Tuesday

Saturday

Thursday

Wednesday

Friday

Wednesday

Tuesday

Monday

Saturday

tv eye



Lee Friedlander

Thursday

tv eye



good-looking

Wednesday

Notes on Certainty


Notes for On Certainty, written April 26, 1951–3 days before his death:

660. I might ask: “How could I be making a mistake about my name being L.W.?” And I can say: I can’t see how it would be possible.

661. How might I be mistaken in my assumption that I was never on the moon?

662. If I were to say, “I have never been on the moon–but I may be mistaken,” that would be idiotic.

For even the thought that I might have transported there, by unknown means, in my sleep, would not give me any right to speak of a possible mistake here. I play the game wrong if I do.

663. I have a right to say, “I can’t be making a mistake about this,” even if I am in error.

Wittgenstein

Tuesday

tv eye



Tiziano Magni

Monday

Notes on Certainty


“A young man,” said K. “Right,” said the landlady, “and what is he doing?” “It seems to me he’s lying on a board stretching himself and yawning.” The landlady laughed. “Quite wrong,” she said. “But here’s the board and he’s lying on it,” persisted K. on his side. “But look more carefully,” said the landlady, annoyed, “is he really lying down?” “No,” said K. now, “he’s floating, and now I can see it, it’s not a board at all, but probably a rope, and the young man is taking a high leap.”

Kafka, The Castle

Friday

tv eye



Mike Dowson

Thursday

Notes on Certainty


I think confusion is the truth, except sometimes when I’m feeling it, ha ha.

Dennis Cooper

Wednesday

Tuesday

Jewish humor


I’ll start with the Jew who went to the Rabbi and complained about his neighbor. “You are right,” the Rabbi declared. Then came the neighbor and denounced the complainant. “You are right,” the Rabbi announced. “But how can that be,” exclaimed the Rabbi's wife. “Only one of the two can be right!” “You are right, too,” the Rabbi said.

Uri Avery

Monday

tv eye



Lee Friedlander

Sunday

Notes on Certainty


Certitude is not the test of certainty.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Saturday

Friday

Notes on Certainty


Dr. Freedman, who has written books on the science and history of clinical trials, says he is reminded of a story about a pioneer in the medical application of statistics, Pierre-Charles-Alexandre Louis.

In the 1830s, Dr. Louis studied the effect of bloodletting, or bleeding—the standard treatment of the time—on pneumonia.

“The data showed that bleeding didn’t work,” Dr. Freedman said. But, he said, “Dr. Louis rejected this as terrifying and absurd.”

So, he made a recommendation: bleed earlier and bleed harder.

Gina Kolata

Wednesday

Notes on Certainty


In the New Introductory Lectures Freud contrasts the different ways we would react to someone who speculates (against all good evidence) that the interior of the earth is filled with water saturated with carbonic acid and to someone who tells us that it is filled with marmalade.

Richard Wollheim

Monday

Notes on Certainty


As against solipsism it is to be said, in the first place, that it is psychologically impossible to believe, and is rejected in fact even by those who mean to accept it. I once received a letter from an eminent logician, Mrs. Christine Ladd-Franklin, saying that she was a solipsist, and was surprised that there were no others.

Bertand Russell

Death-in-Life



Kerstin zu Pan

Friday

British humour


“What ho!” I said.

“What ho!” said Motty.

“What ho! What ho!”

“What ho! What ho! What ho!”

After that it seemed rather difficult to go on with the conversation.

P.G. Wodehouse

Wednesday

British humour


Alan Bennett: I’m going to ask you just a few questions about the train robbery, if I may.

Peter Cook: Well, I’d like to like to make one thing quite clear at the very outset. When you speak of a train robbery, this involved no loss of train. It was merely the contents of the train that were pilfered. We haven’t lost a train since 1943, I believe it was–the year of the great snows; we mislaid a small one. They’re very hard to lose, you see. Trains are great bulky things as opposed, for example, to small jewels–a tiny pearl, for example, might nestle in the navel of a lady and disappear for years, whereas a train with its huge size and the steam pouring out is altogether a different kettle of fish.

Alan Bennett: I think you’ve made that point rather well.

Peter Cook: Thank you very much.

Alan Bennett: Who do you think may have perpetrated this awful crime?

Peter Cook: We believe this to be the work of thieves, and I’ll tell you why. The whole pattern is extremely reminiscent of past robberies where we have found thieves to be involved. The tell-tale loss of property–that’s one of the signs we look for.

Alan Bennett: So you feel that thieves are responsible?

Peter Cook: Good heavens, no. I feel thieves are totally irresponsible. Ghastly people who go around snatching your money.

