Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Presbyterian Exorcist

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:26 AM

(Backstory— Presbyterian in this journal)

Princeton University Press on a book it will publish in March—

Circles Disturbed  brings together important thinkers in mathematics, history, and philosophy to explore the relationship between mathematics and narrative. The book's title recalls the last words of the great Greek mathematician Archimedes before he was slain by a Roman soldier–"Don't disturb my circles"–words that seem to refer to two radically different concerns: that of the practical person living in the concrete world of reality, and that of the theoretician lost in a world of abstraction. Stories and theorems are, in a sense, the natural languages of these two worlds–stories representing the way we act and interact, and theorems giving us pure thought, distilled from the hustle and bustle of reality. Yet, though the voices of stories and theorems seem totally different, they share profound connections and similarities.

Exercise— Discuss the above paragraph's vulgarity.

Discuss also the more robust vulgarity of Marvel Entertainment

Context— "Marvel" in this journal, and The Cosmic Cube.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ariadne and the Exorcist

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

The title describes two philosophical events (one major, one minor) from the same day— Thursday, July 5, 2007. Some background from 2001:

"Are the finite simple groups, like the prime numbers, jewels strung on an as-yet invisible thread? And will this thread lead us out of the current labyrinthine proof to a radically new proof of the Classification Theorem?" (p. 345)

— Ronald Solomon,  "A Brief History of the Classification of Finite Simple Groups," Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society , Vol. 38 No. 3 (July 2001), pp. 315-352

The major event— On July 5, 2007, Cambridge University Press published Robert T. Curtis's Symmetric Generation of Groups.*

Curtis's book does not purport to lead us out of Solomon's labyrinth, but its publication date may furnish a Jungian synchronistic clue to help in exiting another  nightmare labyrinth— that of postmodernist nominalism.

The minor event— The posting of Their Name is Legion in this journal on July 5, 2007.

* This is the date given by Amazon.co.uk and by BookDepository.com. Other sources give a later July date, perhaps applicable to the book's publication in the U.S. rather than Britain.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Kaleidoscope and Old Lace

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:31 PM

See posts now tagged "Kaleidoscope Society" and, more generally,
a search in this journal for "Kaleidoscope."

Related material —

Photo caption in a news story today:

"Father Gary Thomas attends the premiere of Warner Brothers’
'The Rite' at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, in Los Angeles,
on January 26, 2011. Thomas is holding a special Mass
on Thursday and Saturday [Oct. 18 and 20] to counter
a planned hex on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh."

See as well posts tagged "Rubik Exorcism."

IMAGE- Anthony Hopkins exorcises a Rubik cube

Saturday, April 14, 2018


Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:34 PM

See as well an interview in this evening's online New York Times
by Maureen Dowd with "Exorcist" director William Friedkin —

“I don’t drink,” he says. “I’ve never done drugs.
I’ve never tried grass. But I think Miles Davis
is a reason to live.” 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Mathmagic Land

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 5:45 PM

Continued from yesterday.

From Log24 on July 24, 2014

Later . . .

"Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?"

Manil Suri?

See also The Abacus Conundrum.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Burton Temptation

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:05 PM

The young actress of the previous post in a music video —

The late Richard Burton
in Exorcist: The Heretic

"Been there, done that."

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Here We Go Loop De Lie

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 12:15 PM

Wikipedia on The Exorcist III  (1990),
written and directed by William Peter Blatty —

"Kinderman takes his friend, a priest named Father Dyer,
out to see their mutually favorite film It's a Wonderful Life ."

Related material from an RSS feed at noon —

Funny ha-ha, not funny peculiar.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Elsewhere …

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

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Some Old Philosophy from Rome

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:45 PM

See also Log24 posts from the above reported date of death —
posts now tagged Wittgenstein's Pentagram.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Roll Credits

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:29 AM

Click images for some backstories.




Related material: The Wet Hot Summa.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Ending Credits

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:44 PM

From a search for "snowflake" in this journal —

Thomas Mann on the deathly precision of snowflakes

See also the January 13  death of a mathematician,
graph theorist Ralph Faudree of the University of Memphis.

