August 2013 Archives

Not Talking About Writing - Part 4/4

» This page is PART FOUR, continued from » Part Three. It was split into FOUR pages in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization. Here you go...

Blue hoverboard, clearly operational » Hoverboard Interlude to ..

But before I do that .. I need to say this other, about last summer's most righteous entry. I've had a whole year to think about it. Explore. Meditate.

And believe me, I have been thinking about it. And I feel as tho I bring unique perspective to the topic. (Maybe I don't, but I certainly feel like I do.)

Now this is what I would call » personal data .. which is probably why I havent posted an update on the topic since (.. tho I do return periodically to tweak and improve clarity).

But, seeing how the theme of today's entry seems to be » intimacy ala 1-on-1, I figure this is a good place to float it ..

.. and since it is such a gorgeous day today .. I figure this is a good time to take the hoverboard out for a cruise.

To be honest, I do not know where we will end up. I certainly have a few ideas .. of places I feel would be cool to visit .. but I have no green light yet. So we will have to see.

Yes, I am curious myself, and maybe even a little apprehensive .. about where we might end up .. tho I am certainly confident it will be a very cool place.

Once we get up in the air, the picture will become more clear.

Reflections in Autumn» Thirteen Months of Reflection

A year is a long time. 13 months. I have distilled .. what I feel to be the essence, the crux ..

.. of the difference .. between my Catholic-era religion and ..

[.. and yes, I knelt down at the alter and kissed the arch bishop's ring ..

.. with all the other kids who knelt there beside me ..

.. after which relatives all gave me lots of money, tucked neatly into religious cards and envelopes ..

.. to signal their approval for my kneeling down and kissing the ring, just like they did many years earlier ] ..

And yes, I like this new Pope, who seems more real, less religious. Less judgmental. First things first.

But he is apparently catching flak. As would be expected.

My own opinion is that any organized religion that does not lead with mercy and compassion .. will eventually leave a sour aftertaste in people's mouths.

Not many of God's creatures seem very interested in anything that seems inclined to heap upon them judjment, criticism and condemnation. (Fitzgerald would concur, I'm sure.) "You dirty, ugly thing, you. You should be more like me."

And everybody knows that » mercy trumps judgment.

I am not surprised that the previous Pope said that God told him to resign .. the first such resignation in six centuries .. we're talking about since before the Renaissance. Since before Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

Pope Francis carries his own bag onto a planeIs that not very encouraging? For the Catholic church? I am encouraged. Very much so.

I mean, Peter .. supposedly the first Pope .. is Mr. No-Bullshit. Even in Acts, he is recorded (by Luke) as mincing not his words.

Peter can be hard to read. Because he cuts you no slack. He makes no excuses.

He throws down the standard and says, "Deal with it. If you get killed in the process, then welcome to the club, dawg."

You never come away from Peter feeling unchallenged. And Peter did not die a pretty death. Not many of those early disciples did.

The shit was on for sure. "These men, who are turning the world upside down. We, the ruling authorities, must kill them."

Somehow, along the way, the church became the killers. And the torturers. Not a whole lot of compassion in torturing people (.. or locking them up in cages for draconianly-long lengths-of-time).

My ego is convinced that the Pope is reading my stuff and running with it. (That's okay by me.) Papal sentiments echoed at MSN. Reuters. globalpost. CBS News. Financial Times. Boston Globe. Aljazeera. NY Post. The Street.

He apparently abandoned his scripted speech .. and got off the porch, ad-libbing along the way. I like that, too. "Go, dawg."

Pope Francis on Gays | July 29, 2013I called Nana to see what she thinks of this new Pope. (I left a message.) The Dog says that he is encouraged.

Notice that the Meditation Gardens here in Encinitas dedicates an area to St Francis .. the only figure you will see featured there from another world religion.

I read somewhere that this new Pope likes to read Dostoevsky. When I see the Pope carrying his own bag, it makes me think of what Paul wrote » here.

I also hear that he abandoned life in the palace to live in the modest Vatican guest-house. I dont know if I could do something like that.

[ Oh, dude .. the Pope is totally kicking ass and taking names. He's like a man on fire.

I find this video telling. The boy wants to be near the pope. Kids are honest. The sense things more plainly, more clearly.