Alan Bennett: I appreciate that, sir.

Peter Cook: You may appreciate that but most people don’t. If you like having your money snatched good luck to you. You must be rather a queer fish, in my view.

Alan Bennett: Who do you think is behind the criminals?

Peter Cook: We are, considerably. Many days, indeed months and years behind them. But we are however using the wonderful detection system known as the “Identikit.” Are you familiar with the Identikit?

Alan Bennett: Isn't that where you piece together the face of the criminal?

Peter Cook: Not entirely, no. We’re only able to piece together the appearance of the face of the criminal. We can’t actually piece together the face itself. I wish we could, of course, because once you’ve captured the criminal face, the other criminal parts aren’t hard to find. The criminal body is situated directly below the criminal face, joined of course by the criminal neck.

[video]

Monday

Jewish humor


Freud could not order blintzes. He was ashamed to say the word. He’d go into an appetizer store and say, “Let me have some of those crepes with cheese in the middle.” And the grocer would say, “Do you mean blintzes, Herr Professor?” And Freud would turn all red and run out through the streets of Vienna, his cape flying. Furious, he founded psychoanalysis and made sure it wouldn’t work.

Woody Allen

Thursday

The Writing Process


Letterman: Tell us a little about your book, A Crackup at the Race Riots.

(Harmony Korine starts laughing)

Letterman: This, by the way, is why they invented child-proof caps. Right here.

(Korine sits back)

Korine: It’s my first novel. I wanted to write a–

Letterman: Are you a novelist?

Korine: Yeah. (nodding)

Letterman: You’re a filmmaker, I guess it doesn’t make any difference, you’re just a creative entity.

Korine: I just work a lot and (shrugs) I wanted to write the great American novel. Or a novel. I just wanted it to be American.

April 3, 1998

Wednesday

Sunday

The Writing Process


That if Poetry comes not as naturally as the leaves to a tree it had better not come at all.

Keats

Thursday

Death by Water



Piranha (1978)

Wednesday

The Writing Process


I am going to be rather hard-nosed and say that if you have to find devices to coax yourself to stay focused on writing, perhaps you should not be writing what you’re writing. And if this lack of motivation is a constant problem, perhaps writing is not your forte. I mean, what is the problem? If writing bores you, that is pretty fatal. If that is not the case, but you find that it is hard going and it just doesn’t flow, well, what did you expect? It is work; art is work.

Ursula Leguin

Monday

The Writing Process


I am of the firm belief that everybody could write books, and I never understand why they don’t. After all, everyone speaks. Once the grammar has been learnt, it is simply talking on paper and in time learning what not to say.

Beryl Bainbridge

Friday

I just can’t get enough ice.


Some people watch the television, but when I have trouble sleeping at night I mostly just look at ice cubes.

Harmony Korine

Wednesday

I used to work in Häagen-Dazs


with a guy who jerked off in the cappuccino ice cream. Whenever I had to do a shift with him, he had this sly, relaxed grin on his face. It was very hard to get comfortable.

Harmony Korine

Monday

Albinos blink in the sun,


boys sit in trees languidly masturbating, people eaten by unknown diseases spit at passersby and bite them and throw pus and scabs and assorted vectors (insects suspected of carrying disease) hoping to infect somebody.

The Yage Letters

Thursday

books = trash


Not long after his memoir came out, Kermode moved house. Boxes of books and manuscripts awaited the movers, piles of trash the refuse collectors. Unfortunately, the refuse collectors arrived first and Kermode mistook them for the movers. They carted off and compacted a substantial part of his library.

review of Pieces of My Mind by Frank Kermode

Tuesday

books = trash


Dearest Max, my last wish:

Everything that I leave behind in the way of diaries, manuscripts, letters of my own and from others, drawing, etc. (whether in my bookcase, clothes cupboard, writing desk at home or at the office, or in any other place anything may have gotten and you find it) should be burned, completely and unread, as should everything written or drawn in your possession or in the possession of others whom you should ask, in my name, to do likewise. People who do not want to hand over letters to you should at least be made to promise that they themselves will burn them.
Yours, Franz Kafka.

Sunday

books = trash


It is possible to take too many notes; the task of sorting, filing and assimilating them can take for ever, so that nothing gets written.

The awful warning is Lord Acton, whose enormous learning never resulted in the great work the world expected of him. An unforgettable description of Acton’s Shropshire study after his death in 1902 was given by Sir Charles Oman. There were shelves and shelves of books, many of them with pencilled notes in the margin. “There were pigeonholed desks and cabinets with literally thousands of compartments into each of which were sorted little white slips with references to some particular topic, so drawn up (so far as I could see) that no one but the compiler could easily make out the drift.” And there were piles of unopened parcels of books, which kept arriving, even after his death. “For years apparently he had been endeavouring to keep up with everything that had been written, and to work their results into his vast thesis.”