Two hymns that may or may not be relevant:

Walking in Memphis and Come Falda di Neve,
the song that plays over the ending credits of
Exorcist III —

YouTube ending credits for 'Exorcist III'

Those who prefer more-secular music may consult
Princeton Requiem, a post from the day of Faudree's death.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Roll Credits…

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:00 PM

for Operation Lightfoot .



YouTube ending credits for 'Exorcist III'

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Bottom Line

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:30 PM

The bottom three lines of an image search:

For a meditation on the bottom line, see Mary Gaitskill’s story
“The Agonized Face.” See also George C. Scott reciting from
the Scottish play in The Exorcist III.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Death in Mathmagic Land

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 11:29 AM

(Continued from May 14, 2014.)

See also consciousness growth and the previous post.

Monday, June 16, 2014


Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 1:44 PM

See the January 6, 2014, post For the Padres
as well as Consciousness Growth.

Friday, June 13, 2014

To Walk the Walk and…

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 12:47 PM

The Walk

From last night’s viewing, an image of Africa in 1947 at the end
of the alternate version of  ExorcistThe Beginning ,
also starring Stellan Skarsgård—

The Talk

From this morning’s reading, Macmillan’s 1960 “wind of change” speech—

Former-Day Saint

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:00 AM

From Wikipedia:

Wilf might prefer to be remembered not,
as in Thursday’s post, on the latter day above,
but rather on the former.

Happy birthday, Stellan Skarsgård.

Skarsgård in Exorcist: The Beginning .

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Midnight Exorcism

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

The summoning of the spirit of Bertrand Russell
yesterday by Peter J. Cameron at his weblog
suggests a review of this  weblog’s posts of
Christmas Eve, December 24-25, 2013.

(Recall that Robert D. Carmichael, who, in a book
linked to at midnight last Christmas Eve discusses
some “magic” mathematical structures,
reportedly was trained as a Presbyterian minister.
See also The Presbyterian Exorcist.)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Shining Forth

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:30 PM

Continued from remarks of Marissa Mayer at Davos last year —

Related material — This evening's NY lottery

and Log24 post number 1424 —

IMAGE- 'The Exorcist,' 1973

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Behind the Green Door

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:00 PM

It's 10 PM .


Posts of October 24th—
Love Ghost and Versions
and a version of Plan 9— 

Favicon 9


Related religious meditation—

Irresistible Grace, illustrated by The Girl in the Yellow Dress.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Ninth Configuration

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 2:01 PM

The showmanship of Nicki Minaj at Sunday's
Grammy Awards suggested the above title, 
that of a novel by the author of The Exorcist .

The Ninth Configuration 

The ninth* in a list of configurations—

"There is a (2d-1)d  configuration
  known as the Cox configuration."

MathWorld article on "Configuration"

For further details on the Cox 326 configuration's Levi graph,
a model of the 64 vertices of the six-dimensional hypercube γ6  ,
see Coxeter, "Self-Dual Configurations and Regular Graphs,"
Bull. Amer. Math. Soc.  Vol. 56, pages 413-455, 1950.
This contains a discussion of Kummer's 166 as it 
relates to  γ6  , another form of the 4×4×4 Galois cube.

See also Solomon's Cube.

* Or tenth, if the fleeting reference to 113 configurations is counted as the seventh—
  and then the ninth  would be a 153 and some related material would be Inscapes.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Noon (continued)

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

    This journal on April 8

See also a quote from William Peter Blatty in this journal yesterday.

The green cell in the array may be viewed as representing
Blatty's The Ninth Configuration … or perhaps Plan 9.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

About Souls

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:31 PM

"I do keep wishing— oh, ever so wistfully and— let’s face it, hopelessly— that 'The Exorcist' be remembered at this time of the year for being not about shivers but rather about souls, for then it would indeed be in the real and true spirit of Halloween, which is short for the eve of All Hallows or All Saints Day."

— William Peter Blatty in an article dated October 28, 2011.

