2 3 live&learn&rejoice: November 2011

November 30, 2011


if they do exist, then we shouldn't eat them.

if they do not exist, then there is no question of eating them.

--the wisdom of zadig as told by voltaire whose real name was
(drum roll please)
francois-marie arouet


November 28, 2011

library security

in unseen academicals by terry pratchett, books are chained in order to prevent them harming their users.

November 25, 2011


"robber" is one of over 1000 words and phrases in english that the pakistani telecommunications regulators deems undesirable and that will be blocked in text msgs.*

makes sense to me. i think it is worthy of not only emulation but expansion because it's good to be more careful with words. people use colors in vague ways, for example so i vote that we decree all use of color-related words as undesirable, even undemocratic. people say baby blue when really they mean sky blue and then there are the complete misfits who do not know the difference. this is confusing to everyone so let's just eliminate all color words and let everyone just form their own mental picture of what something looks like without the intrusion of someone interpreting a color. messy or neat are other highly subjective words that lead to ill will and therefore should be banned. in fact, adjectives in general lead to gross misunderstandings and should be abolished. your big is my average size, your obese is my fat, and so on and so forth. nouns too specific and have become pretentious as well as misleading. somebody refers to their briefcase vs their bag vs their purse and you wonder how many words they are going to put in your face that day. it's all very passive aggressive. let's just all agree that these objects are all bags and let the other words go as they are just cluttering our daily lives and disturbing the zen-like state of simplicity in which we normally live. so only top of the noun charts survive, all these other words are unnecessary and do nothing to improve the quality of life. perhaps a committee of highly paid federal employees should be commissioned to study the whole word thing with the goal of reducing the dictionary to just 1000 or so essential words. i like that. think of the implications -- schools wouldn't have to go on and on and on for years teaching vocabulary, you could knock those lessons out quickly if the dictionary weren't so huge. i mean big. and really the committee can decide whether we stick with big or large; hard or difficult...but really we can just choose one and everyone agree to use it. the possibilities, as our wordy friend voltaire might say, are endless.


November 21, 2011


the word "soundscape" was coined by composer R. Murray Schafer to identify sounds that "describe a place, a sonic identity, a sonic memory, but always a sound that is pertinent to a place" (Wagstaff, G. 2000).

tokyo -- "irrashaimase"

trekking in nepal -- "nemaste. mitai."

hong kong -- the clicking of mahjong tiles

patagonia -- wind blowing

antigua, guatemala -- firecrackers popping

airports -- that infernal loop about baggage being watched all the time


November 20, 2011

tom the turkey in ashland

Elevation: 1951 feet
Land area: 6.50 square miles

lowest snow levels for Cascades is @3500 feet, but last week Ashland got a good snow flurry. realizing that items left in the car have natural refrigeration and that boots are not just for appearances. My first real winter, here we go.

November 19, 2011

November 17, 2011

san francisco . . .

. . . would be a good location for a murder mystery.

--Alfred Hitchcock


November 16, 2011

goa stone

Goa stones are named after their place of origin, Goa in India. They are artificially manufactured versions of bezoar stones, which are found in animal stomachs. Goa stones are made from a combination of clay, silt, shells, resin and musk and are typically spherical in shape. Scrapings from Goa stones mixed with water were drunk as a remedy for numerous ailments, including plague. They were also placed in drinks to counteract suspected poisoning. They were highly valued and could change hands for enormous prices. This stone has a case made from interwoven gold threads to give its ornate pattern.

one of many objects "brought to life" online by the Science Museum in London...how fun it is to be able to sit in a small town in Oregon and explore world culture,  http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/broughttolife/objects/display.aspx?id=4571

November 14, 2011


 the following is a time killer & really nothing productive will come of staring at it...you have been warned:

at least it's not wednesday

according to NY Times article:
A few years ago, a pair of researchers published ''A Corpus-based Approach to Finding Happiness'' (American Association of Artificial Intelligence, 2006). This paper analyzed words found in a selection of blog posts, looking for patterns in the use of ''happy'' and ''sad'' words. The authors determined that 3 a.m. and from 9 to 10 p.m. were the happiest times of the day, and that Saturday was the happiest day of the week (Wednesday was the saddest). Happy words, they noticed, are more likely to be connected to social activity than sad words are, so sitting at home alone on a Wednesday is obviously inadvisable.
so is this saying i should stay up at least til 10 pm and get up by 3 am to maximize my happiness? in which case are we saying that sleep-deprived humanoids are the happiest? for me, it seems that i am sleeping through my happiest times as i tend to be asleep by 9pm but don't get up until about 4am. have i been cheating myself of happiness lo these many decades?

November 13, 2011

November 11, 2011

23,000 times a day

@  # of breaths
the average person takes

what % of those breaths are with deliberate intent?

November 7, 2011

impossible to understand

how does a graduate student at penn state fail to scream out when he believes he sees an adult sexually abusing a child of 10 years old? how does this graduate student not spontaneously interrupt what he thinks is a molestation happening right before his very eyes? how does he not try and protect this kid? how does he not instinctively step in to stop what he clearly thinks is an adult having sexual contact with a minor? it is impossible, absolutely impossible to understand his inaction.

this graduate student supposedly witnessed the abuse as it was happening and he didn't feel compelled to stop it. he chose to call his parents and follow their insipid instructions rather than stop violence to a child right before his eyes.

to his credit, he did later call it to the attention of penn state authorities, who opted to do nothing. their inaction protects their mega-athletic empire and given the recent history of the catholic church and the boy scouts and given america's love affair with college sports, it's not terribly shocking that the suits did nothing to upset their precious program. disgusting, yes, surprising, not so much.

but for the graduate student to see a grown man assaulting a pre-teen boy and to do nothing but leave the building is unimaginable and inexplicable.

absolutely impossible to understand his inaction. impossible.


November 2, 2011

the frog & the dog

Furi-ike ya
Kawazu tobikomu
Mizu no oto.*

non-literal translation with a personal addition because basho of course needs expounding upon, he'd approved:

into the old pond
a frog suddenly plunges
the sound of water
and the Bean loudly barking
another day starts

*the kanji version and the romanji version don't exactly match, such is life with google translator but i *think* the romanji version is the true translation and the kanji version, well close counts in horseshoes and haiku