26.8.12

Cat Set Against a Moving Background

A cat meme is set against a moving background. Best used when under the influence.
Title: Unknown; Artist: Unknown Re-posted from putaindesatan


25.8.12

Paul of Tarsus on Childishness


ὅτε ἤμην νήπιος, ἐλάλουν ὡς νήπιος, ἐφρόνουν ὡς νήπιος, ἐλογιζόμην ὡς νήπιος: ὅτε γέγονα ἀνήρ, κατήργηκα τὰ τοῦ νηπίου. 
When I was a child — I spoke like a child, had feelings like a child, and I had a mind like a child. Now that I have become a man, I have put away those childish things.
Paul of Tarsus, First century A.D.
First Letter to the Church in Corinth, Chapter Thirteen, verse Eleven.

Sculpture of Paul of Tarsus holding a sword in front of the Church of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome, Italy
Paul of Tarsus as depicted by a statue of him 
in front of the Church of Saint Paul 
Outside the Walls in Rome, Italy.

Paul in this quote from a letter he wrote to the church at Corinth (circa 56 A.D.) assumes childish things are something to move away from, to discard 
 and secondly, he assumes he has become a man. All grown up. The Greek word for "man" is ἀνήρ which can also be translated as "gentleman". I can imagine Paul wants us to also shed this notion of Christianity as a baby's religion, as something infants do, crying like children to their grown-up silent gods. Paul is a gentleman and assumes his God responds in kind. Paul loved writing letters  and he loved to extoll his own weaknesses as strength. He was a child! He said childish things! Perhaps he pouted when his mother would not take him to bathe in the salty goodness of the sea  or maybe he prattled on like a child in the way children do? But he is a man, now! Paul surely sees children as mewling, puking, and speaking nonsense, having nothing really important to say  as if faith is something only grown-ups do — what children do is make-believe. To have a mind of a child is in Paul's mind to be imperfect  what we mean when we say childish. But Paul informs us that he has become a man  a full-grown person who has evidently discarded such puerile traits such as insouciant idleness and unabashed temper tantrums. I must agree I prefer the mature man to the mewling babe  but I am somewhat suspicious that in a strident act of becoming all childish things are banished.

22.8.12

Yes, I'm Ignoring You

Just ignore the math! Photo by Peggy Sirota Copyright 1992 AVANTI
EZ Link to the Image (for printing and downloading)
Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschooler, Not Grade Specific - TeachersPayTeachers.com
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15.8.12

On the Double Humiliation of Standing Inside and Outside of the Vernacular


 
It's humiliating to speak only in code, only in a punished, subaltern idiom; but it's humiliating to stand outside that vernacular, too, and not comprehend it, and feel its disrespect.
Wayne Koestenbaum, Humiliation, pg. 151

14.8.12

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind — Quote on Conversation

Kirsten Dunst
Kirsten Dunst plays the role of Mary in the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
The human race is having this constant conversation with itself. Y'know?

13.8.12

"Discovering Columbus": New Nishi Art Installation Above Columbus Circle

Nishi's Design for the Living Room
Today in the New York Times there is an article about the art installation at Columbus Circle by Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi. The project, entitled "Discovering Columbus" is sponsored by the Public Art Fund. The New York Times article is worth reading for it explains the various bureaucratic hoops projects like this must go through in order to get greenlit  a process, the article implies, made easier by Mayor Bloomberg's enthusiasm for public art displays.

Evidently, people will be able to enter a specially made structure built around the statue of Christopher Columbus, completely enclosing it inside of a living room complete with sofas and TV (no wifi).

Nishi had done something similar in Basel, Switzerland. He built a temporary apartment on top of the cathedral church in Basel enclosed around a bronze weather vane of an angel:
I am curious to see what the finished room built above the traffic of Columbus Circle will look like.

A similar idea is mentioned in the aforementioned article but I will repeat it: I think projects like this help us to see familiar things in an unfamiliar way. Is that not what art is?

Quotation: Socrates On Perplexing Others (And His Own Perplexity)

Socrates.jpg
Socrates with folks in Athens in Raphael's painting "The School of Athens"
A quote from Socrates on perplexing others . . .
For I perplex others, not because I am clear, but because I am utterly perplexed myself. 
οὐ γὰρ εὐπορῶν αὐτὸς τοὺς ἄλλους ποιῶ ἀπορεῖν, ἀλλὰ παντὸς μᾶλλον αὐτὸς ἀπορῶν οὕτως καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους ποιῶ ἀπορεῖν.

