Sunday, December 14, 2003 3:43 PM
Hell to Heaven
From Hotel Point:
On a novel, Dow Mossman's
The Stones of Summer --
Evidence of Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano. The Dow Mossman character (Dawes Williams) sitting in the Rio Grande tearing pages out of his notebooks. (We get the pages, reproduced somewhat tediously in near-agate type.) Somewhere the ex-Consul Geoffrey Firmin gets mention. Mythic drinking and death in Mexico, vaguely “Jungian.”...
“The first time he had noticed it, language, was in the fourth grade when Miss Norma Jean Thompson, his teacher, turned against the whole class and said:
‘All Americans eventually go to heaven.’
‘By sweet Jesus,’ Ronnie Crown had said that afternoon, sitting on Dunchee’s wall, waiting for Dawes Williams to come tell him about it, ‘that’s about the God Damn dumbest thing I ever heard.’
Dawes Williams had agreed immediately that the message was insipid, but he thought for years that the syntax was inspired. In fact, the first time Norma Jean Thompson had said, ALL AMERICANS EVENTUALLY GO TO HEAVEN, was also the first time Dawes Williams had ever noticed the English sentence."
From Norma Jean Thompson:
"... the Town House Restaurant on Central and Morningside [in Albuquerque]: 'It's like going backwards in time to the late 1950s; you'd think you'd meet Frank Sinatra in there. You can drown in the big red leather booths, and if you're lucky, they'll take out their private family stock of brandy. Wonderful Greek salads, steaks and potatoes for lunch or dinner. Time stops in there, right off Route 66.' "
On the Town House Lounge & Restaurant in Albuquerque:
"Try the three-inch Baklava and feel like you have died and gone to heaven..."
See, too, the film "Stone
and the previous Log24 entry.
Sunday, December 14, 2003 2:01 AM
From Robert Stone's Damascus Gate:
"God... that Great
(See the Web site "Stone, not Wood.")
Christianity may be a religion of lies, but it sometimes has a certain charm. If in fact there is a heaven, part of it must strongly resemble Paris in the 1890's, as suggested by the picture below.
From today's New York Times:
"The Very Rev. Sturgis Lee Riddle, dean emeritus of the American Episcopal Cathedral in Paris, died on Tuesday at his home on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. He was 94.
His death was reported on the cathedral's Web site."
cathedral's Web site,
a Christmas card:
Après l'Office à l'Église de la Sainte-Trinité, Noël 1890
(After the Service at Holy Trinity Church, Christmas 1890) Jean Béraud
"Madame, all stories, if continued far enough, end in death, and he is no
true-story teller who would keep that from you."
-- Ernest Hemingway,
Death in the Afternoon, Ch. 11
"There is never any ending to Paris...."
-- Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
See, too, my Paris-related entry for December 9, the date of Riddle's death, and recall that in Wild Palms, "the much sought-after Go chip [is] the missing link in the Senator's bid to be immortal, 'like Jesus.' "
Scene from Wild
Saturday, December 13, 2003 2:02 PM
We Are the
The Shining of December 13
For James and Lucia Joyce
In the Orbit of Genius --
TIME, Dec. 1, 2003:
"Once, when her mother asked if Joyce should visit her in the sanatorium, Lucia said, 'Tell him I am a crossword puzzle, and if he does not mind seeing a crossword puzzle, he is to come out.' "
Compare and contrast
with Finnegans Wake
From Roger Zelazny's Eye of Cat:
"A massive, jaguarlike form with a single, gleaming eye landed on
the vehicle's hood forward and to the front. It was visible for but an
instant, and then it sprang away. The car tipped, its air cushion awry, and it
was already turning onto its side before he left the trail. He fought with
the wheel and the attitude control, already knowing that it was too late.
There came a strong shock accompanied by a crunching noise, and he felt himself
DEADLY, DEADLY, DEADLY...