See also The Soul's Code, a Log24 post of October 28.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

ART WARS continued

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 1:00 PM

See the signature link in last night's post for a representation of Madison Avenue.

For a representation by  Madison Avenue, see today's New York Times—

IMAGE- Butter-Cow Lady, NY Math Museum, and World-as-Rubik-Cube ad

"As a movement Pop Art came and went in a flash, but it was the kind of flash that left everything changed. The art public was now a different public— larger, to be sure, but less serious, less introspective, less willing or able to distinguish between achievement and its trashy simulacrum. Moreover, everything connected with the life of art— everything, anyway, that might have been expected to offer some resistance to this wholesale vulgarization and demoralization— was now cheapened and corrupted. The museums began their rapid descent into show biz and the retail trade. Their exhibitions were now mounted like Broadway shows, complete with set designers and lighting consultants, and their directors pressed into service as hucksters, promoting their wares in radio and television spots and selling their facilities for cocktail parties and other entertainments, while their so-called education programs likewise degenerated into sundry forms of entertainment and promotion. The critics were co-opted, the art magazines commercialized, and the academy, which had once taken a certain pride in remaining aloof from the blandishments of the cultural marketplace, now proved eager to join the crowd— for there was no longer any standard in the name of which a sellout could be rejected. When the boundary separating art and fashion was breached, so was the dividing line between high art and popular culture, and upon all those institutions and professions which had been painstakingly created to preserve high art from the corruptions of popular culture. The effect was devastating. Some surrendered their standards with greater alacrity than others, but the drift was unmistakable and all in the same direction— and the momentum has only accelerated with the passage of time."

— Hilton Kramer, The Triumph of Modernism: The Art World, 1985-2005 , publ. by Ivan R. Dee on Oct. 26, 2006, pp. 146-147

Related material— Rubik in this journal, Exorcist in this journal, and For the Class of '11.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Crimson Tide…

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:59 PM

A sequel to Wednesday afternoon's post on The Harvard Crimson ,
Atlas Shrugged (illustrated below) —


Related material found today in Wikipedia—

A defense of Rubik by 'Pazouzou'

See also Savage Logic (Oct. 19, 2010), as well as
Stellan Skarsgård in Lie Groups for Holy Week (March 30, 2010)
and in Exorcist: The Beginning (2004).

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Ninth Engraving

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 7:00 PM

For the fictional Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon,
a commentary on the favicon in today's noon post



This is from a novel that was filmed as "The Ninth Gate."

The book and film concern a series of nine engravings.
For all nine, see an excellent analysis by Michael S. Howard in
his journal "Gnostic Essays" on November 20, 2006.

A summary of the engravings—

Click to enlarge.


See also this  journal on that date.

Finishing Up at Noon

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

From last October—

Friday, October 8, 2010

m759 @ 12:00 PM

Starting Out in the Evening
… 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

* The Web version's title has a misprint—
   "living" instead of "lying."

"You've got to pick up every stitch…"

A stitch in time…


Related material—

    This journal on April 8

See also "Putting Mental Health on the Map at Harvard"—

Harvard Crimson , Friday, April 8, 2011, 2:09 AM—

They're outside the Science Center with their signs, their cheer, and their smiles. They've been introducing themselves over House lists, and they want you to ask questions. They're here for you. They're the Student Mental Heath Liaisons.

Harvard's SMHL crewthey pronounce it smilehave recently launched a new website and recruited more members in their effort to foster an informed and understanding environment on campus….

Mental Health Services, SMHL said, are not meant for "students who are really 'crazy.'" Everyone is entitled to a little help smiling.


Friday, April 8, 2011


Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Roberta Smith in today's New York Times

"… the argument that painting may ultimately be about
little more than the communication of some quality of
light and space, however abstract or indirect."

— Review of "Rooms With a View" at the Met

Lowry —


Malcolm Lowry, author of Under the Volcano

Hollywood —


Related material —

Friday, October 8, 2010

m759 @ 12:00 PM

Starting Out in the Evening
… 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

* The Web version's title has a misprint—
   "living" instead of "lying."

