care and not to care.”
— T. S. Eliot, “Ash Wednesday

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060301-Hospital2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Related material:

Beth Israel Deaconess,

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060301-GetDir.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.


The House of God
,

and, from Is Nothing Sacred?,
the following quotations–

“I know what ‘nothing’ means.”
— Joan Didion in
Play It As It Lays

“Nothing is random.”
— Mark Helprin in
Winter’s Tale

“692” — Pennsylvania lottery,
Ash Wednesday, 2000;
“hole” — Page 692,
Webster’s New World Dictionary,
College Edition, 1960

“This hospital, like every other,
is a hole in the universe
through which holiness
issues in blasts.
It blows both ways,
in and out of time.”
— Annie Dillard in
For the Time Being
(1999)

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Sunday October 9, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:00 AM
Today’s Sermon:
Magical Thinking

On this date– “In 1936,
the first generator at Boulder
(later Hoover) Dam began
transmitting electricity to Los Angeles.”
— Today in History, Associated Press

“Brightness doubled
   generates radiance.”
— Hexagram 30

“I know what nothing means.”
— Maria Wyeth in Play It As It Lays

“Nothing is random.”
— Mark Helprin in Winter’s Tale

Maria Wyeth in Las Vegas:

“… She thought about nothing.  Her mind was a blank tape, imprinted daily with snatches of things overheard, fragments of dealers’ patter, the beginnings of jokes and odd lines of song lyrics.  When she finally lay down nights in the purple room she would play back the day’s tape, a girl singing into a microphone and a fat man dropping a glass, cards fanned on a table and a dealer’s rake in closeup and a woman in slacks crying and the opaque blue eyes of the guard at some baccarat table.  A child in the harsh light of a crosswalk on the Strip.  A sign on Fremont Street.  A light blinking.  In her half sleep the point was ten, the jackpot was on eighteen, the only man that could ever reach her was the son of a preacher man, someone was down sixty, someone was up, Daddy wants a popper and she rode a painted pony let the spinning wheel spin.

By the end of a week she was thinking constantly about where her body stopped and the air began, about the exact point in space and time that was the difference between Maria and other.  She had the sense that if she could get that in her mind and hold it for even one micro-second she would have what she had come to get.  As if she had fever, her skin burned and crackled with a pinpoint sensitivity.  She could feel smoke against her skin.  She could feel voice waves.  She was beginning to feel color, light intensities, and she imagined that she could be put blindfolded in front of the signs at the Thunderbird and the Flamingo and know which was which.  ‘Maria,’ she felt someone whisper one night, but when she turned there was nobody.

She began to feel the pressure of Hoover Dam, there on the desert, began to feel the pressure and pull of the water.  When the pressure got great enough she drove out there.  All that day she felt the power  surging through her own body. All day she was faint with vertigo, sunk in a world where great power grids converged, throbbing lines plunged finally into the shallow canyon below the dam’s face, elevators like coffins dropped into the bowels of the earth itself.  With a guide and a handful of children Maria walked through the chambers, stared at the turbines in the vast glittering gallery, at the deep still water with the hidden intakes sucking all the while, even as she watched, clung to the railings, leaned out, stood finally on a platform over the pipe that carried the river beneath the dam.  The platform quivered.  Her ears roared.  She wanted to stay in the dam, lie on the great pipe itself, but reticence saved her from asking.

‘Just how long have you been here now,’ Freddy Chaikin asked when she ran into him in Caesar’s.  ‘You planning on making a year of it?  Or what?'”

Related material

The front page of today’s
New York Times Book Review

and Log24, July 15, 2004:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/040715-Pit2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

A quotation that somehow
seems relevant:

O the mind, mind has mountains,
   cliffs of fall
Frightful, sheer, no-man fathomed.
   Hold them cheap
May who ne’er hung there.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Sunday, December 5, 2004

Sunday December 5, 2004

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 3:00 PM

Chorus from
The Rock

Author Joan Didion is 70 today.