Socrates, 5th century B.C.
from the Meno by Plato (section 80c-d)
PDF Copy for Printing

3.8.12

The Typewriter Question — Does it Help Writers Write?

Does using a typewriter help writers to write?
A steely resolve to write more came in the form of a Brother SX-4000 typewriter I bought for $115 from Amazon. Yes, Brother makes typewriters, from lower-end models that help office workers address envelopes, to high-end models equipped with a floppy drive.

Of course, I did not write this blog post on the Brother machine but I have been writing more. Lately. The typewriter sits on a plain wooden desk. A sheet of paper is loaded into the slot. The last sentence I forged still lies there. The machine is still. It is not asleep. It awaits.

Jonathan Franzen once said he wrote on a laptop with the Internet disabled so he could write focused. The idea is the same  reduce distraction  commit yourself to write, and write only with a dedicated tool. Heidegger is right - we are the tools we use. If I had two computers I would dub one the writing machine and the other the youtube machine.

Writing Seriously
I use the Brother to write seriously. It is my writing machine. It is not the clackety-clack of the keys that helps to fashion a story, but rather the material immediacy of ink struck on paper -- voila -- it is there on a page as if chiseled from rock. I turn to the Brother to write what I know I want to create. A blog post is ephemera  in a way  I am more playful  and less prone to think of what I write on the internet as serious writing. Maybe this is a false dichotomy  but my view on writing blogs on the Internet is for writers to experiment and show off writing. It is instantaneous. With a manuscript created on a typewriter, it may take months to produce a piece whereas a blog post  at the most  takes three hours from start to finish.

A typewriter will not help you become a better writer. But I do find the typewriter focuses me. Every word is a decision. I find myself planning ahead with a typewriter. How do I want to write this paragraph? And if make a mistake  sure I can use auto-correct  but the roll does not last forever and I have a budget. Every mistake is a penny out of pocket!

Creativity and Typewriters
For some reason on a computer, the art of organizing prose is lost. Writing on a computer presents endless possibilities. No work ever seems finished. I can always edit, delete, move around -- to the point that sometimes I forget where I began. Especially when it comes to long essays, fifteen pages or more, writing on a computer turns a project into mush.

On a computer, correction is free but endless. I have used Google Docs for years. In this format, my writing seems to be in an endless draft stage. I can share a draft with a colleague and she reads it and corrects my errors then I read it and revise. I can track changes and look at previous revisions. A 1200 word essay can quickly morph and grow, bloat and go off into zillions of tangents. I write myself out of writing. I lose what I intentionally hoped to create.

Maybe it is nostalgia. I owned an IBM Wheelwriter I bought for ten dollars at a garage sale. I wrote a short story in sixth grade on that thing.

A typewriter is designed to write stuff. That is what you do when you sit in front of it. You don't check anything else; you don't do anything but put thoughts onto paper.

Recently programmers have attempted to make applications for writers that help to focus attention on the act of writing. The idea is to write in full screen and to eliminate any unnecessary distractions. Those programs work and act as clean alternatives to the clunky Microsoft Word approach to word processing.

If I have to use footnotes  hell, no  I won't use a typewriter.

My fantasy -- or shall I say my motivation  in a typewriter is that it will unleash my creative energy.

Nostalgia for Typewriters
Sitting in front of the new Brother SX-4000 I felt the familiar rush of energy I remember having when I sat down at the IBM Wheelwriter. I typed a test page and remembered the old features I loved with the Wheelwriter work on the Brother. I can set tabs; the typewriter easily loads my sheet of paper; it beeps when a word is spelled incorrectly. Bold, underlining, superscript, subscript  all those fun typewriter additions  are there.

A typewriter is great for a party. Turn it on, type a sentence and people will ineluctably clack away -- collective party art.

In the collective imagination, typewriters are associated with creativity. In a children's library, a typewriter placed on a desk beckons children to fall in love with words. On a typewriter words are physical. Not abstract.

Digital and Analog
Two technologies combine. On the typewriter, a draft is created. I am one with the typewriter. When the manuscript is completed I do a character recognition scan so the manuscript becomes digital and searchable. What was once a unique copy becomes a meme. But it was necessary to begin with the monomaniacal relationship between myself and the machine  to craft a purposeful composition. This is my addiction.

I am unsure why I have quit you for so long, O! Typewriter!