"You've got to pick up every stitch…"

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Hanukkah Continues —

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 9:29 AM

Dan Brown Meets
The Exorcist

The 973 Code


Baphomet with Ouroboros Pendant

$140  Code: 973


Meanwhile, our hero…


goes to the movies.

In this production, Jeff Goldblum is played by
David Ben-Zvi of the University of Texas at Austin
Geometry Research Group


Click Ben-Zvi for further narrative.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday June 16, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 9:00 PM
Bloomsday for Nash:
The Revelation Game

(American Mathematical Society Feb. 2008
review of Steven Brams’s Superior Beings:
If They Exist, How Would We Know?)

(pdf, 15 megabytes)

“Brams does not attempt to prove or disprove God. He uses elementary ideas from game theory to create situations between a Person (P) and God (Supreme Being, SB) and discusses how each reacts to the other in these model scenarios….

In the ‘Revelation Game,’ for example, the Person (P) has two options:
1) P can believe in SB’s existence
2) P can not believe in SB’s existence
The Supreme Being also has two options:
1) SB can reveal Himself
2) SB can not reveal Himself

Each player also has a primary and secondary goal. For the Person, the primary goal is to have his belief (or non-belief) confirmed by evidence (or lack thereof). The secondary goal is to ‘prefer to believe in SB’s existence.’ For the Supreme Being, the primary goal is to have P believe in His existence, while the secondary goal is to not reveal Himself. These goals allow us to rank all the outcomes for each player from best (4) to worst (1). We end up with a matrix as follows (the first number in the parentheses represents the SB’s ranking for that box; the second number represents P’s ranking):

Revelation Game payoff matrix

The question we must answer is: what is the Nash equilibrium in this case?”


Lotteries on
June 16,
(No revelation)
New York
(No belief)

The Exorcist

No belief,
no revelation


4x4x4 cube summarizing geometry of the I Ching

without belief


Human Conflict Number Five album by The 10,000 Maniacs

Belief without


(A Cheap

Black disc from end of Ch. 17 of Ulysses

Belief and

The holy image

Black disc from end of Ch. 17 of Ulysses

denoting belief and revelation
may be interpreted as
a black hole or as a
symbol by James Joyce:


Going to dark bed there was a square round Sinbad the Sailor roc’s auk’s egg in the night of the bed of all the auks of the rocs of Darkinbad the Brightdayler.


Black disc from end of Ch. 17 in Ulysses

Ulysses, conclusion of Chapter 17

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday April 13, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:23 PM
King Friday XIII
and friend:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070413-FridayXVIII.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

NPR : TV Host Fred Rogers

Mr. ROGERS: And so his birthday, King Friday’s birthday, is always every Friday the 13th. And I hear from people all over the world, you know, it’s a joyous


For further details,
click here.

See also
The Presbyterian Exorcist.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Sunday November 5, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:00 PM
The Hermeneutics
of Chance

“… as Genevieve W. Foster has shown in her Jungian analysis, the eyes, the rose, and the star are equivalent to the ‘Grail’ of The Waste Land.”

—  Grover Smith, T.S. Eliot’s Poetry and Plays: A Study in Sources and Meaning. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1956

The Grail also appears in legend as a stone–

From a Nov. 6, 2006, entry in the New Zealand weblog Arcadian Functor:

“Many modern Grail stories have a root in the early romances of von Eschenbach….

They live from a Stone whose essence is most pure. If you have never heard of it I shall name it for you here. It is called Lapsit exillis.

A search on “lapsit exillis” leads to “Cubic Stones from the Sky“…

These stones are often seen as the Holy Grail….

PA lottery Nov. 5, 2006: Midday 804 Evening 008

For 804, see
   8/04 —
The Presbyterian Exorcist
(in part a tribute to
Wallace Stevens).

For 008 and a
“cubic stone,”
Christmas 2005.

A poetic connection between the star
  of “The Hollow Men” and Christmas
is furnished by the remarks of
Wallace Stevens linked to in
the previous entry from
  the word “information.”

