2 3 live&learn&rejoice: October 2011

October 31, 2011

song of the witches

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and howlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

October 29, 2011

what do you know?

“Well, Art is Art, isn't it? Still, on the other hand, water is water. And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now you tell me what you know.”
--groucho marx

October 27, 2011

way not to err

sonnet 73

That time of year thou mayst in me behold When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

October 26, 2011

way to err


(Internet, slang) an emphatic (intentional) use of the acronym OMG.

[The "z" was originally a mistake while attempting to hit the shift key with the left hand, and type "OMG".]

October 25, 2011


when people get aflutter about the violence in today's movies and the lack of morality flaunted in tv shows, they might consider the story of perseus, a hero celebrated by the ancient greeks, and accept that for some reason violence and immorality have been wildly entertaining for many moons and really no reflection on the dismal state of affairs in our times. . . or perhaps they might remain aflutter, that is another way to go.

His story was as follows:--Perseus' mother Danae was locked in a bronze chamber by her father Akrisios, where she was impregnated by Zeus in the form of a golden shower. Akrisios put both mother and child in a chest and set them adrift in the sea, but they washed safely ashore on the island of Seriphos. Later when Perseus was grown, King Polydektes, command he bring back the head of Medousa. With the help of the gods, Perseus first obtained an invisible helm, magical sword, and winged sandals. He then stole the single eye of the Graiai, three ancient hags, who told him where to find the Gorgones. The hero approached the sleeping Medousa, and beheaded her with eyes turned away, to avoid her petrifying visage. On his way back to Greece, he spied the princess Andromeda chained to the rocks as a sacrifice to a sea-monster. Perseus slew the monster, and rescued the girl, bringing her back to Greece as his bride. On Seriphos, he turned King Polydektes to stone, then travelled to his grandfather's kingdom to claim the throne. The old man fled, and was later accidentally killed by Perseus at some Games with an awry discus throw

October 24, 2011

william andrews clark memorial library

houses the world’s most extensive archival collection on Oscar Wilde

October 23, 2011

how 'bout them apples?

the dwarf wooly meadowfoam (Limnanthes floccosa ssp. pumila) grows nowhere else on Earth but on the top of both Table Rocks in Southern Oregon

info & photo courtesy of:

October 10, 2011

self-deceit vs delusional behavior vs deceit

book review below courtesy of the guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/oct/07/deceit-self-deception-robert-trivers & this is timely considering all the hoopla surrounding the release of jaqueline kennedy's "open and honest" interviews that were kept sealed until recently.

jackie o is perhaps one of the biggest fakes that ever lived. was it all a staged dog and pony show w/jackie the consummate actress who never took five or had she deluded herself into believing the charade she presented to the world? who knows. this author & i share the same impression of miss jackie in any event, http://www.thesmartset.com/article/article10051101.aspx and her story and this book review beg the question of what is reality. or perhaps, more accurately, it might merely suggest that question w/ begging being an unseemly exaggeration.

So here is the guardian's book review:

Lying is second nature to us and under the influence of self-delusion we'll hang ourselves if given enough rope. Robert Trivers is one of the few scientists able to take command of an evolutionary perspective on subterfuge, and in his new book Deceit and Self-Deception: Fooling Yourself the Better to Fool Others, he does exactly that.

His overarching premise is that if we can only see our own point of view, we can authentically argue our case because our deceits blind us to the truth. Ignorance can be bliss, until you are outwitted by a perspective you don't share.

Trivers explains how natural selection favours self-deception. His vision of deceit encompasses the self, others, the family and even international relations. But Trivers doesn't just wade through the toxic quagmire of human relationships. As the narrative progresses, there's treachery at every level, from the micro of proteins encoded by an individual's genes to the macro of war.

Trivers is a hero to students of evolutionary research. The notion that altruistic behaviour was "good for the species" had pervaded evolutionary teaching during the first half of the 20th century. In the 1960s the British naturalist Bill Hamilton corrected this error by highlighting the effect of natural selection upon individual genes. Trivers was influenced by Hamilton and the two men pioneered the selfish gene theory. His research in the early 1970s on reciprocal altruism and parental investment strategies has since become the Rosetta Stone for anyone studying social behaviour.

Evolved sex differences, runaway sexual selection and the importance of symmetry in the evolution of sexual preference were all flagged up and theorised on by Trivers, laying the foundations for Sarah Hrdy, Frans de Waal, Edward O Wilson and Richard Dawkins (Trivers wrote the foreword for The Selfish Gene) to popularise his ideas.