That is the biggest compliment the pope could get.

When I hear the pope say » "Who am I to judge?" .. I think of what Peter said (the first pope) in Acts ..

.. after the Spirit of God fell on the gentiles .. whom the Jews had previously considered 'unclean'.

I would like to ask Pope Francis about his feeling on the historic circumstances (dating back to the Middle Ages) surrounding the resignation of Pope Benedict ..

.. and also the historic firsts (e.g. first Jesuit pope) represented by his OWN pope-ship .. if he feels this is the result of God flexing his Muscle. A sign?

World Youth Day July 2013 Rio de Janiero, Brazil | Copacabana BeachDoes he feel a sense of Destiny? More strongly than you might ordinarily expect?

Do you feel like the Living God Himself is involved? Of course you must, but why do you think this?

I wish he would elaborate on such things. I would be interested to hear his views on the subject.

I read an article about him in the CS Monitor which calls his style » compassion over doctrine.

Mini-update (Dec 4) » the December 9, 2013 publication of the Monitor (which my friends receive, but dont read) ..

.. quotes Pope Francis as saying (writing.pdf in his apostolic exhortation published Nov 24, 2013) »

» "How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?"

I like this guy more and more all the time. He's certainly got balls. Cojones. Mui grande.

Obama can even be seen quoting this exact statement by the Pope in the video posted » here. </end_mini-update>

Inception Glass of Water | Something unusual is going on hereI also want to ask the new pope about his feelings ..

.. regarding any apparent irony that he supposedly likes Dostoevsky ..

.. but it was Dostoevsky which wrote about the Grand Inquisitor ..

.. who is portrayed as not a very nice person ..

.. and the Jesuits are famous (infamous) for their role in the Spanish Inquisition ..

.. which is not famous for mercy or compassion. Unless you call torture a compassionate act.

Does he feel a need to apologize for the Jesuits?

Speaking of apologies .. I would like to ask his holiness .. how does the man forgive ..

.. who has been wronged in a way that seems unfathomable to members of polite society?

People who have been wronged in such as way as to defy comprehension.

Because, if you can answer that, padre .. then you're on to something.

I think the Catholic Church is fortunate to have this man as Pope. A little late, perhaps, but you know what they say.

Dos Equis Cervesa Mas Fina» Having a Beer with the New Pope

I would like to have a beer (with chips-n-salsa, or course) with the new Pope ..

.. at an upscale Mexican restaurant. Maybe that one there on PCH in South Laguna » El Ranchito ..

.. the place that used to be the gay hangout (Woody's).

Thats would be seemingly appropriate, no? Given the Pope's stated (and inferred) position.

And I want to ask the Pope about some of the aphorisms found in the book titled » The Art of Worldly Wisdom ..

.. which was (secretly) written (in 1647) by another Jesuit priest .. named Baltasar Gracián (1601-1658).

This little book (a mere 200 pages) contains 300 such aphorisms .. about Worldly Wisdom .. not too terribly different from Machiavelli's 'The Prince' (.. which was published ~130 years earlier, in 1513).

The author, Baltasar, was very much into » brevity .. the soul of wit, you know.

I would like to know the Pope's opinions on a number of things .. including how he likes Dos Equis cervesa mas fina, and whether he can handle spicy salsa.

Everybody who I have ever met .. who was ever taught by Jesuits .. were always very smart, very intelligent, well informed people. Impressively so. Always.

Almost like the term 'Jesuit' is synonymous with both intelligence and education. For what it's worth.

St. Francis at Meditation Gardens in EncinitasTho Stendhal did not like his Jesuit instructor.

I would also like to take the new pope to the Meditation Gardens .. in Encinitas .. so that he can see the beautiful shrine there ..

.. in that peaceful place .. dedicated to his new namesake. The only other religion represented there .. far as I can tell.

Certainly it must come as a humbling tribute .. to the legend of the man. Of which you must be familiar.

If he has the time, perhaps we could discuss his feelings on how Stendhal's clerical-turned-military character, Julien Sorel, compares with what Paul wrote to Timothy here.

Sometimes I feel like the opposite of Julien, because I went the military route first .. then the spiritual. ]

Tho I myself attended public schools (in Connecticut), both my mom and dad attended Catholic grade schools. My mom even went to a Catholic high school. So I naturally feel well-qualified to speak on most things Catholic.