On Didion’s late husband, John Gregory Dunne:

“His 1989 memoir Harp includes Dunne’s early years in Hartford and his Irish-Catholic family’s resentment of WASP social superiority: ‘Don’t stand out so that the Yanks can see you,’ he wrote, ‘don’t let your pretensions become a focus of Yank merriment and mockery.'”

The Hartford Courant, August 4, 2002

From a Hartford Protestant:

The American Sublime

How does one stand
To behold the sublime,
To confront the mockers,
The mickey mockers
And plated pairs?

When General Jackson
Posed for his statue
He knew how one feels.
Shall a man go barefoot
Blinking and blank?

But how does one feel?
One grows used to the weather,
The landscape and that;
And the sublime comes down
To the spirit itself,

The spirit and space,
The empty spirit
In vacant space.
What wine does one drink?
What bread does one eat?

— Wallace Stevens

A search of the Internet for “Wallace Stevens”  + “The Rock” + “Seventy Years Later” yields only one quotation…

Log24 entries of Aug. 2, 2002:

From “Seventy Years Later,” Section I of “The Rock,” a poem by Wallace Stevens:

A theorem proposed
between the two —
Two figures in a nature
of the sun….

From page 63 of The New Yorker issue dated August 5, 2002:

“Birthday, death-day —
what day is not both?”
— John Updike

From Didion’s Play It As It Lays:

Everything goes.  I am working very hard at not thinking about how everything goes.  I watch a hummingbird, throw the I Ching but never read the coins, keep my mind in the now.
— Page 8

From Play It As It Lays:

I lie here in the sunlight, watch the hummingbird.  This morning I threw the coins in the swimming pool, and they gleamed and turned in the water in such a way that I was almost moved to read them.  I refrained.
— Page 214

And the sublime comes down
To the spirit itself,
The spirit and space,
The empty spirit
In vacant space.

One heart will wear a Valentine.
— Sinatra, 1954

Tuesday, March 2, 2004

Tuesday March 2, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:01 PM

Passion

From the previous entry:

 1.
Oscar:
military phonetic
for the letter
‘O’

From an entry of Dec. 21, 2002, some background in literary theory:

“I know what ‘nothing’ means….”
— Maria Wyeth in Play It As It Lays

“How do you solve a problem like Maria?”
— Oscar Hammerstein II

“…problems can be solved by manipulating just two symbols, 1 and 0….” 
— George Johnson, obituary of Claude Shannon

“The female and the male continue this charming dance, populating the world with all living beings.” 
— Leonard Shlain, The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, Penguin Arkana paperback, 1999, Chapter 17, “Lingam/Yoni” 

“According to Showalter’s essay*, ‘In Elizabethan slang, ‘nothing’ was a term for the female genitalia . . . what lies between maids’ legs, for, in the male visual system of representation and desire…. Ophelia’s story becomes

the Story of O — the zero, the empty circle or mystery of feminine difference, the cipher of female sexuality to be deciphered by feminist interpretation.’ (222)* Ophelia is a highly sexual being…”

— Leigh DiAngelo,
   Ophelia as a Sexual Being

*Showalter, Elaine. “Representing Ophelia: Women, Madness, and the Responsibilities of Feminist Criticism.” Hamlet. Ed. Susanne L. Wofford. Boston: Bedford Books of St.Martin’s Press, 1994. 220-238.

At the Oscars Sunday night, a thought attributed by Billy Crystal to Sean Connery:

“Pussy Galore! I just got it! That’s vulgar.”

For further background, see

Passing the Crown (Aug. 24, 2003) and

The Agony and the Ya-Ya (Oct. 4, 2002).

Friday, November 14, 2003

Friday November 14, 2003

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:56 AM

Philip K. Dick Meets Joan Didion

From the ending of
The Man in the High Castle:

Juliana said, “I wonder why the oracle would write a novel. Did you ever think of asking it that?” ….

“You may say the question aloud,” Hawthorne said. “We have no secrets here.”

Juliana said, “Oracle, why did you write The Grasshopper Lies Heavy? What are we supposed to learn?”

