Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009


OK, so there's another PEW survey out. It's being predictably garbled in news reports, of course. Don't journalism majors have to take any classes in statistics or in reading scientific reports or articles?

I didn't think the WashPost's take was too bad; it doesn't say much, just reports the gist. I find it amusing that it's considered news that we mix'n'match beliefs, kind of puts the whole thing in the realm of a "duh-study", but the article concludes with someone sort of pointing that out, so I guess that's all right. (Watching TV over Thanksgiving Boom-Boom made a comment at the TV about the characters being from "The Federal Bureau of Duh". LOL.)

So, any thoughts from the ghosts or others who might be reading this? Did Pew call 4,000 people for a duh-study? Was it worthwhile anyway? Is it somehow important to document levels of acceptance of beliefs that are not within our own dogma? Does it imply an increased religious or other tolerance in the population, and is that the same or different than a shift in the mainstream culture?

Survey says...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Own Your Life

You're the one who has to live it.

That's all...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Balance is survival

Providing a 5-point paradigm for assessing the poise of a "society" (loosely defined, since "Montana" as a "society" seems a little bit of a stretch):

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

For the love of words and mothers

"Love came to visit me, shy as a fawn, but finding me busy, she fled with the dawn..."

"My shame as a spur, I fled the abyss."

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Just Once to be Heard

"Good storytelling is crafting a story that people want to listen to. Great story is the art of letting go."

"What scientists do when a paradigm fails, is they carry on as if nothing has ever happened."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

There's No Such Thing

Isn't this the PC guy? Y'know, from the mac commercials?

"...the vastness of the universe and the searching we might do in it..."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What was I going to say next?

Apparently I'm coming back as a duck, so maybe I'll just quack.

Monday, November 23, 2009

"Nobody hugs the dictionary"

"Serendipity is when you find things you weren't looking for because finding what you are looking for is so damn difficult."

"The internet is made up of words and enthusiasm...So is lexicography."

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Two Percent

Philosophy! Humor! ohjoyohjoyohjoy!

"I like to think of what I do as a probability wave."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"The Illusion of Separate Notes"

By modulating pitch and volume with proximity and without touch:

"You have to stay so still if you want to have the most control...It's kind of like a yoga instrument, because it makes you so aware of every little crazy thing your body is doing, or just aware of what you don't want it to be doing while you're playing."

Well, since Yahoo isn't cooperating, I'll see if embedding from howCast works here:

(Of course it does. Blogger pwnd Yahoo.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Question Freedom (& Carseat Caveat)

"The secret to happiness is low expectations." Don't let doing better make you feel worse.

Uh, oh. He let the cat out of the bag about carseats. OK, sweetie, here's what he was referring to:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Eric Lewis Rattles Bones

I'm am impatient person. Hopefully it's my worst fault, but it is a bad'un, all the same. I don't usually enjoy music that requires patience to hear. I want punchy & melodic & rhythmic. My geometric, big-picture-seizing mind wants the structure up-front and elegant, with ornamentation just that, decoration on a solid architecture. Nevertheless, I enjoyed these from Eric Lewis:

Worth waiting through, I thought.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Inventing Bones

In one of my favoriate lines from Skinny Legs and All, Ellen Cherry is asked by Boomer Petway what art is, and she tells him it's making something you always wanted to see. My quote's not on that page linked above, but one that is & that I like & had forgotten goes:
Those people who recognize that imagination is reality's master, we call "sages", and those who act upon it, we call "artists".

"But really, if we're all going to be honest with ourselves, I have to admit that acheiving the end of the exercise was never the point of the exercise to begin with, was it?"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Who are you? What do you do?"

The scientific approach to crazy wealth:

That whole fine line between genius and insanity thing? Don't you believe it. The trick seems to be to ignore such lines and cross over them freely and at will. (but it does have to be an act of will, or else you're helpless and screwed)

I mean, c'mon, dude has a tyrannosaurus rex in his living room...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Devil in the pretty girl when she takes a notion"

And other notes of wisdom...

...about where music comes from.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"Good Things Come out of Incomprehension"

"How much truth do we tell? What story are we actually telling? How do we know when we are ourselves?"

Attention (deficit) to telling stories:

"I have enough. And that is utterly true. I happen to be alive. End of discussion."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Nakedness and Water

A friend of mine in high school liked this aquatic ape theory.

"What scientists do when a paradigm fails is -- guess what -- they carry on as if nothing had ever happened."

