Thursday, February 4, 2010

Requiem for a Force–

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 3:30 PM

Where Three Worlds Meet

Venn diagram of three sets

From an obituary for David Brown, who died at 93 on Monday–

"David Brown was a force in the entertainment, literary and journalism worlds," Frank A. Bennack, Jr., vice chairman and chief executive officer of Hearst Corporation, said in a statement Tuesday. —Polly Anderson of the Associated Press

Mark Kramer, "Breakable Rules for Literary Journalists," Section 8–

"Readers are likely to care about how a situation came about and what happens next when they are experiencing it with the characters. Successful literary journalists never forget to be entertaining. The graver the writer's intentions, and the more earnest and crucial the message or analysis behind the story, the more readers ought to be kept engaged. Style and structure knit story and idea alluringly.

If the author does all this storytelling and digressing and industrious structure-building adroitly, readers come to feel they are heading somewhere with purpose, that the job of reading has a worthy destination. The sorts of somewheres that literary journalists reach tend to marry eternal meanings and everyday scenes. Richard Preston's 'The Mountains of Pi,' for instance, links the awkward daily lives of two shy Russian emigre mathematicians to their obscure intergalactic search for hints of underlying order in a chaotic universe."


Logic is all about the entertaining of possibilities.”

— Colin McGinn, Mindsight: Image, Dream, Meaning, Harvard U. Press, 2004

"According to the Buddha, scholars speak in sixteen ways of the state of the soul after death…. While I hesitate to disagree with the Compassionate One, I think there are more than sixteen possibilities described here…."

Peter J. Cameron today

"That's entertainment!"

Jack Haley Jr.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Wednesday March 14, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:00 AM

“‘It is a very difficult philosophical question, the question of what “random” is,’ he said. He plucked the rubber band with his thumb, boink, boink.”

— Herbert Robbins in Richard Preston’s “The Mountains of Pi” (The New Yorker, March 2, 1992)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tuesday December 12, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:22 AM
The State of Grace,
Author of

Today’s Harvard Crimson:

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The texts in question are said
to be manuscripts of
Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote,”
and “The Library of Babel.”

The latter deals (like
The Mountains of Pi“)
with literature that can
be seen as the result
of a random process–
such as the lottery in
another story by Borges.

A less sinister lottery
is that of Pennsylvania–
known to some as
 “the Keystone State.”
I prefer to think of it as
the State of Grace.”

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Click on picture for details.

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The “NITE” number 108 leads us
naturally to 1/08:

 Sunday, January 08, 2006

For Stephen Hawking’s Birthday

Epigraphs to the classic novel Cosmic Banditos:

God does not play dice with the universe. –Albert Einstein

Not only does God play dice with the universe, but sometimes he throws them where they cannot be seen. –Stephen Hawking

Today’s Pennsylvania Lottery numbers:

Mid-day 722 7/22, Feast of St. Mary Magdalene.
Evening 399 Page 399, Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations of 1919.


This (and yesterday’s “DAY” number 133)
suggests we consult page 133 of
Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations
of 1919.  At the top of this
page we find…

“O day and night,
but this is wondrous strange!”

Hamlet, Act I, Scene 5

Another figure from 1/08,
St. Mary Magdalene, might,
adapting the words of Borges,
offer the following observation:

“Shakespeare’s text and the lottery’s
are verbally identical, but the second
is almost infinitely richer.
(More ambiguous, detractors will
  say, but ambiguity is richness.)”

Related material: 11/22.

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