Then It Got Weird
Dr. X posts this from his lead-lined Polonium shelter:
"I repeat, do not panic."
Confounding the calumniators and apostates
Dr. X posts this from his lead-lined Polonium shelter:
Dr. X posts this from a good Cantonese restaurant:
With usura hath no man a house of good stone
each block cut smooth and well fitting
that design might cover their face,
hath no man a painted paradise on his church wall
harpes et luthes
or where virgin receiveth message
and halo projects from incision,
seeth no man Gonzaga his heirs and his concubines
no picture is made to endure nor to live with
but it is made to sell and sell quickly
with usura, sin against nature,
is thy bread ever more of stale rags
is thy bread dry as paper,
with no mountain wheat, no strong flour
with usura the line grows thick
with usura is no clear demarcation
and no man can find site for his dwelling
Stone cutter is kept from his stone
weaver is kept from his loom
wool comes not to market
sheep bringeth no grain with usura
Usura is a murrain, usura
blunteth the needle in the the maid's hand
and stoppeth the spinner's cunning. Pietro Lombardo
came not by usura
Duccio came not by usura
nor Pier della Francesca; Zuan Bellin' not by usura
nor was "La Callunia" painted.
Came not by usura Angelico; came not Ambrogio Praedis,
Came no church of cut stone signed: Adamo me fecit.
Not by usura St. Trophime
Not by usura St. Hilaire,
Usura rusteth the chisel
It rusteth the craft and the craftsman
It gnaweth the thread in the loom
None learneth to weave gold in her pattern;
Azure hath a canker by usura; cramoisi is unbroidered
Emerald findeth no Memling
Usura slayeth the child in the womb
It stayeth the young man's courting
It hath brought palsey to bed, lyeth
between the young bride and her bridegroom
They have brought whores for Eleusis
Corpses are set to banquet
at behest of usura.
Dr. X posts this from the Hoover Institution at Stanford. (The building now has some rich guy's name on it - apparently Herbert couldn't keep up the payments):
"I thought him exceptional for two reasons, both unrelated to his achievements in positive economics and the political arena. First, he was clear in his arguments (e.g., "inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon" or "the social responsibility of business is to make money"). You can say he was proven wrong on various points, but at least he formulated his arguments so subsequent work could prove or falsify them. You'd be surprised how few economists are willing to do this.
Second, he was civil, despite being the target of more than a few ad hominem arguments over the course of his career. Arch-Rival Paul Samuelson says: 'I've known Milton and Rose Friedman for 65 years. We have had considerable differences on policy. We have had considerable agreement on analytical matters. Knowing that differences on policy and ideology often poison and taint personal relations, I think we should both be admired for the friendship and civility we maintained over all these years.'
"Here is one of my favorite stories about Friedman:
" 'Reportedly, while traveling by car during one of his many overseas travels, Friedman spotted scores of road builders moving earth with shovels. When he asked why powerful equipment wasn’t used instead of so many laborers, his host told him it was to keep unemployment low. If they used tractors, fewer people would have jobs was his host’s logic. "Then why don’t you give them spoons?" Friedman inquired.' "
Dr. X posts this from that check cashing place in Daly City:
Now that we are firing up robot brains better at stock-picking than humans, thanks to another fairly loathsome cyber-eugenicist, one might ask:
Dr. X posts this from the NFL Statistical Service in Vatican City:
Dr. X posts this from the LCI Studios:
Dr. X posts this from HR:
Dr. X posts this from the Department of Epistemological Uncertainty at the Center for Atheism:
"All most praiseworthy, and all the richer for the interaction between Glass and the born-again interviewees, most of whom are pretty sure he is going straight to Hell with the rest of the Israelites.
"And this goes back to the exclusivity claims of religion. Pentecostals see the world in black and white - you're either one of them, or you're in for eternal Hellfire. And this is what broke the back of Pearson's fundamentalist faith. Contemplating the horrors of Rwanda, he found himself in a conversation with God. The upshot of which was: no one is going to Hell. The world, horrific, corrupt, irredeemable, is already saved.
"From the show I cannot quite figure where Pearson landed as he fell on the road. I think he is basically now a Pure Land Buddhist. Pearson asks if a Tibetan monk, who spends his life praying and herding goats, is really condemned to eternal suffering. Of course not - the Christian idea of Hell falls apart under this scrutiny. Hell is what you use to scare people into loyalty - it has no metaphysical logic, unless you happen to think God is a sadist.