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Don't Eat the Marshmallow...Yet

Adorable children:

...but the point is: "We are eating more marshmallows than we are producing."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Infuse Your Life with Play

"The opposite of play is depression."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Praise for the Instrument

But where does the instrument end and the (11-year-old) musician begin?

"Now I know why I'm here," she says.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

"We can't learn to see until we admit we're blind."

So how can we teach children to see the world?

Differential equations derived by 6-year-olds. Wow. :)


Friday, October 30, 2009

Congratulations DH Maitreyabandhu!

Just about a year ago, I posted a beautiful poem by Western Buddhist Order poet DH Maitreyabandhu. (found through Jayarava) I've just discovered that this superb artist has been awarded the Keats-Shelley Prize for the following poem:

The Small Boy and the Mouse by D H Maitreyabandhu

When he closed his eyes and asked the question,

he saw an egg, a boiled egg, lodged

above his heart. The shell had been broken off,

with a teaspoon he supposed, it was pure curd white

and still warm. Inside – he could see inside –

there was a garden with rows of potatoes,

sweet peas in a tangle, and a few tomatoes, red

and green ones, along with that funny sulphur smell

coming from split sacks. There was an enamel bathtub

in the garden, with chipped edges, a brown puddle

staining around itself, and a few wet leaves.

He could see down the plughole, so the sun must have shone,

and he heard his father digging potatoes,

knocking off the soil, and his mother fetching the washing in

because the sky promised a shower. There was a hole

or rather a pipe under the tub, where the water went,

and down at the bottom was a mouse – its ribs were poking out,

its damp fur clung together. The mouse was holding

a black-and-white photograph of a boy

who might have been three or four years old;

the boy was playing with boxes, or were they saucepans

from the kitchen? – he was leaning forward and slightly blurred.

And what was strange about the picture,

apart from being held by a mouse who sat on his haunches

and gripped it in his forepaws, was that the space

around the boy, the paleness around him, expanded,

got very bright and engulfed the mouse, the bathtub, the garden,

and the egg with its shell cracked off.

After that there was nothing, apart from the dark

inside the boy's head and a kind of quiet

he'd never had before. He opened his eyes. All the furniture

looked strange, as if someone had rearranged it.

Program Your Own Instrument

Like Qi Zhang:

Organ virtuoso Qi Zhang plays her electric rendering of "Ridiculous Fellows" from Prokofiev's "The Love for Three Oranges" orchestral suite. This exhilarating performance from TEDx USC features the Yamaha Electone Stagea, a rare, imported instrument specially programmed by Qi herself.

Or Golan Levin:

Half performance artist, half software engineer, Golan Levin manipulates the computer to create improvised soundscapes with dazzling corresponding visuals. He is at the forefront of defining new parameters for art.

Or like Tim Ferriss suggests, by smashing fear:

Productivity guru Tim Ferriss' fun, encouraging anecdotes show how one simple question -- "What's the worst that could happen?" -- is all you need to learn to do anything.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Why is context everything?

Because seeing is more than sight.

"How we see is by continually redefining normality."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Measure Your Speech with the Golden Rule(r) on November 12th...

...and until then and beyond. It's understood to be a work in progress. ;)

Karen Armstrong on the Charter for Compassion:

Still Water has a good letter about compassionate speech here, with a very relevant quote from Thich Nhat Hanh.

Of course, the place to begin challenging uncompassionate speech is with our own communications and even within our own thoughts.

UPDATE: found a DC-area event on the 12th featuring Karen Armstrong herself.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Noise Becomes Music

Conductor Italy Talgam is delightfully funny, as well as insightful:

"This happiness does not come from only his own story and his story of the music. The joy is about enabling other people's stories to be heard at the same time."

Sunday, October 25, 2009

More than Hearing (Redux)

Brilliant depth! Worth really listening. It's not only about music.

"By holding it tightly I feel strangely more detached. If I just simply let go and allow my hand, my arm to be more of a support system, suddenly I have more dynamic with less effort. Much more, and I just feel at last one with the stick and one with the drum. And I'm doing far, far less."

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Life in Blue and Green is Yellow

"How can we do what life has learned to do, which is to create conditions conducive to life?"

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

All the Answers (Red & Yellow)

I don't know, I don't have to know, here I go...

"The sum of invisible powers..."...hmmmm...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Friday, August 7, 2009

This Woman's Work (White)

Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work".

Pray God you can cope.
I stand outside this woman's work,
This woman's world.
Ooh, it's hard on the man,
Now his part is over.
Now starts the craft of the father.

