Friday, February 19, 2016

Marissa Mayer News

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:45 AM

"Have you ever thought about
 the properties of numbers?"

 — "The Maiden" in Shaw's
 Back to Methuselah , quoted in
 the Fritz Leiber Changewar  story
“No Great Magic” (1963), Part V

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Big Time

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 12:00 PM

The following post suggests the Spiders and Snakes of Fritz Leiber’s
Changewar , a mythology inspired by the hallucinations of delirium tremens .

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mathematics and Narrative (continued)

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:30 AM

See Snakes on a Projective Plane  by Andrew Spann (Sept. 26, 2006):

'Snakes on a Plane' cartoon

Click image for some related posts.

"…what he was trying to get across was not that he was the Soldier of a Power that was fighting across all of time to change history, but simply that we men were creatures with imaginations and it was our highest duty to try to tell what it was really like to live in other times and places and bodies. Once he said to me, 'The growth of consciousness is everything… the seed of awareness sending its roots across space and time. But it can grow in so many ways, spinning its web from mind to mind like the spider or burrowing into the unconscious darkness like the snake. The biggest wars are the wars of thought.' "

— Fritz Leiber, Changewar , page 22

Monday, January 10, 2011

Big Time*

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 PM

(True Grid continued)

"They're gonna put me in the movies,
They're gonna make a big star out of me…"


“Thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges.”  
Twelfth Night ,
Act V, Sc. I  [text]

See also this journal on Twelfth Night, 2011.

* Background:

   The Changewar stories of Fritz Leiber, including Big Time  and "Damnation Morning."

   The Shakespearean fool of Dec. 30 is also not without relevance.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Starting Out in the Evening

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 12:00 PM

… and Finishing Up at Noon

This post was suggested by last evening’s post on mathematics and narrative
and by Michiko Kakutani on Vargas Llosa in this morning’s New York Times.


Above: Frank Langella in
Starting Out in the Evening

Right: Johnny Depp in
The Ninth Gate


“One must proceed cautiously, for this road— of truth and falsehood in the realm of fiction— is riddled with traps and any enticing oasis is usually a mirage.”

— “Is Fiction the Art of Lying?”* by Mario Vargas Llosa, New York Times  essay of October 7, 1984

My own adventures in that realm— as reader, not author— may illustrate Llosa’s remark.

A nearby stack of paperbacks I haven’t touched for some months (in order from bottom to top)—

  1. Pale Rider by Alan Dean Foster
  2. Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
  3. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
  4. Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry
  5. Literary Reflections by James A. Michener
  6. The Ninth Configuration by William Peter Blatty
  7. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
  8. Nine Stories by J. D. Salinger
  9. A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
  10. The Tempest by William Shakespeare
  11. Being There by Jerzy Kosinski
  12. What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson
  13. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
  14. A Gathering of Spies by John Altman
  15. Selected Poems by Robinson Jeffers
  16. Hook— Tinkerbell’s Challenge by Tristar Pictures
  17. Rising Sun by Michael Crichton
  18. Changewar by Fritz Leiber
  19. The Painted Word by Tom Wolfe
  20. The Hustler by Walter Tevis
  21. The Natural by Bernard Malamud
  22. Truly Tasteless Jokes by Blanche Knott
  23. The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton
  24. Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry

What moral Vargas Llosa might draw from the above stack I do not know.

Generally, I prefer the sorts of books in a different nearby stack. See Sisteen, from May 25. That post the fanciful reader may view as related to number 16 in the above list. The reader may also relate numbers 24 and 22 above (an odd couple) to By Chance, from Thursday, July 22.

* The Web version’s title has a misprint— “living” instead of “lying.”

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thursday October 30, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:01 AM
From the Mountaintop

Katherine Neville, author of perhaps the greatest bad novel of the twentieth century, The Eight, has now graced a new century with her sequel, titled The Fire. An excerpt:

“Our family lodge had been built at about this same period in the prior century, by neighboring tribes, for my great-great-grandmother, a pioneering mountain lass. Constructed of hand-hewn rock and massive tree trunks chinked together, it was a huge log cabin that was shaped like an octagon– patterned after a hogan or sweat lodge– with many-paned windows facing in each cardinal direction, like a vast, architectural compass rose.
From here on the mountaintop, fourteen thousand feet atop the Colorado Plateau, I could see the vast, billowing sea of three-mile-high mountain peaks, licked by the rosy morning light. On a clear day like this, I could see all the way to Mount Hesperus– which the Diné call Dibé Nitsaa: Black Mountain. One of the four sacred mountains created by First Man and First Woman.