“You have a disconcertingly superstitious way of phrasing your question,” Hawthorne said. But he had squatted down to witness the coin throwing. “Go ahead,” he said; he handed her three Chinese brass coins with holes in the center. “I generally use these.”

She began throwing the coins; she felt calm and very much herself. Hawthorne wrote down her lines for her. When she had thrown the coins six times, he gazed down and said:

“Sun at the top. Tui at the bottom. Empty in the center.”

IMAGE- Hexagram 61

“Do you know what hexagram that is?” she said. “Without using the chart?”

“Yes,” Hawthorne said.

“It’s Chung Fu,” Juliana said. “Inner Truth. I know without using the chart, too. And I know what it means.”

From the ending of
Play It As It Lays:

I lie here in the sunlight, watch the hummingbird.  This morning I threw the coins in the swimming pool, and they gleamed and turned in the water in such a way that I was almost moved to read them.  I refrained.

One thing in my defense, not that it matters.  I know something Carter never knew, or Helene, or maybe you.  I know what “nothing” means, and keep on playing.

Why, BZ would say.

Why not, I say.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Sunday July 13, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 5:09 PM

ART WARS, 5:09

The Word in the Desert

For Harrison Ford in the desert.
(See previous entry.)

    Words strain,
Crack and sometimes break,
    under the burden,
Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
Will not stay still. Shrieking voices
Scolding, mocking, or merely chattering,
Always assail them.
    The Word in the desert
Is most attacked by voices of temptation,
The crying shadow in the funeral dance,
The loud lament of
    the disconsolate chimera.

— T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets

The link to the word "devilish" in the last entry leads to one of my previous journal entries, "A Mass for Lucero," that deals with the devilishness of postmodern philosophy.  To hammer this point home, here is an attack on college English departments that begins as follows:

"William Faulkner's Snopes trilogy, which recounts the generation-long rise of the drily loathsome Flem Snopes from clerk in a country store to bank president in Jefferson, Mississippi, teems with analogies to what has happened to English departments over the past thirty years."

For more, see

The Word in the Desert,
by Glenn C. Arbery
.

See also the link on the word "contemptible," applied to Jacques Derrida, in my Logos and Logic page.

This leads to an National Review essay on Derrida,

The Philosopher as King,
by Mark Goldblatt

A reader's comment on my previous entry suggests the film "Scotland, PA" as viewing related to the Derrida/Macbeth link there.

I prefer the following notice of a 7-11 death, that of a powerful art museum curator who would have been well cast as Lady Macbeth:

Die Fahne Hoch,
Frank Stella,
1959


Dorothy Miller,
MOMA curator,

died at 99 on
July 11, 2003
.

From the Whitney Museum site:

"Max Anderson: When artist Frank Stella first showed this painting at The Museum of Modern Art in 1959, people were baffled by its austerity. Stella responded, 'What you see is what you see. Painting to me is a brush in a bucket and you put it on a surface. There is no other reality for me than that.' He wanted to create work that was methodical, intellectual, and passionless. To some, it seemed to be nothing more than a repudiation of everything that had come before—a rational system devoid of pleasure and personality. But other viewers saw that the black paintings generated an aura of mystery and solemnity.

The title of this work, Die Fahne Hoch, literally means 'The banner raised.'  It comes from the marching anthem of the Nazi youth organization. Stella pointed out that the proportions of this canvas are much the same as the large flags displayed by the Nazis.

But the content of the work makes no reference to anything outside of the painting itself. The pattern was deduced from the shape of the canvas—the width of the black bands is determined by the width of the stretcher bars. The white lines that separate the broad bands of black are created by the narrow areas of unpainted canvas. Stella's black paintings greatly influenced the development of Minimalism in the 1960s."

From Play It As It Lays:

   She took his hand and held it.  "Why are you here."
   "Because you and I, we know something.  Because we've been out there where nothing is.  Because I wanted—you know why."
   "Lie down here," she said after a while.  "Just go to sleep."
   When he lay down beside her the Seconal capsules rolled on the sheet.  In the bar across the road somebody punched King of the Road on the jukebox again, and there was an argument outside, and the sound of a bottle breaking.  Maria held onto BZ's hand.
   "Listen to that," he said.  "Try to think about having enough left to break a bottle over it."
   "It would be very pretty," Maria said.  "Go to sleep."