"But Pearson won't consider the awful theory of John Horgan in Rational Mysticism - that what we call God is an evil demon torturing us for its own entertainment. Occam's razor applies - who needs God when humans seem eminently capable of cruelty without divine assistance. As Carolyn Forche says, there is nothing one man will not do to another. In his confrontation with Pearson, the Supreme Being verifies this, saying 'you do it to yourselves.'
"One great thing about heresies - there are so many. You can choose just the right one for you. I tilt toward Catharism, myself. But to the Pentecostals all heretics are alike - they are to be brought back into the fold, or shunned. This is not really a spiritual issue. It has a lot more to do with the economics of religion. You give up the concept of Hell and you're in serious danger of losing the crowd. As one of Pearson's people says - 'Hellfire and good fried chicken - that's what packs 'em in around here.'
"Pearson's insight is a tough one, because it suggests most religious activity is pointless. You're already saved, so whether you believe or not is not that big a deal to God. But if you're going to believe, Pearson's insight suggests you should come to that belief from love, not fear. You should come to faith because your heart yearns for closeness with God, not because you want to stay out of some eternal torture chamber, or because being religious pays well.
"That's crazy talk of course, the sort of thing only saints and madmen really believe.
"I know nothing of the afterlife. Moshe Dayan said he didn't give a damn. When someone asked Orson Welles about it he said he'd 'leave that to the authorities,' and that seems like the right approach.
"But if there is a Heaven, my guess is Pearson gets a luxury box."
Dr. X posts this from the press box at Candlestick Park:
"It was a classic trap game - Seattle came in flat for a road game against a young and improving team, and couldn't get out of the hole before time ran out. That said, when these teams meet again in Seattle, I suspect it will be the 2nd half Seattle team that shows up, and predict a 28-0 outcome for that contest.
IHT: "Campaigning on a platform of "rupture" with the status quo, she has also capitalized on her femininity while accusing her competitors of chauvinism.I am all for this: If beauty captures the imagination of the people, if her looks appear to embody the progressive, humanist spirit, magnifique!
"Gazelles," she said last May, "run faster than elephants."
I've figured out the whole IRC (Internet Relay Chat) thing, and set up a channel for us on EFNet.
Dr. X posts this from the cyclotron that is the grave of Woody Hayes:
Dr. X posts this from the Department of Bibilical Anthropology and Fossil Research at Mid-American Christian University:
It is all too easy to dismiss critics of the rigorous critic as a reflexive reactionary spasm of anti-intellectualism in American life, and to consider their critique of the rigorous critic as a fairly vacuous and obvious attempt to defend the bruised part of the ego which was not the target of the criticism in the first place; the criticism in fact is usually directed towards a certain want of ego-involvement in the substantive process of cultural production, the creative act often made absent-mindedly, while the defense of a half-starved child of the mind can be as vigorous as Sherman sightseeing in Atlanta, so outraged is
Milton Friedman, dead at 94.
Perhaps later rather than sooner, I hope to cast a vote for Barack Obama shown here, with his wife, taking an AIDS test near his father's home village in Kenya. As the hometown hero, he was trying to show that real men take AIDS tests.
Once again, conference participants represented an astonishing diversity of expertise at an International level, comprising the greatest and most accomplished persons within a 100 foot radius. Numerous discussions produced a fascinating compendium to human knowledge demonstrating a comprehensive, wholistic approach to multifarious areas of inquiry.
Dr. X posts this from the Mean Regression Archive at Stanford (20-3 over the Washington Huskies) University:
Dr. X posts this from the Carpe Diem Lounge at Marcel Proust International Airport in Lyon:
Dr. X posts this from 20,000 feet above San Luis Obispo:
Dr. X posts this from the Soylent Green bar at TJ Fiddlestix:
Americans stood up Tuesday and offered to the President of the United States a message of clarity, a message of renewal, a message of hope:
What an election, I tell ya. Whadda bunch of marooons. Whadda clutch of Republichumps.
Dear Friends and Idiots,
Dr. X posts this from Wonkette's bedroom:
It might seem churlish of me to question the integrity of the performance of any baby, let alone dear Claire, but this is a question of Art, and we serve no one's interests by molly-coddling rank amateurs and stroking their egos with hopes of an endearing coo, gurgle, or ephemeral ooochy-smooochy smile.
I brought Rilke up -a little lazily -because that confession in the night question is the still the key question to reassure the serious and challenge the art puppies nipping at the socks.