Monday, September 18, 2006

Monday September 18, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:00 PM
Movie Date

Taking Christ to the Movies,
by Anna Megill, Princeton ’06

Related material:

Prepare for the Weirdness.”
— Hunter S. Thompson
(see entry of Sept. 17,
At Midnight),

The Presbyterian Exorcist,

NBC’s “Crazy Christians” Show
(or, “Taking Christ to Studio 60“)
10 PM ET tonight on NBC.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tuesday August 29, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:09 PM
Hollywood Birthday

William Friedkin,
director of
The Guardian,
The Birthday Party,
and The Exorcist.

Related material:

Yesterday’s entry on St. Augustine
and the life of
Robert J. O’Connell, S.J.,
author of
Plato on the Human Paradox,
Fordham U. Press, 1997,
online at questia.com.

See also today’s entry at noon.

Friday, August 4, 2006

Friday August 4, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:01 AM

The Presbyterian Exorcist

In memory of

Charles W. Dunn, Harvard Professor of Celtic Languages and Literatures Emeritus, who died July 24, 2006, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston at the age of 90.  Dunn was master of Quincy House from 1966 to 1981.

“‘He brought a taste of Scotland to the House, initiating an annual rite of exorcism in September to cleanse the place of evil spirits, during which a Scots bagpiper led a march of residents around the courtyard and Charles intoned an incantation while waving a large baton, banishing ghosts and other harbingers of ill will. His leadership was at its best during magnificent evenings in the Master’s lodging when he taught guests Scottish country dances. Students were fond of him, and he of them.’

Born in Arbuthnott, Scotland, the son of a Presbyterian minister, Dunn began his schooling in Aberdeen and Edinburgh….”

Harvard University Gazette online, Aug. 2, 2006

Related material:

In Memory of Wallace Stevens,
Presbyterian Saint

(also from Aug. 2, 2006),
and Deaconess.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Wednesday August 24, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 AM

High Concept, continued:

“In the beginning there was nothing.
 And God said, ‘Let there be light!’
 And there was still nothing,
 but now you could see it.

— Jim Holt, Big-Bang Theology,
    Slate‘s “High Concept” department

Related material:

  1. On the phrase “verbum mentis”
  2. From Satan’s Rhetoric, by Armando Maggi
    (University of Chicago Press, 2001):
Page 110:

“In chapter I I explained that devils first and foremost exist as semioticians of the world’s signs.  Devils solely live in their interpretations, in their destructive syllogisms.  As Visconti puts it, devils speak the idiom of the mind.37  …. The exorcist’s healing voice states that Satan has always been absent from the world, that his disturbing and unclear manifestations in the possessed person’s physicality are really nonexistent occurrences, nothing but disturbances of the mind, since evil itself is a lack of being.”   

Footnote 37, page 110:

“It is necessary to distinguish the devils’ ‘language of the mind’ and Augustine’s verbum mentis (word of the mind), as he theorizes it first of all in On the Trinity (book 15).  The devils’ language of the mind disturbs the subject’s internal and preverbal discourse.”

Friday, July 22, 2005

Friday July 22, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:57 PM

For Louise Fletcher
on her birthday

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05A/050722-Fletcher.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Fletcher in
Exorcist II: The Heretic

From Andrew Delbanco, the author of
The Death of Satan:

How Americans Have Lost the Sense of Evil:

“A couple of years ago, in an article explaining how funds for faculty positions are allocated in American universities, the provost of the University of California at Berkeley offered some frank advice to department chairs, whose job partly consists of lobbying for a share of the budget.  ‘On every campus,’ she wrote, ‘there is one department whose name need only be mentioned to make people laugh; you don’t want that department to be yours.’   The provost, Carol Christ (who retains her faculty position as a literature professor), does not name the offender—but everyone knows that if you want to locate the laughingstock on your local campus these days, your best bet is to stop by the English department.”

Andrew Delbanco in
   The New York Review of Books, Nov. 4, 1999


The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05A/050722-Christ.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Click on picture for details.

