Monday, August 31, 2009

Causality Loopy

"Many years from now, a transgalactic civilization has discovered time travel. A deep-thinking temporal engineer wonders what would happen if a time machine were sent back to the singularity from which the big bang emerged. His calculations yield an interesting result: the singularity would be destabilized, producing an explosion resembling the big bang. Needless to say, a time machine was quickly sent on its way."

--Barry Dainton, Time and Space, 1958

Sunday, August 30, 2009

a millisecond prior to impact

"From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"The nictitating membrane (from Latin nictare, to blink) is a transparent or translucent third eyelid present in some animals that can be drawn across the eye for protection and to moisten the eye while also keeping visibility....

"Woodpeckers tighten their nictitating membrane a millisecond prior to their beak impacting the trunk of a tree in order to prevent their eyes from leaving their sockets."

Friday, August 28, 2009

Freedom Parade 2009

"I wanna invite you to FREEDOM PARADE 2009 on 12th September on Freedom Square.

"I'm working for MONFEMNET as information manager. We have a youth campaign for Human Rights. The campaign name is "Hands Up 4 Your Rights" ( Our campaign has a lot activities. One of them is FREEDOM PARADE. If u wanna to see last year's parade pictures:

"I hope that you'll participate in our FREEDOM PARADE, and support activity that promotes Human Rights, Freedom, Gender Equality, and Democracy in Mongolia.

"Sincerely, Zola"

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dharma Bums VII

"We gotta go to Berkeley after this and attend a lecture and discussion at the Buddhist Center."

"Aw I don't wanta go to no such thing, I just wanta drink in alleys."

He was really sad about it, and worried about me, but I just went on drinking.

When we got to Alvah's cottage and it was time to leave for the Buddhist Center lecture I said "I'll just sit here and get drunk and wait for you."

"Okay," said Japhy, looking at me darkly. "It's your life."

He was gone for two hours. I felt sad and drank too much and was dizzy. But I was determined not to pass out and stick it out and prove something to Japhy. Suddenly, at dusk, he came running back into the cottage drunk as a hoot owl yelling "You know what happened Smith? I went to the Buddhist lecture and they were all drinking white raw saki out of teacups and everybody got drunk. All those crazy Japanese saints! You were right! It doesn't make any difference! We all got drunk and discussed prajna! It was great!" And after that Japhy and I never had an argument again.

--Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums, 1958

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dharma Bums VI

"I saw there was nothing to do because nothing ever happened, nothing ever would happen, all things were empty light."

--Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums, 1958

Saturday, August 15, 2009

to treat mental diseases

"While investigating Tibetan books in the library of a former lamaistic university of Gandan, I found a book, by Lovsan-Yondon and Tsend-Otcher, entitled in free translation Anatomical Dictionary for Recognizing Various Diseases. It was a typical Tibetan book, printed from woodcuts on long, narrow strips of paper. Each leaf was printed on both sides and each page was from a separately cut wooden plate. In the systematic discussion of the fauna of Tibet and adjacent regions I found on p. 24, in a group of monkeys, an illustration of a wild man. This illustration shows a biped primate standing erect on a rock, with one arm stretched upwards....

"While studying the literature in the central library of the Scientific Committee in Mongolia I found, in the Tibetan department, another, more recent, edition of the above book, printed a century later in Urga (now Ulanbator). The author of this edition was Jambaldorje. An illustration of the above biped primate, along with monkeys, appears in this book also as part of a systematic discussion of Tibetan natural history on p. 119....

"Left of the picture there is a Tibetan text which in free translation runs: 'The wild man lives in the mountains, his origin is close to that of the bear, his body resembles that of man and he has enormous strength. His meat may be eaten to treat mental diseases and his gall cures jaundice.'"

--Emanuel Vlcek, "Old Literary Evidence for the Existence of the 'Snow Man' in Tibet and Mongolia," Man, volume 59, 1959 August, pages 133-134

Friday, August 14, 2009

Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus)


"In Lapland, herds of reindeer on migration swim between the islands, and some never reach the shore. Largest of the species of dogfish that live in the cold oceans near the poles, the giant Greenland shark often exceeds 20 feet in length and frequently weighs over a ton. Fishermen seek it out for the valuable oil found in its liver -- over 30 gallons in a really big one. Though this ferocious predator can swallow a seal or reindeer whole, when caught by man it gives itself up with the meekness of a lamb."

--Animal World in Color, Volume 8 - Hunters: Birds, Fish, and Amphibians, edited by Maurice Burton, Childrens Press: Chicago, 1969

Sunday, August 09, 2009

finally, an epiphany

I have identified what it is that bothers me about the portrayal of gay people in contemporary American comedic movies and television programs. It is straight people pretending to be gay people for a straight audience; it is the emphasizing and exaggerating of stereotyped traits of gay people for the amusement of straight people. It is equivalent to the American minstrel shows of not very long ago, in which white people pretended to be outlandish caricatures of black people for the amusement of white audiences.

It will not be very long before these comedies are looked back upon with the same distaste and shame with which the old minstrel shows are currently looked back upon.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

perception of the universe

"Much of both modern fantasy and modern horror, it seems to me, still deals with the relationship of the ordinary human world with Faerie, the Land Beyond the Hill, the World Beyond the Wood, that land of ghosts and shadows and unearthly Powers that still flickers just beyond the periphery of our bright, tidy, rational modern world... The major difference between the two, I think, is not so much subject matter as Attitude, the prevalent emotional weather or coloring of each....

"Much of modern horror has succumbed to--in fact, wholeheartedly embraced--a numbing sort of nihilism and fashionable designer despair, the message of which seems to be: you can't win, nothing matters, neither ethics nor morals nor religion are an effective guide to behavior, and none of them will save you; you can survive for a while by turning yourself into a savage predator, devoid of remorse or compassion or pity, but there's always a bigger predator in wait somewhere; in the end, the grave will get you, and sometimes you will continue to be flayed and tormented even beyond death. The house always wins, you always lose, and nothing you can do has any significance at all.

"This perception of the universe may be closer to 'reality' than that of fantasy..."

--Gardner Dozois, Modern Classics of Fantasy, 1997

Sunday, August 02, 2009

to be an American

“Sarah!” she called. “Sarah, do come and meet young Mr. Mathews, who wants to be called Warren.”

A tall, pretty girl turned from a group of other drinkers to smile at him, extending her hand, but when Marjorie Blaine said “He’s an American,” the girl’s smile froze and her hand fell.

“Oh,” she said. “How nice.” And she turned away again.

It wasn’t a good time to be an American in London. Eisenhower had been elected and the Rosenbergs killed; Joseph McCarthy was on the rise, and the war in Korea, with its reluctant contingent of British troops, had come to seem as if it might last forever.

--Richard Yates, “Liars in Love,” 1981