“I never saw a sight,” Oman writes, “that more impressed on me the vanity of human life and learning.”

Keith Thomas

Friday

books = trash


On the night of March 6, Mill arrived on the Carlyles’ doorstep, semi-coherent and deeply distraught. There had been a domestic accident and Carlyle’s “poor manuscript, all except some four tattered leaves, was annihilated!” Allegedly, a servant, either at Mill’s house, or at his mistress Harriet Taylor’s, had mistaken the only manuscript of Carlyle’s history of the French Revolution for waste paper and put it into the fire. That night in bed Carlyle suffered the symptoms of a heart attack, feeling “something cutting or hard grasping me round the heart.” He dreamt of death and graves, but in the morning he wrote to his publisher Fraser to explain what had happened and resolved to try again. The labour of five steadfast months had “vanished irrecoverably; worse than if it had never been!” With astonishing resignation, Carlyle wrote:
I can be angry with no one; for they that were concerned in it have a far deeper sorrow than mine: it is purely the hand of Providence; and, by the blessing of Providence, I must struggle to take it as such.... That first volume (which pleased me better than anything I had ever done) cannot be written anew, for the spirit that animated it is past: but another first volume I will try, and shall make it, if not better or equal, all that I can. This only is clear to me: that I can write a Book on the French Revolution; and that, if I am spared long enough alive I will do it.

Thomas Carlyle at the Barricades


Wednesday

The basic pattern of hendiadys


is simple enough. The Latin grammarian Servius, writing about A.D. 400, coined the term to describe a common figurative device in Vergil’s Aeneid: the use of two substantives, joined by a conjunction (et, atque, or -que, all signifying “and”), to express a single but complex idea. The most frequently cited example, however, is from the Georgics (II.192): “pateris libamus et auro” ‘we drink from cups and gold.’ English translators normally suppress the oddity of this phrasing (the phrasing and oddity, we might say) by interpreting one of the nouns as dependent on the other: “we drink from golden cups.” Similarly, “membris et mole valens” ‘powerful in limbs and weight’ (Aeneid v.431) is usually rendered by some such phrase as “mighty in mass of limb” (J. W. Mackail).

Recent scholars of Vergil have questioned this traditional way of interpreting such phrases. It suits the name of the figure (hendiadys means, literally, “one through two”), but it does not account for the poet’s deliberate stylistic choice of two parallel substantives instead of what we would call a noun phrase (noun and adjective [golden cups] or noun and dependent noun [cups of gold]). They wonder, indeed, whether there is such a thing as hendiadys. For when Vergil, they tell us, describes the ceremonial sacrifice at which the celebrants drink wine from cups and gold, he means us to grasp two ideas, not one: such an occasion requires the appropriate sacred vessel and an appropriately rich material. In the same way, to anyone observing the old hero Entellus in action, what is impressive is not simply his mightiness “in mass of limb” but, successively, his powerful limbs–his muscles and, indeed, his whole massive figure. In both examples, and in many others, Vergil accurately conveys our dual perception of a dual phenomenon. The et in each phrase precisely registers the separateness and successiveness of the two distinct segments of the event. The perception may even be a triple one–of each idea in turn and then of their combination or fusion.

George T. Wright
“Hendiadys and Hamlet

Monday

[and]


When that I was and a little tiny boy,
     With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
A foolish thing was but a toy,
     For the rain it raineth every day.

Twelfth Night

Saturday

[and]


Two nights together had these gentlemen,
Marcellus and Bernardo, on their watch,
In the dead vast and middle of the night,
Been thus encounter’d.

Hamlet

Thursday

[and]


For Hamlet and the trifling of his favor,
Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood,
A violet in the youth of primy nature,
Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
The perfume and suppliance of a minute; no more.

Hamlet

Tuesday

[and]


Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister,
And keep you in the rear of your affection,
Out of the shot and danger of desire.

Hamlet

Sunday

[and]


Yea, from the table of my memory
I’ll wipe away all trivial fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,
That youth and observation copied there;
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain.

Hamlet

Friday

[and]


’Twere all one
That I should love a bright particular star
And think to wed it, he is so above me:
In his bright radiance and collateral light
Must I be comforted, not in his sphere.

All’s Well That Ends Well

Wednesday

[and]


Like to the Pontic Sea,
Whose icy current and compulsive course
Ne’er feels retiring ebb....

Othello