I know you have a little life in you yet.
I know you have a lot of strength left.
I know you have a little life in you yet.
I know you have a lot of strength left.

I should be crying, but I just can't let it show.
I should be hoping, but I can't stop thinking

Of all the things I should've said,
That I never said.
All the things we should've done,
That we never did.
All the things I should've given,
But I didn't.

Oh, darling, make it go,
Make it go away.

Give me these moments back.
Give them back to me.
Give me that little kiss.
Give me your hand.

(I know you have a little life in you yet.
I know you have a lot of strength left.
I know you have a little life in you yet.
I know you have a lot of strength left.)

I should be crying, but I just can't let it show.
I should be hoping, but I can't stop thinking

Of all the things we should've said,
That were never said.
All the things we should've done,
That we never did.
All the things that you needed from me.
All the things that you wanted for me.
All the things that I should've given,
But I didn't.

Oh, darling, make it go away.
Just make it go away now.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Wayback Machine Redux, part the 2nd (Green & Yellow)

[The music links here are better opened in another window and just listened to.]

The Fall of the House of Usher [link to story]






To One in Paradise

THOU wast all that to me, love,
For which my soul did pine:
A green isle in the sea, love,
A fountain and a shrine
All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers,
And all the flowers were mine.

Ah, dream too bright to last!
Ah, starry Hope, that didst arise
But to be overcast!
A voice from out the Future cries,
"On! on!"—but o'er the Past
(Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies
Mute, motionless, aghast.

For, alas! alas! with me
The light of Life is o'er!
No more—no more—no more—
(Such language holds the solemn sea
To the sands upon the shore)
Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree,
Or the stricken eagle soar.

And all my days are trances,
And all my nightly dreams
Are where thy gray eye glances,
And where thy footstep gleams—
In what ethereal dances,
By what eternal streams.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Intermission: Bedouin & Quaker Green

Just listen.
From the Desert I come to thee

From the Desert I come to thee
On a stallion shod with fire;
And the winds are left behind
In the speed of my desire.
Under thy window I stand,
And the midnight hears my cry:
I love thee, I love but thee,
With a love that shall not die
Till the sun grows cold,
And the stars are old,
And the leaves of the Judgment Book Unfold!

Look from thy window and see
My passion and my pain;
I lie on the sands below,
And I faint in thy disdain.
Let the night-winds touch thy brow
With the heat of my burning sigh,
And melt thee to hear the vow
Of a love that shall not die
Till the sun grows cold,
And the stars are old,
And the leaves of the Judgment Book Unfold!

My steps are nightly driven,
By the fever in my breast,
To hear from thy lattice breathed
The word that shall give me rest.
Open the door of thy heart,
And open thy chamber door,
And my kisses shall teach thy lips
The love that shall fade no more
Till the sun grows cold,
And the stars are old,
And the leaves of the Judgment Book Unfold!

[Authorship by Bayard Taylor (1825-1878), "Bedouin song", from Poems of the Orient, published 1854]

Friday, July 31, 2009

Wayback Machine Redux

I owe Green, so I'm pulling out the Wayback Machine, which is Yellow, to deliver Tales of Mystery and Imagination from The Alan Parson's Project, inspired by Edgar Allan Poe.

Alas the videos are not so skillful as the music or the inspiration, so I'll just link, and my imaginary audience can open the link in another window and just listen while reading along:
A Dream Within a Dream
For my own part, I have never had a thought
Which I could not set down in words
With even more distinctness that which I conceived it.
There is however a class of fancies of exquisite delicacy
Which are not thoughts and to which as yet
I have found it absolutely impossible to adapt to language.
These fancies arise in the soul,
Alas how rarely, only at epochs
Of most intense tranquillity
When the bodily and mental health are in perfection.
And those mere points of time
When the confines of the waking world
Blend with the world of dreams.
And so I captured this fancy
Where all that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

The Raven
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more,'

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,' said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!'
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!'
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,' said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and nothing more!'

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as `Nevermore.'

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before -
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'
Then the bird said, `Nevermore.'

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of "Never-nevermore."'

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking `Nevermore.'

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
`Wretch,' I cried, `thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he has sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
`Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!

OK, that's a lot of text, so mixing it up a bit, the reader can view the story here, while the video plays:

Ditto. The Cask of Amontillado is here. Music/video follows:

And again, the story is here, the music/video follows:

Aahh. I think that's enough for tonight's post. I'll put up Fall of the House of Usher (I hope I can find all the parts) and To One in Paradise over the weekend.