For Christ in a different context,
see the 9/11 entry of Log24
in a September 2003 archive.

For exorcism in a different context, see
Exorcism and Multiple Personality Disorder
from a Catholic Perspective
by Fr. J. Mahoney.

“Got to keep the loonies on the path.”
Roger Waters

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Saturday March 12, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:28 PM

See The Meaning of 3:16 (2/28/05),

The Death of George Scott (March 9, 2005),

Is Nothing Sacred? (March 9, 2000), and

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/040629-BigNothing.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The Exorcist Revisited (July 2, 2004).

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/040702-Exorcist.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

For the hidden spiritual meaning
of 3:16, see
March First, 2005
and the upcoming
Ides of March album,

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050312-AtomBomb.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Atom Bomb.

Friday, July 2, 2004

Friday July 2, 2004

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:00 AM

Is Nothing Sacred?


From a review in today’s

New York Times

of an L.A. art exhibit,

“Beyond Geometry”

By Michael Kimmelman
in Los Angeles

The roots of this work go back to Duchamp, the abiding spirit of “Beyond Geometry.” When he acquired his porcelain urinal in 1917 from a plumbing equipment manufacturer on lower Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, signed it R. Mutt and submitted the now infamous “Fountain” to the Society of Independent Artists exhibition, he set the stage for nearly every subsequent attempt to blur the difference between art and everyday life.

This was the great breakthrough of modernism or the end of culture as we know it, depending on your perspective. Either way, after Duchamp, as the artist Joseph Kosuth has put it, all art became conceptual.

Duchamp predicted that even a breath might end up being called a work of art, and he was right. Gilbert and George started calling their performances sculptures in the 70’s. Chris Burden, James Lee Byars and others said that their actions were sculptures. Smithson declared derelict factories and suburbs to be sculptures. Artists even made light, the ultimate intangible, into sculpture.

The show includes sculptures by Richard Serra and Barnett Newman. I recall Mr. Serra once talking about how Barnett Newman’s paintings invite you to walk past them, to experience them not in a single glance but over time, physically. He said the paintings, with their vertical stripes, or “zips,” are “about dividing and placing spaces next to one another, not about illusionism.”

“They’re great when you have to walk by them and immerse yourself in the divisions of their spaces,” he added. Meaning, they’re like sculptures.

Nomenclature is not the point. What matters is the ethos of countercultural disruption, looking at the world and art through the other end of the telescope, which is the heart of “Beyond Geometry” and the appeal of its best works to young artists.

Now is the time to put this period of postwar tumult into global perspective. The show here is a useful step in that direction.

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia,
other art events:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/040702-Nothing.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

(Click on logo for details.)

The reader may determine whether the Philadelphia nothing is the sort of nothing deemed, by some, sacred in my note of March 9, 2000.

I personally have a very low opinion of Kimmelman and his “ethos of countercultural disruption.”  The sort of light sculpture his words evoke is not that of the Pantheon (illustrated in an entry for St. Peter’s Day) but that of the current Philadelphia “Big Nothing” show, which in turn reminds me of that classic 1973 Hollywood art exhibit, The Exorcist:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/040702-Exorcist.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Saturday, August 9, 2003

Saturday August 9, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:07 PM

Beware of…
Jews Peddling Stories:

An episode in the ongoing saga of the conflict between the "story theory of truth" and the "diamond theory of truth."

The following set of pictures summarizes some reflections on truth and reality suggested by the August 9, 2003, New York Times obituary of writer William Woolfolk, who died on July 20, 2003.

Woolfolk was the author of The Sex Goddess and was involved in the production of the comic book series The Spirit (see below).

The central strategy of the three Semitic religions — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — is to pretend that we are all characters in a story whose author is God.  This strategy suggests the following Trinity, based on the work of William Woolfolk (The Sex Goddess and The Spirit) and Steven Spielberg ("Catch Me If You Can").  Like other Semitic tales, the story of this Trinity should not be taken too seriously.