Kaleidoscope turning... Shifting pattern within unalterable structure... Was it a mistake? There is pain with the power... Time's friction at the edges... Center loosens, forms again elsewhere... Unalterable? But - Turn outward. Here songs of self erode the will till actions lie stillborn upon night's counterpane. But - Again the movement... Will it hold beyond a catch of moment? To fragment... Not kaleidoscope. No center. But again... To form it will. To will it form. Structure... Pain... Deadly, deadly... And lovely. Like a sleek, small dog... A plastic statue... The notes of an organ, the first slug of gin on an empty stomach... We settle again, farther than ever before... Center. The light!... It is difficult being a god. The pain. The beauty. The terror of selfless - Act! Yes. Center, center, center... Here? Deadly...
necess yet again from bridge of brainbow oyotecraven stare decesis on landaway necessity timeslast the arnings ent and tided turn yet beastfall nor mindstorms neither in their canceling sarved cut the line that binds ecessity towarn and findaway twill open pandorapack wishdearth amen amenusensis opend the mand of min apend the pain of durthwursht vernichtung desiree tolight and eadly dth cessity sesame
We are the key."
Friday, December 12, 2003 4:07 PM
For Sinatra's Birthday
Sinatra made as good use as anyone in the past century of the
12-note tempered scale, so the above seems a reasonably apt tribute on this, his
Thursday, December 11, 2003 1:15 PM
The title is a reference to the horse in yesterday's entry of 6:13 PM.
The time of that entry, 6:13, is a deliberate reference* to the date of a June 13, 2003, entry, for the birthday of W. B. Yeats.
That entry contains the following --
Behold a Pale Horse:
A link in memory of Gregory Peck,
which leads to...
"It was not a mere soldier's courage, like gripping a weapon and charging the foe: it was like charging Death itself on his pale horse.
Even at his best, his island parrot, the better loved of the
two, spoke no word he was not taught to speak by his master. How then has it
come about that this man of his, who is a kind of parrot and not much loved,
writes as well as or better than his master? For he wields an able pen, this man
of his, no doubt of that. Like charging Death himself on his pale horse. His own
skill, learned in the counting house, was in making tallies and accounts, not in
turning phrases. Death himself on his pale horse: those are words he would not
think of. Only when he yields himself up to this man of his do such words
-- J. M. Coetzee, Nobel Prize
of Dec. 10, 2003
* As is the time of this entry.
Wednesday, December 10, 2003 6:13 PM
Putting Descartes Before Dehors
"Descartes déclare que c'est en moi, non hors de moi, en moi, non dans le monde, que je pourrais voir si quelque chose existe hors de moi."
-- ATRIUM, Philosophie
For further details, see ART WARS.
Wednesday, December 10, 2003 1:44 PM
From the Internet Broadway Database entry on the play Tru, starring Robert Morse:
"Setting: Truman Capote's
New York apartment at
870 United Nations Plaza.
One week before Christmas, 1975."
For Lewis Allen, producer of Tru, who died on Monday, the Buddhist holy day Rohatsu...
Robert Morse again performs "In My Room" (see previous entry), but this time the space he describes is the complex plane.
Capote collected paperweights; the complex plane is an apt setting for what
might be called "paperweights of eternity" -- i.e., Riemann spheres. Click
on the spheres for a larger version, the work of Anders Sandberg.
See, too, Russell Crowe as Santa's Helper.
Tuesday, December 9, 2003 11:11 AM
Street of the Fathers
From Bruce Wagner's Wild Palms --
Robert Morse sings in Kyoto
as negotiators discuss
the Go chip:
"In My Room"
Coordinates for a 4x4 space:
A Small Go Board Study:
Université René Descartes,
45 rue des Saints Pères,
Monday, December 8, 2003 11:11 PM
Dream of Youth
Today is the feast day of
Saint Hermann Weyl.
In his honor, here are two links:
The Jugendtraum and
Langlands on the Jugendtraum.
Monday, December 8, 2003 1:11 AM
Dead Poets Society
On Friday, December 5, 2003, I picked up a copy of An Introduction to Poetry, by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia, 8th ed., at a used book sale for 50 cents.
The previous entry concerns a poem by Buson I found in that book, and contains a link on Kennedy's name to a work suitable for this holiday season.
As additional thanks for the poem, here are links to a two-part interview with Gioia:
Paradigms Lost: Part One, and
Paradigms Lost: Part Two.
"A poem need not shout to be heard."
-- Dana Gioia
Monday, December 8, 2003 12:00 AM
"The Buddha was enlightened on the eighth of December when he looked up at the morning star, the planet we call Venus."