I smoke old stogies I have found…    

Cigar Aficionado on artist Frank Stella:

" 'Frank actually makes the moment. He captures it and helps to define it.'

This was certainly true of Stella's 1958 New York debut. Fresh out of Princeton, he came to New York and rented a former jeweler's shop on Eldridge Street on the Lower East Side. He began using ordinary house paint to paint symmetrical black stripes on canvas. Called the Black Paintings, they are credited with paving the way for the minimal art movement of the 1960s. By the fall of 1959, Dorothy Miller of The Museum of Modern Art had chosen four of the austere pictures for inclusion in a show called Sixteen Americans."

For an even more austere picture, see

Geometry for Jews:

For more on art, Derrida, and devilishness, see Deborah Solomon's essay in the New York Times Magazine of Sunday, June 27, 1999:

 How to Succeed in Art.

"Blame Derrida and
his fellow French theorists…."

See, too, my site

Art Wars: Geometry as Conceptual Art

For those who prefer a more traditional meditation, I recommend

Ecce Lignum Crucis

("Behold the Wood of the Cross")

THE WORD IN THE DESERT

For more on the word "road" in the desert, see my "Dead Poet" entry of Epiphany 2003 (Tao means road) as well as the following scholarly bibliography of road-related cultural artifacts (a surprising number of which involve Harrison Ford):

A Bibliography of Road Materials

Sunday July 13, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:13 AM

Ground Zero

Today’s birthday: Harrison Ford is 61.

             From The Gag

Seven – Eleven Dice 

Throw a seven or eleven every time. Set consists of a pair of regular dice and another set that can’t miss. A product of the S. S. Adams Company. Make your friends and family laugh with this great prank!

 New York State Lottery:

7-11 Evening Number: 000.

From the conclusion of
Joan Didion’s 1970 novel
Play It As It Lays: 

“I know what ‘nothing’ means,
and keep on playing.”

From a review of the 1970 film Zabriskie Point:

“The real star of Zabriskie Point… is the desolate, parched-white landscape of Death Valley….”

For Harrison Ford and Zabriskie Point, see

Harrison Ford – Le Site En Français

The Harrison Ford of the 1970 film Zabriskie Point and the “Harrison Porter” of the 1970 novel Play It As It Lays may not be completely unrelated.

For the religious significance of the names “Porter” and “BZ” in Play It As It Lays, see both the devilish site

A Wake-Macbeth Intertext:

“Both ‘porter’ and ‘belzey babble’ operate as textual ‘grafts’ and ‘hinges’ …”

and the Princeton site

Macbeth, Act II, Scene 3

{Enter a Porter. Knocking within}

PORTER:
1. Here’s a knocking indeed!
    If a man were porter
2. of hell-gate he should have old
    turning the key.{Knock within}
3. Knock, knock, knock. Who’s there,
    i’ th’ name of
4. Beelzebub?

Saturday, December 21, 2002

Saturday December 21, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 PM

To Ophelia
at the Winter Solstice

Introduction

“There is one story and one story only
That will prove worth your telling…

… is it of the Virgin’s silver beauty,
All fish below the thighs?
She in her left hand bears a leafy quince;
When, with her right hand she crooks a finger, smiling,
How many the King hold back?
Royally then he barters life for love.

Or of the undying snake from chaos hatched,
Whose coils contain the ocean,
Into whose chops with naked sword he springs,
Then in black water, tangled by the reeds,
Battles three days and nights,
To be spewed up beside her scalloped shore?”