My grandmothers said the rosary. Dude, saying the rosary is hard-core Catholic.

ME: "What are you praying about, Gram?"

GRAM: "That God would keep you kids out of trouble."

ME: "We're gonna go down in the cellar and play pool. Do you have any more lasagna?" 

After my mom died, my dad remarried .. a woman who had been divorced. He tried to get the Catholic church to grant her a special waver or sorts, but they refused.

Dad was furious .. saying how much money he had donated (several thousand dollars) to their recent building campaign to build a new school ..

.. as tho he might be able to purchase a special deal from the church.

I was only joking when I said, "Dad, so what are you telling me? That you're living in sin?"

He was so upset with me over that, that he did not talk to me for a few months.

Holy Grail from Indiana Jones, The Last CrusadeSpeaking of qualifications .. who more qualified to speak on the corrupting influence of money .. than a Pope?

I'm talking about what happens when the system becomes » all about the money. And we know how that turned out.

Notice how, Indiana Jones chooses the non-fancy Holy Grail.

Yes, it's just a movie, but the concept is the same. The Carpenter wasnt drinking out of a jewel encrusted cup.

Sure, the Film School snobs may criticize Spielberg for being "too commercial," but he gets it. He chose wisely.

On the subject of choosing wisely .. here is a good book.

"The standard of sound words" that Paul talks about .. is based on faith and love ..

.. not condemnation or criticism or fault-finding.

Not Talking About Writing - Part 3/4

» This page is PART THREE, continued from » Part Two. It was split into FOUR pages in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization. Here you go...

Pyramids at sunset» Increasing Size & Complexity

Have you noticed? by the way, how my entries have been growing?

.. in both size/length and complexity? And probably a few other ways, too.

I now have *two* 4-page entries » The Broken Butterfly (January 11) and » Big Brother (May 23).

Both coming in 2013. Can't say I sense any slowing.

The (compressed) HTML content alone of those entries totals to more than 100-KB - for EACH entry (120) . HTML = text + mark-up.

It feels, I must say, completely organic .. the growth .. in that I would prefer to say-n-exit what I need to say. But if nobody is saying what needs to be said .. then wtf?

[ Specially when the Bill of Rights goes up for auction. For sale to the highest bidder.

I mean, I would not be able to live with myself if I stood by silently .. while it sells to the highest bidder.

Fuck that noise. I'm feeling all Braveheart now. Where's my blue woad? Let's DO this thing.

Etain, Shewolf of the CenturionSeems like the sentiment is contagious.

Let it not be said of our generation » "They stood around with their thumbs up their asses while the government systematically dismantled the entire Bill of Rights" ]

I am not prepared right now to discuss increasing psychological depth. But it's there ..

.. not far from the door labeled insanity. Right down the hall from Alice and her rabbit hole. =)

If I recall correctly, I took you down to the Dog's gelatin membrane .. the one that separates sanity from insanity ..

.. where we talked to the dude on the other side .. shortly after visiting Dracula .. but before we watched Anne Rice interview Mr. Vampire. Off the porch we got. Soul-fucking torment.

(Which is why I am not prepared right now .. to discuss increasing psychological depth.)

And each of those 4-page entries comes with ~ 1500-KB worth of representative graphics, which I encode rather generously, to favor a higher quality image. Hand-crafted Rad-ness.

Made with love. Travaux d'architecte. (Architectural work/labor, as Proust called it.)

These rudimentary metrics, I understand, are beyond the simple word-count of the Twentieth century novelist, but they help me compare where I was with where I seem to be heading.

Tho never size for size's sake. I mean, I could easily turn an entry like » Gatsby into a 10-page entry, if number of pages were the goal.

Wolf howling at the full moonPerhaps this is something I will do with today's entry .. break it up into many smaller pages .. just to experiment.

And one the factors affecting this complexity is the » hyperlink. Because that's where I hide my background research .. the supporting evidence .. for my seemingly outlandish claims.

[ It is another discussion, entirely .. but with good hyperlink skillz, and effective use of graphics, a 21-st century writer can now convey the essential wisdom of an entire novel .. in just a chapter or two. ]

The hyperlink is the thing that makes HTML (running on the Web) such a powerful technology, as you know. And don't forget abut the inclusion of graphics, audio, and multi-media. Mui powerful.

