30.10.13

How To Toast Bread


Bryce Chartwell shows the people how to toast bread.

A friend sent me this video. His media studies professor used it as an example of narcissism. If I had to make toast for Bryce Chartwell I would be afraid to mess up the toast! What if I don't do it the right way? This video makes me want to eat toast in the opposite way: over a rough fire, scarf it down, and get my shirt dirty. If it is satire, this video is hilarious. I think it's satire and a good example of consumerism. We don't just want toast. We want the perfect toast. And we are satisfied with the illusion that spreading the butter in an East to West direction and making sure the butter is only one micron thick will achieve satisfaction beyond the basic needs of food and shelter into the meta-realm of desire where toast takes on an entirely different meaning. It ain't toast anymore. It reminds me of people who order specially bottled water at restaurants to feel like the water, in all of its neat packaging is more than just water, it is beyond water. Of course, the structure of desire is such that we are never satisfied. We want more. And more. Capitalism takes advantage of our desire and runs with it. Long live the toast. The toast is dead.

10.10.13

On Drinking Prosecco And Watching Malcolm (And What Came Of It)

I drank a bottle of Prosecco in the late afternoon. The light had just begun to disintegrate. On my computer lay a MPEG of Malcolm X, a movie I had intended to watch. To my chagrin, I had never watched it and vowed to see it through during a time of inactivity. It is my goal to immerse myself in the cinema. It's been a recent habit of mine to sit in a cinema as often as I can gather the strength to take the D train to Midtown. Sunset Park is lackluster in cinema options. Bay Ridge only plays the shallow greats. Cobble Hill has a decent cinema but I don't take the F train. It's easier to ride into Manhattan, with its jaundiced eyes, and beleaguered denizens. Humanity looks browbeaten on the subway. I sort of feel shameful taking the D train to see a movie during rush hour. Shouldn't I feel just as browbeaten, just as defeated after a long day of work? That's a silly rhetorical question. Maybe these people, these sour brow beaten folks have more money in their pockets than me. They have mouths to feed. Rent to pay. I've paid my rent. I am going to see a movie. I wish they could come with me and rejoice in the pleasures of the visual screen. "It's a screed," I preach. I say. To them. To the woman with the holes in her hosiery, to the overtly masculine boy who keeps picking at his knickers. To the guy, a prince, so fairly laden, he only knows how to ask for something, never
to empathize. It's a guilty pleasure. I don't know why I feel so guilty. Today. I counted them. I saw eighty-six movies at the same cinema. That's not counting the other movies at other cinemas. I feel like Susan Sontag. Or something. Malcolm X. They soaked in information; then they launched onto the world. I feel like I am still a chrysalis in its shell, damned, but I do not know why.

15.9.13

19 Sayings: From Nietzsche Thinking Intensely (Quotable Nietzsche)


Nietzsche Thinking Intensely (image: Flickr/SPDP)
I read "23 Signs You're Secretly an Introvert" in the Huffington Post, and #5 on the list "You've been called 'too intense'" caught my attention. It was accompanied by a nifty drawing of Nietzsche surrounded by a spray of his most quotable quotes in hard to read scribble-scratch. I like Nietzsche so I copied out the quotes, which took some time because the handwriting is atrocious, with the appropriate citations. Nietzsche is very quotable which is why in Germany they revere him like the English revere Shakespeare. If anyone knows who created the Nietzsche graphic let me know.

"It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book."
Twilight of the Idols, Or, How to Philosophize with a Hammer, "Skirmishes of an Untimely Man," Aphorism 51, (1888)

"Is life not a thousand times too short to bore ourselves?"
Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 227, (1886)

"Faith: not wanting to know what is true."
The Antichrist, Aphorism 52, (1895)

"In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play.”
Thus Spoke Zarathustra, "On Little Old and Young Women," (1883)

"In music the passions enjoy themselves."
Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 106, (1886)

"Idleness is the parent of psychology."
Twilight of the Idols, Or, How to Philosophize with a Hammer, "Apothegms and Darts," Aphorism 1, (1888)

"All credibility, all good conscience, all evidence of truth, come only from the senses."
Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 134, (1886)

"It is always consoling to think of suicide: in that way one gets through many a bad night."
Beyond Good and Evil. ch. 4, Aphorism 157, (1886)

"Madness is rare in individuals, but in groups, parties, nations and ages it is the rule."

Beyond Good and Evil, "Apothegms and Interludes," Aphorism 156, (1886)

"One should die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly."
Twilight of the Idols, Or, How to Philosophize with a Hammer, "Skirmishes in War with the Age," Aphorism 36, (1888)

"Plato was a bore."*
*I am unable to find the exact source for this quote. Plenty sources cite Nietzsche but none refer to a text.*

"I love those who don't know how to live for today."*

*Again, plenty of sources cite Nietzsche but without giving credit to a text. I did find in Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883) a slightly similar quote: "I love those that know not how to live except as downgoers, for they are the overgoers."

"For art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable: intoxication."
Twilight of the Idols, Or, How to Philosophize with a Hammer, "Roving Expeditions of an Inopportune Philosopher," Aphorism 8, (1888)

"Art is the proper task of life."
The Will to Power, "The Will to Power as Art," Section IV, (1901)

"I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised at all times."
This quote seems to be a paraphrase of an idea from Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883)

"Fear is the mother of  all morality." 
Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 201, (1886)

"Before the effect believes in different causes than one does after the effect."
The Gay Science, "Cause and Effect," Aphorism 217, (1882)

"If you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you."

Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 146 (1886).

"Is man one of God's blunders? Is God one of man's blunders?"
Twilight of the Idols Or, How to Philosophize with a Hammer, "Maxims and Arrows," Aphorism 7, (1888)

21.8.13

Birth of a Star in the Southern Part of the Milky Way Arm


Herbig-Haro object HH 46/47 | ESO

7.8.13

Friedrich Nietzsche on the Abyss

"Beyond Good and Evil", Aphorism 146 (1886).
Decided to rewatch Abyss, the 1989 sci-fi water drama based on a Michael Crichton novel of the same name, and was pleasantly surprised to see it begins with an apt quote from Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil. I don't remember that tidbit when I saw it over twenty years ago. Despite the usual Hollywood spectacle hijinks one expects from studio blockbusters, I have always remembered this movie as not just rather impressive with the special effects (for its time) but also a visually poetic film and one of the better close-encounter-with-the-third-kind kind of movie (of course not to beat Close Encounters of the Third Kind).

4.8.13

Photography: "Rocks in Brooklyn Heights"

Traffic in Brooklyn Heights (View Through the Mountains)