Dr. X posts this from the Robert Hass Gate at Stanford University, which they built to honor him after he became Poet Laureate, even though he never gave the university a lot of money. Ha ha, I never get tired of that gag. Dr. X posts this from the Paul G. Allen Center for Integrated Systems Building:
By Claudia Parsons BAGHDAD, Nov 2 2006 (Reuters) - A senior U.S. general compared Iraq on Thursday to a work of art in progress and played down incessant violence and friction with Iraqi leaders as "speed bumps" on the road to stability...The chief military spokesman in Iraq, Major General William Caldwell, used a weekly briefing in Baghdad to urge patience. "Every great work of art goes through messy phases while it is in transition. A lump of clay can become a sculpture, blobs of paint become paintings which inspire," he said. "The final test of our efforts will not be the isolated incidents reported daily but the country that the Iraqis build."
Sing to James Taylor's "You've got a Friend"
Rainier Rilke, 1903
Your letter arrived just a few days ago. I want to thank you for the great confidence you have placed in me. That is all I can do. I cannot discuss your verses; for any attempt at criticism would be foreign to me. Nothing touches a work of art so little as words of criticism: they always result in more or less fortunate misunderstandings. Things aren't all so tangible and sayable as people would usually have us believe; most experiences are unsayable, they happen in a space that no word has ever entered, and more unsay able than all other things are works of art, those mysterious existences, whose life endures beside our own small, transitory life.
With this note as a preface, may I just tell you that your verses have no style of their own, although they do have silent and hidden beginnings of something personal. I feel this most clearly in the last poem, "My Soul." There, some thing of your own is trying to become word and melody. And in the lovely poem "To Leopardi" a kind of kinship with that great, solitary figure does perhaps appear. Nevertheless, the poems are not yet anything in themselves, not yet any thing independent, even the last one and the one to Leopardi. Your kind letter, which accompanied them managed to make clear to me various faults that I felt in reading your verses, though I am not able to name them specifically.
You ask whether your verses are any good. You ask me. You have asked others before this. You send them to magazines. You compare them with other poems, and you are upset when certain editors reject your work. Now (since you have said you want my advice) I beg you to stop doing that sort of thing. You are looking outside, and that is what you should most avoid right now. No one can advise or help you - no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple "I must", then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to Nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose. Don't write love poems; avoid those forms that are too facile and ordinary: they are the hardest to work with, and it takes a great, fully ripened power to create something individual where good, even glorious, traditions exist in abundance. So rescue yourself from these general themes and write about what your everyday life offers you; describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty Describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the Things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember. If your everyday life seems poor, don't blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is no poverty and no poor, indifferent place. And even if you found yourself in some prison, whose walls let in none of the world's sound - wouldn't you still have your childhood, that jewel beyond all price, that treasure house of memories? Turn your attention to it. Try to raise up the sunken feelings of this enormous past; your personality will grow stronger, your solitude will expand and become a place where you can live in the twilight, where the noise of other people passes by, far in the distance. And if out of , this turning within, out of this immersion in your own world, poems come, then you will not think of asking anyone whether they are good or not. Nor will you try to interest magazines in these works: for you will see them as your dear natural possession, a piece of your life, a voice from it. A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it. So, dear Sir, I can't give you any advice but this: to go into yourself and see how deep the place is from which your life flows; at its source you will find the answer to, the question of whether you must create. Accept that answer, just as it is given to you, without trying to interpret it. Perhaps you will discover that you are called to be an artist. Then take that destiny upon yourself, and bear it, its burden and its greatness, without ever asking what reward might come from outside. For the creator must be a world for himself and must find everything in himself and in Nature, to whom his whole life is devoted.
But after this descent into yourself and into your solitude, perhaps you will have to renounce becoming a poet (if, as I have said, one feels one could live without writing, then one shouldn't write at all). Nevertheless, even then, this self searching that I ask of you will not have been for nothing. Your life will still find its own paths from there, and that they may be good, rich, and wide is what I wish for you, more than I can say.
What else can I tell you? It seems to me that everything has its proper emphasis; and finally I want to add just one more bit of advice: to keep growing, silently and earnestly, through your whole development; you couldn't disturb it any more violently than by looking outside and waiting for outside answers to questions that only your innermost feeling, in your quietest hour, can perhaps answer.