Tho my graphics (I have observed) always come AFTER I layeth down the text. For what it's worth. Always. An observed "psychological rule" as Proust might say. It is what it is.

So (in other words) picking the perfect graphic can be a lot of fun. Like getting your paycheck after a long hard week. So the harder you work, the more you appreciate the graphic. =)

Later, when it comes time to edit and prune dead weight, the graphics also help me to find more quickly the passage I am looking for. My graphics do not always correspond precisely to the topic at hand. Tho they are normally in the ball park. So they are still a good (quick) gross homing beacon.

So when I sit down to edit these large entries .. to try to squeeze out everything but the delicious juicy grandeur .. I need to have open at least 8 pages. The back-end for each four, and also the front-end. Others, sure. But those 8 are the starting point.

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Not Talking About Writing - Part 2/4

» This page is PART TWO, continued from » Part One. It was split into FOUR pages in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization. Here you go...

» What Does the Catcher-in-the-Rye Catch? and Why?

Notice that the 'catcher' (in the rye) .. catches » kids .. and tries to save them from bad shit .. of which they know not .. stuff that lurks nearby.

This might be a good place to mention .. the Dozier School for Boys. Now, normally most Americans would never have heard of the name » Dozier.

Heck, I had to keep looking it up myself .. every time I wanted to mention it (such as with Florida) .. or to drop somewhere as a clarifying link.

It occurred to me .. that the reason I know that name .. is not because of the school, but because of the blood .. innocent blood .. that speaks .. that testifies .. to the point where vindication becomes necessary.

JD Salinger (1919-2010)Or we as a nation suffer for it.

» What Gives? (with The Catcher in the Rye)

What is it about Catcher in the Rye? Lani had to read it for high school. She said, "This book is really good," and let me have her copy afterwards.

"Let me see what all this commotion is about," I said.

I just checked .. and Catcher in the Rye is currently ranked #13 in Amazon sales. All sales. Of all books. Even today's best sellers. Remarkable?

The feeling you get reading Catcher in the Rye is » "Thank God there is intelligent life out there .. that gets it. That really gets it."

» GCE = Gross Conceptual Error = Dont Get It

In the Navy's Nuclear school, the worse possible letters you could get returned on an exam were » GCE (always in red letters). Gross conceptual error.

That means you dont even understand the most fundamental aspects of the concept. And if you dont understand the most fundamental aspects (.. the questions begs itself) .. what hope do you have of going any further?

I never saw anybody make it, who got a GCE. So when I think of Salinger .. I think of somebody who » gets it. (No red GCE.)

A young JD Salinger, I hear, worked in/for/with Military Intelligence .. not unlike a young Edward Snowden. He saw lots of ugly shit.

Fortunately, this ugly shit is beyond the scope of today's entry. You know how I like to keep my topics nice-n-tidy. =)

But it makes the conspiracy theorist wonder .. if maybe Salinger somehow included some coded military secrets.

Kennedy was assassinated 50 years ago this November .. so, no doubt the conspiracy theories will be circulating among the members of VFD.

A Series of Unfortunate Events (1999-2006) by Lemony Snickett» Esmé Squalor & the Mysterious Lemony Snicket

I will say however, that I did not know (until today) that the name » Esmé Squalor .. who I have been hearing so much about with the Bug ..

.. over the last year or two .. originally comes from Salinger. I have learned much from Lemony Snicket. Far more than I would ever have imagined possible.

Which is interesting .. cuz, when I think of people who 'get it' .. I think of » Lemony Snicket (and VFD).

Both the subtlety and the knock-on [ "Anybody home?" ]. I would say that episode 3/13 was probably best .. The Wide Window .. in that respect.

If you liked Catcher in the Rye, you'll looove.... No, Lemony is not Hollywood Handsome [.. like me], but momma taught me never to judge a book by its cover.

Yes, I was surprised at the part where he mentions [ in A Series of Unfortunate Events ] the theme of Anna Karenina (.. in a book "for ages 8 and up").

