Thursday, August 31, 2006 11:09 PM
A sneering review from TIME Magazine, March 23, 1962:
"Hero Ford, a playboy from Argentina, falls pampassionately in love with Heroine Thulin, a Parisienne married to a patriotic editor. When the editor joins the Resistance, the hero realizes his duty and secretly does the same. Unaware of his decision, the heroine decides that he is merely a lightweight, and goes back to her husband. At the fade, while the violins soar among the bomb bursts, the poor misunderstood playboy dies heroically in an attempt to weaken the Wehrmacht's defenses in Normandy.
The tale is trite, the script clumsy, and the camera work grossly faked. Though the lovers wander all over Paris, the Cathedral of Notre Dame turns up in the background practically everywhere they go, almost as if it were following them around like a little dog."
TIME Magazine is still wearing the Ivy League sneer it displayed so impressively in 1962.
A less dismissive summary from Answers.com:
"The World War I setting of the original Blasco-Ibanez novel has been updated to World War II, but the basic plot remains the same. A well-to-do Argentinian family, rent asunder by the death of patriarch Lee J. Cobb, scatters to different European countries in the late 1930s. Before expiring, Cobb had warned his nephew Carl Boehm that the latter's allegiance to the Nazis would bring down the wrath of the titular Four Horsemen: War, Conquest, Famine and Death. Ford, Cobb's grandson, has promised to honor his grandfather's memory by thwarting the plans of Boehm. At the cost of his own life, Ford leads allied bombers to Boehm's Normandy headquarters."
In memory of Glenn Ford, a talented character actor who died at 90 yesterday, the opening paragraphs of an obituary in The Scotsman:
Screen icon Glenn Ford
dies at 90RHIANNON EDWARD
GLENN Ford, one of the most enduring stars of the silver screen, has died at the age of 90.
Ford, who appeared in more than 200 films in a career spanning five decades, died at his home in Beverly Hills.
The actor's health had been in decline for a number of years after he suffered a series of strokes.
Although he never achieved the superstardom he craved, Ford was widely acclaimed as one of the best character actors in the business.
The business of narrative:
From a narrative suggested by the name of The Scotsman's reporter and related, if only by association with Normandy, to Ford's "Four Horsemen" film:
"The Vandaleurs are a family of Norman nobles with a heritable version of the mages' Gift. They have been using magic covertly for what appears to have been a very long time.... Another branch of the family is known to hold a fief in Normandy, but it is not yet known if they are covert magicians as well."
The Vandaleur narrative may be of interest to fans of The Da Vinci Code. (Ford is said to have been a Freemason, a charter member of Riviera Lodge No. 780, Pacific Palisades, California.)
For Catholics and others who prefer more traditional narratives:
The Four Horsemen
of the Apocalypse
Thursday, August 31, 2006 12:25 PM
for Van Morrison
on his birthday
She's as sweet as
From March 24, 2006:
Life of the Party
Wednesday, August 30, 2006 7:00 PM
"Research & Ideas" memo from Harvard Business School dated April 17, 2006:
"The word experience comes from the Latin words ex pericolo, which mean 'from danger.'"
-- Etymology by Professor Joseph Badaracco of Harvard University. Badaracco gives no evidence for his dubious claim.
Related (if only temporally):
Easter Monday, April 17, 2006.
"In many ways, the arts are the highest achievements of man."
-- Harvard President
''We intensively train children in the Arts and ritual because deep down we know that these are the only things that really MATTER. This is what we must share first with the young, in case they DIE."
-- Lucy Ellmann, Dot in the Universe, quoted in today's [2/29/04] New York Times
Harvard persons from parts of the university that are more scholarly than the Business School may sneer at the above-quoted Online Etymology Dictionary. They can consult the following:
J.L. Austin,From Ritual to Theatre: The Human Seriousness of Play:
"Scholars, such as Julius Pokorny (Indogermanisches Etymolgisches Worterbuch, 1959), trace 'experience' right back to hypothetical Indo-European base or root *per-, 'to attempt, venture, risk,' whence the Greek peira,"experience," the source of our word 'empirical.' It is also the verbal root which derives the Germanic *feraz, giving rise to Old English faer, "danger, sudden calamity," whence Modern English 'fear.' Already, we see the 'cognitive' directions taken by * per-, through the Greek route, and affective ones, through the Germanic -- which would have interested Dilthey, one may be sure! But more directly 'experience' derives, via Middle English and Old French, from the Latin experientia, denoting 'trial, proof, experiment,' itself generated from experiens, the present participle of experiri, 'to try, test,' from from ex-, 'out' + base per as in peritus, 'experienced,' 'having learned by trying.' The suffixed extended form of *per is peri-tlo-, whence the Latin periclum, periculum, "trial, danger, peril. Once more, we find experience linked with risk, straining towards 'drama,' crisis, rather than bland cognitive learning!"