— Robert Graves, “To Juan at the Winter Solstice”

Illustrations

The Virgin’s Beauty 

 On the Beach

A Maiden’s Prayer

Answered Prayer

Dialogue

Act III Scene ii:

Hamlet   Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
Ophelia  No, my lord.
Hamlet   I mean, my head upon your lap?
Ophelia  Ay, my lord.
Hamlet   Do you think I meant country matters?
Ophelia  I think nothing, my lord.
Hamlet   That’s a fair thought to lie between maid’s legs.
Ophelia   What is, my lord?
Hamlet    Nothing.
Ophelia   You are merry, my lord.  
Hamlet    Who, I?
Ophelia   Ay, my lord.

Quotations

“Do you know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember nothing?” 
— T. S. Eliot, “The Waste Land”

“At the still point, there the dance is.” 
— T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets

“I know what ‘nothing’ means….”
— Maria Wyeth in Play It As It Lays

“How do you solve a problem like Maria?”
— Oscar Hammerstein II

“…problems can be solved by manipulating just two symbols, 1 and 0….” 
— George Johnson, obituary of Claude Shannon

“The female and the male continue this charming dance, populating the world with all living beings.” 
— Leonard Shlain, The Alphabet Versus the Goddess,
    Penguin Arkana paperback, 1999, Chapter 17,
    “Lingam/Yoni” 

“According to Showalter’s essay*, ‘In Elizabethan slang, ‘nothing’ was a term for the female genitalia . . . what lies between maids’ legs, for, in the male visual system of representation and desire…. Ophelia’s story becomes the Story of O — the zero, the empty circle or mystery of feminine difference, the cipher of female sexuality to be deciphered by feminist interpretation.’ (222)* Ophelia is a highly sexual being…”

— Leigh DiAngelo,
   Ophelia as a Sexual Being

S. H. Cullinane: “No shit, Sherlock.”

*Showalter, Elaine. “Representing Ophelia: Women, Madness, and the Responsibilities of Feminist Criticism.” Hamlet. Ed. Susanne L. Wofford. Boston: Bedford Books of St.Martin’s Press, 1994. 220-238.

Dénouement

Is that nothing between your legs
or are you just happy to see me?


See also The Ya-Ya Monologues.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Thursday December 12, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:14 PM

Play It

From a Kol Nidre sermon:

“…in every generation 36 righteous
greet the Shechinah,
   the Divine Presence…” 

A scene at the Sands in Las Vegas,
from Play It As It Lays,
by Joan Didion:

“What do you think,”
Maria could hear
one of the men saying….

“Thirty-six,” the girl said. 
“But a good thirty-six.”

For the rest of the time
Maria was in Las Vegas
she wore dark glasses.
She did not decide to
stay in Vegas: she only
failed to leave.

Today’s site music, in honor of
Sinatra’s birthday, is “Angel Eyes.”

Saturday, October 12, 2002

Saturday October 12, 2002

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 3:26 PM

She's a…
Twentieth Century Fox

Columbus Day
Dinner Dance

Date: Sat Oct 12, 2002
Time: 6:30pm-???
Italian American Club
of Southern Nevada

2333 East Sahara Ave.,
Las Vegas, NV 89104
Live music by Boyd Culter's 5-Piece band, prime rib dinner, and dancing at the Italian-American Club of Southern Nevada. All are welcome to attend. Tickets are only $25 and must be purchased in advance.
Cost: $25.00
For More information
Call 457-3866  or visit  
Web Site

In honor of this dance, of Columbus, and of Joan Didion, this site's music for the weekend is "Spinning Wheel."  For the relevance of this music, see Chapter 65 (set in Las Vegas) of Didion's 1970 novel Play It As It Lays, which, taken by itself, is one of the greatest short stories of the twentieth century.

The photograph of Didion on the back cover of Play It (taken when she was about 36) is one of the most striking combinations of beauty and intelligence that I have ever seen.

She's the queen of cool
And she's the lady who waits.
The Doors, "Twentieth Century Fox," Jan. 1967

Play It As It Lays is of philosophical as well as socio-literary interest; it tells of a young actress's struggles with Hollywood nihilism.  For related material, see The Studio by Didion's husband, John Gregory Dunne.  A review of Dunne's book:

"Not since F. Scott Fitzgerald and Nathanael West has anyone done Hollywood better."

High praise indeed.

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