His degree of intellectual penetration .. in certain unmentionable areas .. I find remarkable. Actually, it's beyond mere intellect. I admit that I dont have it totally figured out.

The exact same feeling I got from Catcher in the Rye. And who knows why three people use that book to justify their psycho ideas of murder?

Not Talking About Writing - Part 1/4

» I recently purchased a paperback .. at the used book store tucked just-inside the Newport Beach Public Library (.. sitting there to your right as you enter the cavern of cool air).

Newport Beach Public LibraryThis wonderfully cramped shop sells many of the titles generously donated by Newport's community of wealthy seaside readers.

[ Run by some of the most helpful grannies you've ever met. "Let me see if we have that title in the back room." ]

The fluorescent orange sticker affixed to the cover of my copy says I paid » $1.00. A buck. Not bad, considering that Amazon wants $12.

[ I also nabbed Walter's bio on Einstein there, a hardback for only $3 .. a deal that seemed too good to be true. ]

This orange-stickered paperback, for which I paid one dollar, contains NOTHING BUT quotes from Hemingway [1899-1961] .. about the art and craft of » writing ..

.. organized into 13 different categories (chapters), such as » What to Write About (chapter 4).

My favorite is » chapter 11. No, I'm not talking about bankruptcy. Chapter 11 is where Hemingway talks about » Other Writers ..

Ernest Hemingway's 1923 Passport Photo.. where he says things like » "Tolstoy is a prophet" .. [ Hemingway was age 11 when Tolstoy died. ]

.. and » "Dostoevsky was MADE by being sent to Siberia. Writers are forged in injustice, as a sword is forged." [ Green Hills of Africa, p 71, 1935 ]

And you know how I am a 'quotes' man .. especially insightful quotes from writers and other artists.

A guy named Larry Phillips apparently combed thru all of Hemingway's novels and extracted the passages that pertain to writing itself. An impressive undertaking, no?

The back-cover of Larry's book says » "Ernest Hemingway did more to change the style of English prose than any other writer in the twentieth CENTURY."

Hemingway won the Pulitzer in '53 for Old Man and the Sea and the Nobel Prize for Literature in '54. Larry's book (pub 1984) begins with the following short preface »

Throughout Hemingway's career, he maintained that it was bad luck to talk about writing ..

.. that it takes off "whatever butterflies have on their wings and the arrangement of hawk's feathers if you show it or TALK ABOUT it."

"Say what?" Does that not strike you as odd? As ironic? That the man who did more to change the style of English prose .. claims that it is bad luck to TALK ABOUT writing.

Yet here we have an ENTIRE BOOK .. with NOTHING BUT. One hundred and fifty pages worth .. of not-talking about writing.

And what, pray-tell, Ernest, is all this mumbo-jumbo about butterflies and hawk's wings? There is NOTHING, good sir, to be found on butterflies' wings.

[ Yes, I checked. Absolutely nothing. But the hawks are simply too fast. Much too fast for me to examine the arrangement of their wings in any detail. ]

The man who declared » "Write hard and clear about what hurts" .. is now suddenly tiptoeing by the butterflies? "Come on, Hem. What gives?"

ean, tight, muscular, athletic pose» Hemingway's Lean, Tight, Muscular Prose

This might be a good place to mention .. that the #1 way in which I feel as tho I relate to Hemingway-as-a-writer .. is that my life has a way of working itself into my writing.

But that is precisely the thing that I like about Hemingway.

Hemingway feels like he takes you home with him. (Because he does.) "Papa," is what they call him. An affectionate term.

My understanding of Hemingway's writing [.. a topic of much Nobel-grade discussion ] goes something like this » he creates a structure (story) using artistic 'sticks' (for lack of a better word).

When the (artistic) structure is finally done/complete, he returns to remove every stick that can be safely removed .. without the structure collapsing.

» Hemingway says » My Prose Mimics Cézanne's Paintings

Cézanne was doing a similar thing with paint a few decades earlier. Hemingway claims that he got his writing mojo from Cézanne (.. who died when Hemingway was only 6 or 7).

So he means that he got it from studying Cézanne's art, his paintings (.. while he was living in Paris in the early twenties).

Hemingway was trying (he claims) to translate [ somehow. is it even possible? too much absinthe? ] Cézanne's artistic technique into literature.

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