Friday, January 30, 2009

Try, try, again, and get slightly transformed.

The books about the theories of relativity, special and general and the books about quantum physics--they start with the promise that this time, they will make it clear. They don't, for me, but each one helps me understand a little better the shape of what I don't understand.
To the sea, how shall we get there? Walk, or ride the water?
In an alternative world, if you found a word in someone else's beliefs that you couldn't understand, you would say, "I don't understand this" rather than "This doesn't make sense."

"Jumbo" didn't start as a word for large.

It was how non-Africans heard an African word for a spirit, and it was used as a name for an elephant, large among elephants, 11 feet tall at his shoulder. It was part of mumbo-jumbo, the spirit name as heard. Mumbo jumbo became a terms for nonsense, jumbo was applied to an elephant capture in Africa.

He lived for seventeen years in the London Zoo, and then was sold, amid much protest, for ten thousand 1882 dollars to P. T. Barnum, the circus guy. As Jumbo the elephant became more and more famous, the world Jumbo was extended to many large things, often large sizes of commercial products, like now.

Thomas Nast, the cartoonist who attacked Boss Tweed and the Tammany Machine in New York and who made an elephant the symbol of the Republican Party, drew a picture of Jumbo with a shackle around one of his feet in what he labled "Barnum's American Dungeon." Jumbo had tears running down his face.

Barnum displayed Jumbo for three years, as the circus travelled. Then Jumbo was killed by an unscheduled freight train, which seems like it couldn't have happened if he had been left in the London Zoo, or in Africa. This doesn't make sense to me, all this capture and movement. I'm used to hearing such stories, but it doesn't make sense to me, in a large and draining way.

--information from Ruthven Tremaine's "The Animal's Who's Who: 1,146 Celebrated Animals in History, Popular Lore, Culture, and Literature."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Great blessing happens at the right time, makes the time right.
The angel is in the details, if done well.

Finding something deep inside a procedure, toy, or building, work of art or book, that shows that someone making it thought wisely and like beauty makes it more likely the one pleasantly surprised by the find will connect, in daily life, thought, beauty and detailed action.
Be a doll, and help me out here. Be an action figure.
Some bits of dust in the daytime, lit by the sun, look like they're about the same size are stars shining at night, but they aren't.
The thin layer of air right above the concrete has its own weather. We ask for that to be blessed, and go on from there.
I could bag all other plans and become individually aware of every tree in the nearest park.
Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh books and Dickens' "Pickwick Papers" are similar in that beings who are loveable and not brilliant have many small adventures.
The purple flowers and the yellow flowers liked the night because they can hear better at night, but now, as they and their dirt patch roll toward the sun, they are ready to enjoy the day and that photosynthesis feeling.
I like living up here at the scale where matter seems unambiguously to exist. It's hand, day to day.
Dream of something else, come back and solve this.
The air around your hand, the solids and liquids your hand is made of are moving
Inaccurate food to feed a real hunger can lead to messiness. Don't settle.
Heart ford, where tenderness can travel safely.
Paranoia is repititive, making different parts of reality seem more samey than they are.
That's the way it was then. Now, it's different.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I had to get smarter to succeed, or at least much more aware of what I do not know.
Some people are almost born drawing. Gurgling and staring, they are just waiting for their motor skills to develop.
I used to think it would be good if when I jumped and did a triple somesault, somebody would be there when I landed. I wasn't optimistic enough to think of we jump together.
God endorses my system of categories. God says, yes, that is exactly how I think

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Even more than others with his kind of job, all he does is his job, professional football coach. It strikes me reading his book about himself that it wouldn't make much difference to him what part of the US he lives in--football places and home are it. He has not other interests.

He got fired after years of pretty good football, less good lately. The analyzers said he won his one championship early, with the previous coach's team. Analyzers said he seemed to keep solving problems as they came up and had no long term plan.

I suspect to think long term you've got to pause. He seemed to not give himself a chance to look up from the antique car he was renovating, say, and see his team in a whole new way. Or, niftier yet, see the game itself from a whole other angle and boggle all the other coaches for a few years.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Her singing would have ripped the roof off, but there was no roof. The sky feels much better now.
Sheet metal sculpture sit still along the edges of the street, and sheet metal sculptures are moving in the middle.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Day mind, night mind. Keep them listening to each other.
If you are an artist who is part of the art world of galleries, museums, and universities, you can make art that is ugly, and the system, if it likes that ugly art, will force it on the public. If you aren't in that system, you can get more freedom by making beautiful art that people see and want on their own.

Dave Hickey wrote this in "Invisible Dragon: Four Essays on Beauty." The artist Mark Flood was thinking about the idea when suddenly he started doing paintings of old torn lace in bright colors lace wouldn't have been in lace days. These large, as tall as a short person paintings, caused people who looked at them to say, "I must have that."

I first saw a Flood lace painting much smaller than its in-person size, leafing through an interesting magazine from RVCA, the clothes and art store. I was looking at interesting things in this interesting magazine, and was suddenly riveted when I saw the reproduction of the lace painting. My spirit was lifted, my heart soared, that kind of thing. Beauty can make life seem totally worth it, at least for that gleaming moment.
If day is dying in the west, night is being born, not mention all those days starting over around the curve.
Give and live rhyme in English, which is pointed of them.
If I am inside a mood where I think everything is stupid and pointless, I am wrong about some things.
It's impolite to make atoms be weapons, given all that matter has done for us.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

To accept the gift when given and not just when I'm desperate, and then to wait to find out what it's for.
New dew for the early walker. Fresh bits of sky for your shoes.
Be with.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

If we could love more the apparently minor moments, maybe we wouldn't have to spend so much time unconsciously manufacturing moments of high and destructive drama.
What I knew about Edith Stein's life before I started to read a book about her was she grew up Jewish; she converted to Catholicism, and the Nazis killed her for being Jewish.

