Sunday, September 30, 2007

Happy Birthday Mavlana Jalaluddin Rumi !!!

We are celebrating his 800th birthday today.

He, of course, would quite probably never have done such.

UK credit crunch?

Credit queue [such word is not in current use in America] in Britain?

Mise en abyme of the *Billy Elliot* movie?

A tribute to Marc Bolan:

Limits of Individualism

*How Novels Think: the Limits of Individualism from 1719-1900* by Nancy Armstrong

This is indeed an intriguing title! I wonder if she gets into identity formation from fictional elements? Oscar Wilde's "life imitates art" can be seen so often.

How much of one's own 'persona', even of how one perceives oneself, has come from fictional elements?

Mise en Abyme

Although some may gainsay the abyssal connection, I feel an 'out-of-body feeling' also belongs to this term.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Psychiatric application of Homer's Iliad & Odyssey

Homer is more relevant than credits he usually doesn't get. Check out Jonathan Shay's books, *Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character* and *Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming*.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Mammoth Dung

Reuters has an interesting environmental story on mammoth dung melt:

Shades of Tiny Tim's 1960 era hit song, "The Icecaps Are Melting!".

Watch your step if you visit Siberia!

Bleach anime series

For this coming Saturday at midnight episode 51 of the Bleach anime series is scheduled. That will conclude the 2nd season of this excellent japanime series.
I enjoy finding the same archetypes appear in slightly different characters in different japanime: Don Kanoji in Bleach bears remarkable similarity to an ebullient italianate character ( Fulcanelli ?) in Shaman King, und so weiter.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

a pair of contraries

Life is of course, for each of us, a fatal journey.

Looking at a couple of recent movies, I see two protagonists,
opposites in almost every way, with totally dissimilar philosophies,
in a union of contrary head-trips worthy of the ancient greek
philosopher Heraclitus.

*Venus* with Peter O'Toole, released in 2006 and now out on DVD is a
myth of hedonistic but urbane old tragedians.

*Into the Wild* with Emile Hirsch, due for theatrical release October
17, 2007, is a myth of idealistic youth, a 'coming-of-age story' based
on a fact-based myth.

the actual Christopher 'Alex' McCandless myth:

Pragmatic Philodoxy & Rhetorical Virtue

A contemporary overlook upon the daimon of Plato's Socrates and William James, David Hume, Immanuel Kant et al:

In *Human Goodness: Pragmatic Variations on Platonic Themes*, Paul Schollmeier explains that the Greeks define happiness as an activity that we may perform for its own sake.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Devil's Bible

Who would have thunk he had his own Bible?

The infernal book belongs to the Royal Library of Sweden.

Cave Skylights Spotted on Mars!

That doesn't sound like typical NASA, does it? At first I suspected a prank; but it appears to be a legitimate NASA release. Fuels a lot of wondering, doesn't it?

Heraklit und Sein Kampf

Heraclitus, ancient greek philosopher, maintained that War and Strife
are necessary to being: #25) "War is both father of all and king of
all...." #26) "It must be seen that struggle is the common condition;
that strife is justice; and all things happen according to strife and
necessity." #27) "Homer was wrong in saying 'Would that strife might
perish from among gods and men' for if that were to occur, the
universe would cease to exist."

Here's Prof. Harris' commentary on Heraclitus:

The Titanomachy and Gigantomachy are archetypal greek myths.

p.s. It seems to me that people sublimate their war drives in such
things as watching action films, sports, and many types of television
viewing; political expression; competition of various types; aggressive driving;
commerce and litigation.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Recite Homer's Iliad in Greek for Health

from "Heartbeat Poetry" by Nicole Garbarini,
Scientific American Magazine, October 2004 :

"Reciting the Iliad could have epic effects on your health.
German physiologists have recently shown that such poetry
[dactylic hexameter]
can get your heart beating in time with your breaths.

This synchronization may improve gas exchange in the lungs
as well as the body's sensitivity and responsiveness to
blood pressure changes.

Cardiovascular and respiratory responses are not normally in sync.
Rhythmic fluctuations in blood pressure take place naturally in
10-second-long cycles known as Mayer waves, whereas
spontaneous breathing normally occurs at a rate of
approximately 15 breaths per minute."

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Are you hepcats really edgy?

"So you wanna dump out yo trick bag,
Ease on into a hip bag,
But you ain't just exactly sure what's hip.

"So you start to let your hair grow,
Spent big bucks on your wardrobe,
But somehow you know there's much more to the trip.

"What is hip? Tell me tell me, if you think ya know.
What is hip? And if you're really hip, the passing years will show,
That you into a hip trip, maybe hipper than hip.
But what is hip?