"... Finally, 'experiment,' like 'experience,' is derived from Latin experiri "to try or test." If we put these various senses together we have a 'laminated' semantic system focused on 'experience,' which portrays it as a journey, a test (of self, of suppositions about others), a ritual passage, an exposure to peril or risk, a source of fear. By means of experience, we 'fare' 'fearfully' through 'perils,' taking 'experimental' steps. ..." (17-18)
The above is taken from an anonymous weblog entry. The author of the entry identified the source as From Ritual to Theatre: The Human Seriousness of Play. The author of the entry falsely stated that the author of this book was J. L. Austin. In fact, the book was written by Victor Turner, apparently the same philosophical sociologist whom we encountered in the previous entry and in the Log24 entry for the recent feast of St. Max Black. Turner may have been quoting Austin; pages from the book are not available online. Another author, however, says the quotation is by Turner himself. See Rena Fraden's Imagining Medea, pp. 218-219.
Today's previous entry is a sort of "ritual passage" for a Nobel Prize winner. For a ritual passage more directly related to Professor Badaracco, see the Brookline TAB obituary of his 23-year-old daughter, who died on Monday, August 21, 2006. According to today's online Harvard Crimson, "she was walking along Hammond Street in Newton [Mass.] when an 84-year-old driver jumped the curb and struck her."
From her Brookline TAB obituary of Thursday, Aug. 24, 2006:
"Funeral services will be held Friday [Aug. 25, 2006] at 10 a.m. at St. Mary’s of the Assumption Church, at 67 Harvard St.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Centro Romero Community Center in Chicago: 6216 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60660."
Wednesday, August 30, 2006 10:07 AM
A Multicultural Farewell
"Doctor Jackson has identified
the seventh symbol."
Other versions of
the seventh symbol --
"... Max Black, the Cornell
philosopher, and others have pointed out how 'perhaps every science
must start with metaphor and end with algebra, and perhaps without the
metaphor there would never have been any algebra' ...."
-- Max Black, Models and Metaphors, Cornell U. Press, 1962, page 242, as quoted in Dramas, Fields, and Metaphors, by Victor Witter Turner, Cornell U. Press, paperback, 1975, page 25
Tuesday, August 29, 2006 7:21 PM
The Hand of Grace
"Only the hand of grace
can end the race"
"Have you tried 22 tonight?"
-- Rick in Casablanca
Today's lottery in Pennsylvania
(state of Grace):
Mid-day 229, evening 119.
-- "To what serves Mortal Beauty?,"
by Gerard Manley Hopkins, S. J.
"Cash it in, and don't come back."
Tuesday, August 29, 2006 3:09 PM
See also today's entry at noon.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006 12:00 PM
"... maybe it was McCain's role as 'movie-teller' that he cherishes most-- the man who used to narrate the plots of films to his fellow PoWs in the compound. 'I must have told a hundred movies,' says McCain. 'Of course I don't know a hundred movies-- I made them up.'"
-- The Guardian
One year ago today:
President George W. Bush joins Arizona Senator John McCain in a small celebration of McCain's 69th birthday Monday, Aug. 29, 2005, after the President's arrival at Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix. The President later spoke about Medicare to 400 guests at the Pueblo El Mirage RV Resort and Country Club in nearby El Mirage. White House photo by Paul Morse
Monday, August 28, 2006 1:00 AM
Augustine of Hippo, who is said to
have died on this date in 430 A.D.
"He is, after all, not merely taking over a Neoplatonic ontology, but he is attempting to combine it with a scriptural tradition of a rather different sort, one wherein the divine attributes most prized in the Greek tradition (e.g. necessity, immutability, and atemporal eternity) must somehow be combined with the personal attributes (e.g. will, justice, and historical purpose) of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."
Here is a rather different attempt
to combine the eternal with the temporal:
Symbol of necessity,
For details, see
Symbol of the
For details, see
Sunday, August 27, 2006 4:00 PM
Saturday, August 26, 2006 8:00 PM
"Alcatraz, Spanish for pelican, was named Isla de los Alcatraces after the birds that were the island's only inhabitants." --Bay City Guide
"... the Philosopher’s Stone was a psychic rather than a physical product. It symbolized one’s Self...."