Together with Sisnaajinii, white mountain (Mt. Blanca) in the east; Tsoodzil, blue mountain (Mt. Taylor) in the south, and Dook’o’osliid, yellow mountain (San Francisco Peaks) in the west, these four marked out the four corners of Dinétah– ‘Home of the Diné,’ as the Navajo call themselves.

And they pointed as well to the high plateau I was standing on: Four Corners, the only place in the U.S. where four states– Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona– come together at right angles to form a cross.”

Related material
(Oct. 14, 2004):

The Eight

Lest the reader of the previous entry mistakenly take Katherine Neville’s book The Eight more seriously than Fritz Leiber’s greatly superior writings on eightness, here are two classic interpretations of Leiber’s “spider” or “double cross” symbol:

Greek: The Four Elements

The 4 elements and
the 4 qualities
(On Generation and
Corruption, II, 3

Chinese: The Eight Trigrams

Richard Wilhelm:
The 8 trigrams
the I Ching

The eight-rayed star may be taken
as representing what is known
in philosophy as a “universal.”

See also

The Divine Universals,

Plato, Pegasus, and the Evening Star,

A Little Extra Reading, and

Quine in Purgatory.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tuesday February 19, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:00 AM

Cuneiform An (Sky) and Dingir (God, Goddess)

An: sky, heaven
digir (dingir): god, goddess

“The sigil was an eight-limbed
 asterisk made of fine dark lines,,,,
An X superimposed on a plus sign.
It looked permanent.”

— Fritz Leiber,
“Damnation Morning,”
1959 short story
in Changewar

Leiber, Changewar, Ace edition, 1983

Ace edition, May 1, 1983

Friday, August 3, 2007

Friday August 3, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:09 PM
From August 1


Restoring the Faith
After Hitting the Bottom

The New York Times
Published: August 1, 2007

What good is a nadir if it’s denied or ignored? What’s the value of reaching the lowest of the low if it can’t buy a cheap epiphany?

The following image
represents an epiphany
of sorts:
 The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07A/070803-BrightStar.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
It contains the
“double cross” symbol
of Fritz Leiber’s
Changewar stories;
the “double cross” is
also the traditional
eight-ray symbol of
the evening star–
the planet Venus.
Epiphanies due to Venus
are indeed sometimes
cheap… but not always.

For further details, see


Friday, August 4, 2006

Friday August 4, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:00 PM
The Double Cross

The following symbol
has been associated
with the date
December 1:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060804-DWA2.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Click on the symbol
for details.

That date is connected
to today’s date since
Dec. 1 is the feast
i.e., the deathday– of
a saint of mathematics:
G. H. Hardy, author of
the classic
A Mathematician’s Apology
(online, pdf, 52 pp. ),
while today is the birthday
of three less saintly
mathematical figures:
Sir William Rowan Hamilton,

For these birthdays, here is
a more cheerful version of
the above symbol:

The image “http://www.log24.com/theory/images/PeirceBox.bmp” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

For the significance of
this version, see
Chinese Jar Revisited
(Log24, June 27, 2006),
a memorial to mathematician
Irving Kaplansky
(student of Mac Lane).

This version may be regarded
as a box containing the
cross of St. Andrew.
If we add a Greek cross
(equal-armed) to the box,
we obtain the “spider,”
or “double cross,” figure

The image “http://www.log24.com/theory/images/PeirceSpider.bmp” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

of my favorite mythology:
Fritz Leiber’s Changewar.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Wednesday October 13, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:56 PM

Show Business
according to Fritz Leiber

(Leiber's "Changewar" is my
favorite mythology.)

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

From the Changewar story
"No Great Magic" (1963) Part V:

Even little things are
turning out to be great things
and becoming intensely interesting.
Have you ever thought about
the properties of numbers?

— The Maiden

"I've had this idea– it's just a sort of fancy, remember– that if you wanted to time-travel and, well, do things, you could hardly pick a more practical machine than a dressing-room and a sort of stage and half-theater attached, with actors to man it…."

For the remainder of this section
of Leiber's story, see

Show Business.