It was a pleasure for me to find in your letter the name of Professor Horacek; I have great reverence for that kind, learned man, and a gratitude that has lasted through the years. Will you please tell him how I feel; it is very good of him to still think of me, and I appreciate it.
The poem that you entrusted me with, I am sending back to you. And I thank you once more for your questions and sincere trust, of which, by answering as honestly as I can, I have tried to make myself a little worthier than I, as a stranger, really am.
Yours very truly,
Rainer Maria Rilke
Republican Congressman for Bellevue brags about getting a single mother fired for flipping off President Bush.
Dr. X posts this from the Department of Humiliation and Dunking at Oral Roberts University:
Tom Friedman, who it must be admitted (or rather pointed out) helped more than anyone to cheerlead the Cognoscenti into this war, makes a good case for walking into the voting booth stabbing the Administration in the eye with a fork, jilted cheerleader style.
"George Bush, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld think you’re stupid. Yes, they do.
"They think they can take a mangled quip about President Bush and Iraq by John Kerry — a man who is not even running for office but who, unlike Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, never ran away from combat service — and get you to vote against all Democrats in this election.
"Every time you hear Mr. Bush or Mr. Cheney lash out against Mr. Kerry, I hope you will say to yourself, "They must think I’m stupid." Because they surely do.
"They think that they can get you to overlook all of the Bush team’s real and deadly insults to the U.S. military over the past six years by hyping and exaggerating Mr. Kerry’s mangled gibe at the president.
"What could possibly be more injurious and insulting to the U.S. military than to send it into combat in Iraq without enough men — to launch an invasion of a foreign country not by the Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force, but by the Rumsfeld Doctrine of just enough troops to lose? What could be a bigger insult than that?
"What could possibly be more injurious and insulting to our men and women in uniform than sending them off to war without the proper equipment, so that some soldiers in the field were left to buy their own body armor and to retrofit their own jeeps with scrap metal so that roadside bombs in Iraq would only maim them for life and not kill them? And what could be more injurious and insulting than Don Rumsfeld’s response to criticism that he sent our troops off in haste and unprepared: Hey, you go to war with the army you’ve got — get over it.
"What could possibly be more injurious and insulting to our men and women in uniform than to send them off to war in Iraq without any coherent postwar plan for political reconstruction there, so that the U.S. military has had to assume not only security responsibilities for all of Iraq but the political rebuilding as well? The Bush team has created a veritable library of military histories — from “Cobra II” to “Fiasco” to “State of Denial” — all of which contain the same damning conclusion offered by the very soldiers and officers who fought this war: This administration never had a plan for the morning after, and we’ve been making it up — and paying the price — ever since.
"And what could possibly be more injurious and insulting to our men and women in Iraq than to send them off to war and then go out and finance the very people they’re fighting against with our gluttonous consumption of oil? Sure, George Bush told us we’re addicted to oil, but he has not done one single significant thing — demanded higher mileage standards from Detroit, imposed a gasoline tax or even used the bully pulpit of the White House to drive conservation — to end that addiction. So we continue to finance the U.S. military with our tax dollars, while we finance Iran, Syria, Wahhabi mosques and Al Qaeda madrassas with our energy purchases.
"Everyone says that Karl Rove is a genius. Yeah, right. So are cigarette companies. They get you to buy cigarettes even though we know they cause cancer. That is the kind of genius Karl Rove is. He is not a man who has designed a strategy to reunite our country around an agenda of renewal for the 21st century — to bring out the best in us. His “genius” is taking some irrelevant aside by John Kerry and twisting it to bring out the worst in us, so you will ignore the mess that the Bush team has visited on this country.
"And Karl Rove has succeeded at that in the past because he was sure that he could sell just enough Bush cigarettes, even though people knew they caused cancer. Please, please, for our country’s health, prove him wrong this time.
"Let Karl know that you’re not stupid. Let him know that you know that the most patriotic thing to do in this election is to vote against an administration that has — through sheer incompetence — brought us to a point in Iraq that was not inevitable but is now unwinnable.
"Let Karl know that you think this is a critical election, because you know as a citizen that if the Bush team can behave with the level of deadly incompetence it has exhibited in Iraq — and then get away with it by holding on to the House and the Senate — it means our country has become a banana republic. It means our democracy is in tatters because it is so gerrymandered, so polluted by money, and so divided by professional political hacks that we can no longer hold the ruling party to account.
"It means we’re as stupid as Karl thinks we are.
"I, for one, don’t think we’re that stupid. Next Tuesday we’ll see."