William Woolfolk
Woolfolk as
a Jewish God

The Sex Goddess
Woolfolk's Story


Martin Sheen in Catch Me If You Can
The Father as
a Lutheran God


Amy Adams in Catch Me If You Can
The Father's

DiCaprio as a doctor
The Son

DiCaprio and Adams
The Son's Story

Amy Adams, star of Catch Me If You Can
The Holy

The Spirit, 1942
The Holy
Spirit's Story


A Confession of Faith:

Theology Based On the Film
"Catch Me If You Can":

The Son to God the Lutheran Father:

"I'm nothing really, just a kid in love with your daughter."

This is taken from a review of "Catch Me If You Can" by Thomas S. Hibbs.

For some philosophical background to this confession, see Hibbs's book

Shows About Nothing:
Nihilism in Popular Culture
from The Exorcist to Seinfeld

By the way, today is the anniversary of the dropping on Nagasaki
of a made-in-USA Weapon of Mass Destruction, a plutonium bomb
affectionately named Fat Man.

Fat Man was a sequel to an earlier Jewish story,


Thursday, April 24, 2003

Thursday April 24, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:33 AM


Shortly after midnight on the night of April 22-23, I updated my entry for Shakespeare's birthday with the following quotation: 

"With a little effort, anything can be shown to connect with anything else: existence is infinitely cross-referenced."

Opening sentence of Martha Cooley's The Archivist

About 24 hours later, I came across the following obituary in The New York Times: 

"Edgar F. Codd, a mathematician and computer scientist who laid the theoretical foundation for relational databases, the standard method by which information is organized in and retrieved from computers, died on Friday…. He was 79."

The Times does not mention that the Friday it refers to is Good  Friday.  God will  have his little jokes.

From Computerworld.com:

1969: Edgar F. "Ted" Codd invents the relational database.
1969: Edgar F. "Ted" Codd invents the relational database.

1969: Edgar F. “Ted” Codd invents the relational database.

1973: Cullinane, led by John J. Cullinane, ships IDMS, a network-model database for IBM mainframes.

1976: Honeywell ships Multics Relational Data Store, the first commercial relational database.

For a better (and earlier) obituary than the Times's, see The San Jose Mercury News of Easter Sunday.  For some thoughts on death and the afterlife appropriate to last weekend, see The Matthias Defense.

The Exorcist, 1973

Friday, April 18, 2003

Friday April 18, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 1:17 PM

To the Society of Jesus (also known as the Jesuits):

Have a Good Friday, Traitors

Prompted by Pilate’s question “What is truth?” and by my March 24 attack on Noam Chomsky, I decided this afternoon to further investigate what various people have written about Chomsky’s posing of what he calls “Plato’s problem” and “Orwell’s problem.”  The former concerns linguistics, the latter, politics.  As my March 24 entry indicates, I have nothing but contempt for both Chomsky’s linguistics and Chomsky’s politics.  What I discovered this afternoon is that Georgetown University, a Jesuit institution, in 2001 appointed a Chomskyite, David W. Lightfoot, as Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

“Why do we know so much more than we have evidence for in certain areas, and so much less in others? In tackling these questions — Plato’s and Orwell’s problem — Chomsky again demonstrates his unequalled capacity to integrate vast amounts of material.” — David W. Lightfoot, review of Chomsky’s Knowledge of Language

What, indeed, is truth?  I doubt that the best answer can be learned from either the Communist sympathizers of MIT or the “Red Mass” leftists of Georgetown.  For a better starting point than either of these institutions, see my note of April 6, 2001, Wag the Dogma.

See, too, In Principio Erat Verbum, which notes that “numbers go to heaven who know no more of God on earth than, as it were, of sun in forest gloom.”

Since today is the anniversary of the death of MIT mathematics professor Gian-Carlo Rota, an example of “sun in forest gloom” seems the best answer to Pilate’s question on this holy day.  See

The Shining of May 29.

“Examples are the stained glass windows of knowledge.” — Vladimir Nabokov


Motto of Plato’s Academy

The Exorcist, 1973

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