In Deceit and Self-Deception, Trivers synthesises all of his research, including the discovery of a clear correlation between lying and reduced immunity. He also contextualises the deception of the placebo effect (which peaks with unnecessary surgery), explains the self-deceit of airline pilots thinking they are more skilled than they are (Trivers is not a happy flyer), and explores the phenomenon of our thinking we are better looking than we actually are.

There are also fascinating examples of deceit in nature, such as the amazing parasitic blister beetles that combine as one organism to mimic a female bee and deceive male bees into "mating" with two thousand parasites.

After forty years of research Trivers wrote Deceit against the backdrop of a global economic meltdown caused by self-deceived, over-confident egoists grossly out of touch with reality, and when he explains how the human male drive for power and control correlates with ignorance and self-delusion, your blood runs cold. Trivers uses Donald Rumsfeld as a fine example of delusional over-confidence. According to the logic laid out in Deceit it is possible that some men in positions of responsibility are, due to their deceits, actually in need of someone to take responsibility for them.

Trivers has structured Deceit in such a way that you can dip into any chapter in any order, use it as a reference book, or as I did, devour it from cover to cover. In the preface he states that deceit is "a depressing subject", but thanks to his memoir style, which frequently reads more like a hilarious confessional than a traditional work of science, any sobering lows are subverted with personal anecdotes. His admissions of petty thieving, "inadvertent touching" and other disasters with women, of police searching the boot of his car and confrontations with squirrels are as funny as they are revealing of the man himself.

He recalls, for example, how he tried to fool the Rorschach inkblot test used by Harvard to decide whether to readmit him after a breakdown. He couldn't remember what was considered an "appropriate" response so decided to randomise his answers.

Trivers's candid style is disarming, though of course such self-deprecation could be a double-bluff, particularly in a book devoted to deceit.

Recently Trivers has been in London promoting the book and I went to the Royal Society of Arts to hear him talk and to interview him. Words like "motherfucker" trip off his tongue where others might bite theirs. But as he told me, "I'm of the age now when I don't care any more." Unfortunately the chair, Donald Rowson, who was strictly following the time allocated for his talk before the Q&A, didn't know this in advance and interrupted him. When a clearly disgruntled Trivers said he wanted to finish his sentence before beginning the Q&A, Rowson unwisely argued against this and was promptly labelled a "rude motherfucker", earning him a round of applause from the audience.

Trivers was worn out by the time I interviewed him after the talk. He'd recently undergone hip replacement surgery and was in too much pain to even sit, so he stood while I asked questions. He said the reason he thinks his mind has remained so active at nearly 70 years of age is that after blazing a trail in the early stage of his career he then chose to tackle an even harder subject of genetics in his middle years, culminating with his book Genes in Conflict.

"You think you're gonna whip genes into shape but they whip you into shape!"

Returning to Deceit, I asked Trivers (who by this time was testing his back pain by balancing a chair on his head) why the word empathy was missing from the book. "Empathy is a very important part of deceit and that's one thing I've regretted, not researching empath. It's not sympathy, it's feeling another's feelings. Long ago I spoke to Bill [Hamilton] about it, I said 'What about empathy Bill?' and he said, 'What's empathy?' As if it didn't exist, as if there was no such thing, so I didn't bother with it." But had Trivers included empathy in his research, the drawn-out impasse between the selfish gene theorists and their critics might have been avoided.

Deceit is an exhilarating read: the intertwined issues of deceit and self-deception are infinite, involving positive and negative outcomes for the fool and the fooled – roles that can reverse and revert without your even knowing. Trivers opens Deceit with the statement: "My hope is to engage you in applying these concepts to you own life and developing them further."

If we want to understand how and why we unconsciously fool ourselves, then his is an honest offer we can't refuse.

October 9, 2011

no birds for you

my google mapblast had me travel down dirt roads that ultimately led to this dead end instead of the wildlife refuge. and in the spirit of zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, tried to enjoy the journey regardless of the fact that i've never been in a place with fewer birds . . . which, despite my profoundly good intentions, was disappointing since i was out birding.



October 7, 2011


notecards with msgs like "okay, here's the poop" and "just doo it" made from cow dung.

it would seem that cows do not digest the grass that eat all that well and so their poo has lots of fiber & so somebody somewhere decided to market cow poopoopaper.

will we ever look at cows the same way again?

will they ever look at us the same way again?

October 6, 2011


illimarfik is the university of greenland & translates to place of wisdom


Birds are flyin' south for winter.
Here's the Weird-Bird headin' north,
Wings a-flappin', beak a-chatterin',
Cold head bobbin' back 'n' forth.
He says, "It's not that I like ice
Or freezin' winds and snowy ground.
It's just sometimes it's kind of nice
To be the only bird in town."

byShel Silverstein