"So you became part of the new breed.
Been smoking only the best weed.
Hanging out with so-called hippest set.
Been seen in all the right places,
Seen with just the right faces.
You should be satisfied,
But still it ain't quite right.

"What is hip? Tell me tell me if you think you know.
What is hip? And if you're really hip.
The passing years would show,
That you into a hip trip, maybe hipper than hip.
What is hip?

"Hipness is what it is
Sometimes hipness is what it ain't

"You done went and found you a guru,
In an effort to find you a new you.
And maybe even managed to raise your conscience level.

"As you're striving to find the right road,
There's one thing you should know:
What's hip today might become passe'.

"What is hip? Tell me tell me if you think you know.
What is hip? And if you're really hip, the passing years would show
That you into a hip trip. Maybe hipper than hip.
What is hip?"
from "What Is Hip?" by Tower of Power (1973)

Discursive Strategies

'Discursive strategies' are powerful attitude-shaping techniques used by journalist and other media that escape the notice of most of us. I have been amazed at the political usage of this in America for many years now. I quote a professor's message, regarding this, below. nekkid

"Jonathan Hall's two books on ethnicity in antiquity are splendid, but
also a bit hard to teach. This is not because Hall's argumentation
is loose -- it's not -- but because he uses some concepts and terms
that college sophomores find novel and a bit alien.
"An example: chapter three of _Ethnic Identity in Greek Antiquity_ (a
book reviewed by a procession of heavyweights in Cambridge
Archaeological Journal, 1998, but completely unreviewed at Hall builds his case, that Greek ethnic thought in the
fifth century was oppositional or dyadic, on a series of oppositions
or dyads, one of which is 'historical positivism' vs. 'discursive
strategies.' The students I saw yesterday rolled their eyes at the
second term, but were completely unable to say what it might mean.

"All that changed when they started thinking about the sports pages.
Until this week, the noun perhaps most often associated with Bill
Belichick, football coach of the New ENgland Patriots, was 'genius.'
The pairing has occurred at least 60x in the NYT since 1987. But now
we know Belichick cheated.

"The 'genius' label was perhaps justified. But it was a discursive
phenomenon, perhaps a 'strategy,' fostered by the press. So much so
that for many American football fans, the word 'genius' came to mind
at once on hearing Belichick's name. With this in mind, students had
a much easier time returning to Jonathan Hall's case that myths of
ethnic formation were just that, myths, and elements in the
discursive strategy that shaped Athenian and Spartan thinking about
their pasts.
Dan Tompkins" [pericles@TEMPLE.EDU]

'choux pastry heart

What sort of heart is a " 'choux pastry heart "? Corinne Bailey Rae sings exquisitely of it in the 2006 movie, *Venus*. The song, " 'choux pastry heart' " was composed by Teitur Lassen.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Yippee ti yi yo, git along little doggies!

Yeah, and I always liked and occasionally sing other traditional cattlepoke songs like "I ride an old paint". The Guthries, Woody and Arlo, kept that 'un alive into the late 20th Century. But the meaning of 'hoolihan' in it was kinda lost.

But, the latest "American Slang Word of the Week" in the Oxford University Press blog is 'hoolihan' meaning, so they say: "1. (among cowboys) a backhand thrown loop for roping horses.
2. an exciting or extraordinary event.
In phrase: throw the hoolihan [fr. sense of (1), above] (among cowboys) to celebrate riotously." Woody Guthrie

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Greek Dance

Investigating the meaning of the ancient pyrrhic dance, I came upon this excellent site:

The pyrrhic dance was said to be invented by Pyrrikhos for the funeral of Patroclus. It later became a popular entertainment for Athenian festivals.

Monday, September 03, 2007


My ancient greek word for the day is 'garos', a second declension masculine noun which LSJ defines as "a kind of sauce or paste made of brine and small fish". Too bad they didn't also say it is fermented like the modern Thai anchovy sauce and British Worcestershire sauce.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

'Original Sin' and the 'Select Elect'

'Original Sin' would mean all humans are evil, bad to the bone, from birth; sharing the guilt of some very far removed, mythological ancestors.
Not the sort of thing an equitable god, but only a whimsical despot would hold to. Seems a cruel culture-bound orientation native to the Levant and Middle-East.

Some philosopher wrote something to the effect that systemic philosophy was intrinsically misleading. I think it may have been Nietzsche or Heidegger. The same, it seems to me, applies to theology. Most of the evil in religions appears to stem from institutional systemic theology. Perhaps they ought to keep it simple like most of the truly holy people appear to.

Was 'original sin' a metaphor misinterpreted to be doctrine or dogma? I suspect so. And the same for many other dogmates, and other barriers set up by collectives and legalists . Jesus spoke to this sort of thing during his public life (Luke 11: 46 & 52).
Much suffering and misery are attributable to the 'original sin dogma'.