I didn't know she was a philosopher. I got the drama, missed the work.

An important and horrible drama. Yet I feel I have been told about it again and again without this phrase: "Edith Stein, a philospher. . ." or "Edith Stein, whom some consider to be an important philosophical thinker and was the author of 'Finite and Infinite Being. . .'"

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

He was an engineer who often testified at public hearings about what sites power plants might be built at. He as paid to do this by a utility that wanted to build a power plant on a certain site.

He and people paid by environmental groups who testified the other way at hearings saw and heard each other again and again at hearings. Especially at hearings about nuclear power plantes, feelings were intense and unfriendly.

He got tired of the dance.

Adversarilly--that's how we officially seek truth around here. But he got tired of it. He thought of the smart, well-meaning people on the other side and smart, well-meaning him getting together and just talking, applying what they know to the good of society.

He approached one of his familiar adversaries with this idea, and he was firmly, angrily refused.

So he decided to do it himself.

He decided to have the free-wheeling discussion of how to create power in a free, democratic, power-hungry society with himself, starting from the beginning.

The beginning, for an engineer, is thinking about risk.

The usual way that power plants produce electricity is by boiling water, which runs a steam generator, which produces electricity.

That's how nuclear power plants work also. It's not like when human figured out how to split the atom they figured out how to produce electricty from that split. The controlled nuclear reaction produces heat, which is used to boil water, which runs a steam generator, which produces electricty.

The controlled nuclear reaction produces thousands of degrees of heat in excess of what is needed to boil water. So nuclear plants have those cooling towers that look like cylinders with a waistline.

If nuclear power goes wrong it can do much damage. Damage to people over a whole region--making them very sick outright, or causing them to get cancer when they would not have.

That's the risk, or a big part of it. But an engineer knows there is always risk, with any human-made thing. We reduce the risk to reasonable levels, and we go on.

Richard Meehan was by training and temperment inclined to feel that people testifying against a nuclear power plant were unrealitic about risk. That they didn't realize that there is always risk.

--I'm talking about Richard Meehan's book "The Atom and the Fault: Experts, Earthquakes, and Nuclear Power." There's more to be said.
Most of our ancestors didn't talk. Amoebas quietly amoebaing, for example.
The Baltimore Ravens, of US football, are a sports team named after a poem. "The Raven" was written by Edgar Allan Poe, who lived in Baltimore.

As birds go, ravens are big. As people go, football players are big. Defense says, "Never." Offense says, "More."
Shall I take my temper for a walk and find things to get annoyed at under the great, high sky?
When watering seeds, it is important to not wash the seeds away.
Be with
9, all rounded and pregnant with possibilities of change.
I don't want to feel this good about one guy I haven't even met. I don't want to feel this good about one country. I could get with feeling this good about the world and all its people--our positive might.
All those categories, and all possible attitudes toward those categories, are part of the disease.
One of the problems with nuclear power generation is there is nobody here but us humans to run the plants.
Less than half the length of the usual pencil, no eraser--all that time, I thought they were library pencils. Then once the library people put some out in the box they came in. They are pencils to keep score with in golf.
Mrs. Mickelthwaite, My Love are two flower names, Lanning Roder has in his alphabetic list of lupins in his book "Hardy Herbaceous Plants." "Mrs. Micklethwaite, my love," an imagined song, contains a gentle bit of how I feel.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

F. Scott Fitzgerald, when he went ot work in Hollywood, got a high salary even among the big name literary writers lured to Hollywood to be screenwriters.

The high salary is one reason he got fired when he did. If he had had a lower salary, they might have kepr him one when his first projects didn't work out to see if he learned. But as it was, he was a big expense, easy to cut.

--I read that in a book about what big name writers in the thirties and forties actually did when they went to Hollywood.
Primo Levi wondered why chess players and poets are often irritable.

He figured out that it is because they have complete control of what they do in their work. No one to blame when it doesn't turn out the way they wanted, so they blame lots of people and circumstances for other things that don't matter much.
A clear star in the sky, or maybe a planet, saying, "Yes."
I was intently reading the newspaper on the bus, and the man in the seat ahead of me said, "You're really interested in the\e election for president, aren't you?" I said yes and he said, "You're really interested in what some rich people are doing."
Before, I knew intuitively that I wasn't supposed to be thinking about what everyone else was thinking about, and I didn't want to.

Now, I'm still not supposed to be thinking about what everyone else is thinking about, and I do want to. More difficult.
The trouble with climbing very high mountains is that it is like doing something dangerous while drunk. Even if they use oxygen tanks, climbers of the highest mountans are suffering from at least some oxygen deprivation, so their brains are partly not functiononing.

If you read accounts of climbers the biggest mountains, and think, "Drunks dealing with danger," it all makes sense.
Everything that matters is impossible.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

I keep an eye on the news to find out if a new war has started, and when I find out a new war has started, I basically don't want to know anything about it.

I don't want to know the surface reasons, the mid-level reasons, and the deep reasons for newly dead children now.

To know more about a child killed would be good--to know the child's characteristic movements, the games played. To know how the child would explain something of great interest, eyes shining. To have the child be not dead but alive and imagining, that would be good.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

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