-- Shodo Harada Roshi, Dharma Talk
A poem for Rohatsu:
On the one-ton temple bell
a moon-moth, folded into sleep,
~by Taniguchi Buson
(translated by X.J. Kennedy)
Commentary on poetry of Buson:
Poetry as an open space
for lightening of Being
"... a cleft of existence from where the time is to extend to eternity. It is a place where 'nothing' crosses with 'being' or the 'clearing' in Heidegger's term, the only light place in the dark forest."
-- Hiroo Saga
In other words,
From Here to Eternity.
For more on Zen, see the
entry of May 2, 2003.
For more on a Temple Bell, see the
entry of May 1, 2003.
For more on Venus, see the
entry of March 28, 2003.
For more on the morning star, see the
entry of December 8, 2002.
Sunday, December 7, 2003 1:11 PM
"The 'Samurai Grandmother'
has passed away…"
Singer was the author of
Cults in Our Midst.
For some background on
Singer and Scientology,
see The Anti-Cult Movement.
" 'I might look like a little old grandma, but I'm no pushover,' she told a reporter last year, just before tossing back another shot of Bushmills Irish whiskey, her libation of choice."
"Occasionally threatened, Singer refused to back down. In a 2002 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, she told how, at 80, she had frightened off someone who'd been leaving menacing notes in her mailbox."
|"I've got a 12-gauge shotgun|
up here with a spray pattern that'll put a three-foot hole in you, sonny, and you'd better get off my porch, or you'll be sorry!" she shouted out the window.
Sunday, December 7, 2003 2:45 AM
Annals of Education:
Eyes on the Prize
Dialogue from "Good Will Hunting" --
Will: He used to just put a
a stick, and a wrench
on the kitchen table
and say, "Choose."
Sean: Gotta go with the belt, there.
Will: I used to go with the wrench.
Location, Location, Location
See, too, Dick Morris on triangulation.
Friday, December 5, 2003 1:06 PM
For Joan Didion on her birthday
From "On Keeping a Notebook" (1966)
in Slouching Towards Bethlehem:
How it felt to me: that is getting closer to the truth about a notebook. I sometimes delude myself about why I keep a notebook, imagine that some thrifty virtue derives from preserving everything observed. See enough and write it down, I tell myself, and then some morning when the world seems drained of wonder, some day when I am only going through the motions of doing what I am supposed to do, which is write- on that bankrupt morning I will simply open my notebook and there it will all be, a forgotten account with accumulated interest, paid passage back to the world out there: dialogue overheard in hotels and elevators and at the hatcheck counter in Pavillon (one middle-aged man shows his hat check to another and says, "That's my old football number")....
I imagine, in other words, that the notebook is about other people. But of course it is not. I have no real business with what one stranger said to another at the hat-check counter in Pavillon; in fact I suspect that the line "That's my old football number" touched not my own imagination at all, but merely some memory of something once read, probably "The Eighty-Yard Run."
From a 1994 interview with Tommy Lee Jones by Bryant Gumbel:
Gumbel: While majoring in English, Jones was also an offensive guard on the Harvard football team. Number 61 in your program, his last game, against Yale, proved to be one of the most famous games every played. Harvard scored 16 points in the last 42 seconds to gain a 29-all tie. (Photo of Jones in football uniform, footage of 1968 football game.)
Mr. J: It couldn't have been a more spectacular way to leave the game that had been so important to me all my life. The grass had never looked that green, nor the sky that blue.
Gumbel: That lucky game was for Jones a precursor of good fortune to come. It seems Harvard´s team doctor, Thomas Quigley, had caught some of Tommy Lee's off the field plays and come away impressed. (Photo of Jones at rehearsal)
Mr. J: And when I was about to graduate, he asked if I had thought about going to New York, and I said I didn't know. He said, "Well, if you do, take this letter and give it to my daughter, she's doing a play."
Ms. Jane Alexander (Actress): And I opened it. It was from my father, and it said: "This young man excels at Harvard. He is a good football player, but he wants to be an actor. Take care of him." So I introduced him to a few agents, and right away he got a job.
Mr. J: And I had one line.... The line was five words long.
Gumbel: Were this a fairy tale, it would be....
Joan Didion: "That's my old football