"The formula presents a symbol of the self...."
"... Jung presents a diagram to illustrate the dynamic movements of the self...."
...the movement of
a self in the rock...
-- Wallace Stevens:
The Poems of Our Climate,
by Harold Bloom,
Cornell U. Press, 1977
Friday, August 25, 2006 9:29 AM
Thursday, August 24, 2006 4:00 AM
A classic of mathematical history in this week's New Yorker begins,
"On the evening of June 20th, several hundred physicists, including a Nobel laureate, assembled in an auditorium at the Friendship Hotel in Beijing for a lecture by the Chinese mathematician Shing-Tung Yau."
The story, by Sylvia Nasar and David Gruber, is now online.
Log24 on June 20th
(morning in New York,
evening in Beijing)--
Wednesday, August 23, 2006 2:45 AM
"'Once upon a time' used to be a gateway to a land that was inviting precisely because it was timeless, like the stories it introduced and their ageless lessons about the human condition."
-- Dorothea Israel Wolfson, Claremont Review of Books, Summer 2006
"It's quarter to three..." --Sinatra
Tuesday, August 22, 2006 9:00 AM
In talks at Valencia, Spain, in May through August of 2004, Alexander Borisenko, of Kharkov National University in the Ukraine, provided a detailed introduction to the topic of today's opening lecture at ICM 2006 in Madrid:
An Introduction to Hamilton and Perelman's Work on the Conjectures of Poincare and Thurston (pdf, 155 pages).
For a less detailed introduction, see an ICM 2006 press release (pdf, 3 pages) on Fields Medal winner Grigory Perelman.
"How much story do you want?"
-- George Balanchine
Tuesday, August 22, 2006 12:00 AMBeginnings
Monday, August 21, 2006 9:00 AM
Saturday, August 19, 2006 4:28 PM
Saturday, August 19, 2006 1:14 PM
"Here was finality indeed,
-- Under the Volcano
Thursday, August 17, 2006 2:20 PM
From a review by Liesl Schillinger in the Aug. 13 New York Times of a new novel by Marisha Pessl:
"... Special Topics in Calamity Physics tells the story of a wise newcomer who joins a circle of students who orbit a charismatic teacher with a tragic secret. The newcomer, a motherless waif named Blue van Meer, spent most of her life driving between college towns with her genius poli-sci professor father, Gareth.... Gareth is fond of making oracular statements, which his daughter laps up as if they were Churchill's: 'Everyone is responsible for the page-turning tempo of his or her Life Story,' he tells her. And, he cautions, 'never try to change the narrative structure of someone else's story.'
.... Heeding Gareth van Meer's dictum that the most page-turning read known to man is the collegiate curriculum, with its 'celestial, sweet set of instructions, culminating in the scary wonder of the Final Exam,' Pessl structures Blue's mystery like a kind of Great Books class.... A professor is all-powerful, Gareth liked to tell his daughter, he puts 'a veritable frame around life,' and 'organizes the unorganizable. Nimbly partitions it into modern and postmodern, renaissance, baroque, primitivism, imperialism and so on. Splice that up with Research Papers, Vacation, Midterms. All that order-- simply divine.' Blue's syllabus also includes a murder or two. Her book's last pages are a final exam. You will be relieved to learn it is mostly multiple choice, and there is no time limit."
The examination below, taken from a page by a scholar at a Jesuit university, is on the Borges story "The Garden of Forking Paths"-- a classic of multiple choice.
No time limit:
See the first question.
"The Garden of Forking Paths"
"What is the meaning of the idea expressed by Yu Tsun that 'everything happens to a man precisely, precisely now.
Centuries of centuries and only in the present do things happen'? What
is the significance of the emphasis on the present moment, the here and
now? Is this related to the carpe diem ('seize the day')
idea? How? How is the present effectively connected to the past and the
future? How is the present associated simultaneously to choices,
actions, and consequences? How is the present moment relevant to the
idea of the 'forking paths'? What is the symbolic meaning of forking
paths when understood as a crossroads? What is a person confronted with
when standing at a crossroads? What are the implications of a choice of
road? May this be connected to the myth of Oedipus and its concerns
with human choices and supposed predestination? What is suggested by
the idea that 'in all fictional works, each time a man is confronted
with several alternatives, he chooses one and eliminates the others; in
the fiction of Ts'ui Pen, he chooses-- simultaneously-- all of them. He
creates, in this way, diverse futures, diverse times which themselves
also proliferate and fork'? What does it mean to make all choices at
once? What view of life do such beliefs embody?"
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