Friday, March 02, 2007

Sunday Off Topic

Dear Yoga Teacher: kiss my asana. No I will not "gently" place my ankle on the nape of my neck whilst maintaining a "soft face."


Dude, David Byrne has a blog. If you are in to arts stuff, it's fun.


Interview with Richard Feynman, "The Pleasure of Finding Things Out." I loved hearing about his reaction to the A-Bomb.

Richard Dawkins, explains aspects of his book The Selfish Gene. High unintentional comedy from eighties production values, but not bad if you are interested in the book.

I'm reading

The Selfish Gene, see above.

The Mystery Guest, a true story by Gregoire Bouillier. A man gets a phone call from a woman he once loved. Several years before, while they were still together, she had left a cafe with another man and never spoken to him again. Now, she's inviting him to a party. Every year, a performance artist has a party with the exact number of guests as her age, plus one "mystery guest" for the coming year.

If you've read every move of another person as if they were a Delphic oracle, you'll relate.

The Rabbi's Cat: In this comic book, a cat belonging to a rabbi learns to talk. The cat wants a Bar Mitsvah, so they go to the head rabbi. As the cat describes the encounter

I ask the rabbi's rabbi when in the Bible he found this praise of dogs. He doesn't know. He answers by talking about the oral Torah that wasn't fully written down. He speaks of the spirit of the Law, rather than the letter, and then he tellsm me that the Greeks believed the dog to be the epitome of the philosophical animal, not the the cat.

I reply that the Greeks destroyed the Temple of Jerusalem and if a rabbi ends up calling on them for help, it means he's run out of arguments.

Happy Purim, by the way.


Poems Fray veteran Paul Guest has a new book coming out, Notes for My Body Double. You can read about it on his blog. Plus, judging by his writing there, the man is on a role, for example in this self-portrait in a dream, the self is fully as strange as anything in The Echo Maker:

that was not me, no, not so
specific as that, not this morning
which is not the same
morning in my dream, strange
to think now there are two
of them, one in which my name is Paul Guest
and one in which I cannot read
the tag pressed to my chest
or the name on my birth
certificate, nothing in this morning
speaks any language
I know, maybe I have fallen into the mind’s endless
Russia, maybe this dream
has piled against my mind
like snow and the cold
radiates everywhere,
through the windows and the door
it comes like a battering
ram, announcing itself with splinters,

Meanwhile, back at Poems Fray, I enjoyed this exchange between Mary Ann and Ted Burke about poetry and prayer. The starting point is David Biespiel's observation that "prayer unites faith with ceremony, while poetry unites language with experience." Ted adds that prayer calls on external forces, where as poetry is nothing more than itself. It would be interesting to expand the discussion to other forms, the spell, the psalm, the koan, and so forth.

UPDATE, March 5: Ted polishes off his ideas here.

An Earworm I Can Live With

Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, "Dream a Little Dream."


JohnMcG said...

Random thought not ready for its own post:

* I think Ann Coulter's main crime (as far as the GOP presidential candidates are concerned) wasn't so much being crass and crude as being unfunny and ineffective. John Edwards a faggot? Anyone think that's a hit? Are people going to think less of Edwards because of this? Will this bring out the crowds?

She did perform a service, though, in giving each canddidate an opportunity to distance himself from her, which they took.

topazz said...

Richard Feynman is fabulous, his name brings back fond memories of the Fray Survivor Game.
(I think it was Urquhart who won that particular challenge.)

august said...

John - there's talk about regarding a new civility in politics. If I were a candidate, I'd take this as a cue to watch my back.

I'm thinking of top-posting on Giuliani. I have a hard time believing he won't self-destruct.

Topazz -- thanks for the link. I had no idea Feynman and I had so much in common.

JohnMcG said...

DO you get the feeling that the Clinton camp has some dirt on Obama, and they're wiating for the right time/manner to let it out?

topazz said...


that is a good thread, isn't it? Not just for everything you ever wanted to know about Feynman (a fine man!), but hilarious in itself.

twiffer said...

i'm reading...well a bunch of stuff. book on the burgess shale (yes, that one), one on evo-devo, some kafka, some dante, some leguin.

i like paul's work. planning on picking up his latest, having enjoyed the first.