Related material:
The previous entry,
The Eight, and
Now We See Wherein
Lies the Pleasure

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Sunday October 26, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:17 AM


Trotsky’s Birthday

Part I:

From my entry of July 26, 2003, in memory
of Marathon Man director John Schlesinger:

Bright Star and Dark Lady

“Mexico is a solar country — but it is also a black country, a dark country. This duality of Mexico has preoccupied me since I was a child.”

Octavio Paz,
quoted by Homero Aridjis

Bright Star


Dark Lady

For the meaning of the above symbols, see
Kubrick’s 1x4x9 monolith in 2001,
the Halmos tombstone in Measure Theory,
and the Fritz Leiber Changewar stories.

No se puede vivir sin amar.

Part II:
Sunday in the Park with Death

  To Leon from Diego —
Details of a mural,
A Dream of a Sunday Afternoon
in Alameda Park,
Fresco, 1947-48,
Alameda Hotel, Mexico City:

Three’s a Crowd:


Thursday, August 7, 2003

Thursday August 7, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:45 AM

Morning Flight

I’m working on a morning flight to anywhere but here….

It’s not the way you say you hear my heart
when the music ends
I am just learning how to fly away again”

— Nanci Griffith on KHYI.com, 6:45 AM

Click on the above yantra for deeper meditations from May 24 and 25, 2003.

See entries of June 10-14, 2003, for more on the symbolism of the above figure’s central two triangles, which represent Shiva and Kali united.  For the symbolism of the eight petals, see the eight-ray star of Venus in my Oct. 23, 2002, entry.  This is one interpretation of the eightfold “Spider” symbol

which plays a major role in the Changewar stories of Fritz Leiber (my favorite mythology).  This symbol, like the two-triangles symbol at the center of the eight-petal lotus above, represents “Shiva and Kali united in love,” according to Leiber. (See my journal note “Biblical Proportions,” written on this date in 1997.)

For a Christian perspective on the Spider symbol, see Quine in Purgatory.

For a different religious perspective on the two-triangles symbol in the lotus, see

You Don’t Look Buddhist,

Suzanne Takes You Down, and

Satori at Pearl Harbor.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Saturday July 26, 2003

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 5:29 AM

Funeral March

John Schlesinger dead at 77;
‘Midnight Cowboy’ director

Anthony Breznican
Associated Press
Jul. 26, 2003 12:00 AM

LOS ANGELES – Oscar-winning director John Schlesinger, who daringly brought gay characters into mainstream cinema with Midnight Cowboy and tapped into nightmares with the teeth-drilling torture of Marathon Man, died Friday at 77.

The British-born filmmaker…. died about 5:30 a.m….

Schlesinger also directed The Day of the Locust, based on a novel by Nathanael West.

See Heaven, Hell, and Hollywood and

Dogma Part II: Amores Perros.

From the latter:

“Then you know your body’s sent,
Don’t care if you don’t pay rent,
Sky is high and so am I,
If you’re a viper — a vi-paah.”

The Day of the Locust,
    by Nathanael West (1939),
    New Directions paperback,
    1969, page 162

This song may be downloaded at

Pot Culture, 1910-1960.

That same site begins with a traditional Mexican song…

La cucaracha, la cucaracha,
 ya no puede caminar,
 porque no quiere,
 porque le falta
 marihuana que fumar.

(“The cockroach, the cockroach,
 can’t walk anymore,
 because he doesn’t want to,
 because he has no
 marihuana to smoke.”)

This suggests an appropriate funeral march for John Schlesinger:

“Ya murió la cucaracha, ya la llevan a enterrar…”La Cucaracha

Those attending Schlesinger’s wake, as opposed to his funeral, may wish to perform other numbers from the Pot Culture page, which offers a variety of “viper” songs.

Bright Star and Dark Lady

“Mexico is a solar country — but it is also a black country, a dark country. This duality of Mexico has preoccupied me since I was a child.”

Octavio Paz,
quoted by Homero Aridjis

Bright Star



Dark Lady

For the meaning of the above symbols, see
Kubrick’s 1x4x9 monolith in 2001,
the Halmos tombstone in Measure Theory,
and the Fritz Leiber Changewar stories.

No se puede vivir sin amar.

Concluding Unscientific Postscript:

Oh, yes… the question of
Heaven or Hell for John Schlesinger… 

Recall that he also directed the delightful
Cold Comfort Farm and see
last year’s entry for this date.

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