Saturday, May 07, 2005

"Ruby's painting soon raised some puzzling questions. For one thing, she seemed to make definite color choices. With her trunk, she would touch a specific jar of paint on the palette. If the keepers dipped her brush in any other color, she would either refuse the brush or drop it in the dirt.
    The keepers were surprised by this. Do elephants see in color? There was nothing in the books about color perception among elephants. Ruby also had a strong preference for certain colors: red, blue, and yellow. Were these real preferences or was Ruby merely pointing to colors at random? To find out, the helpers switched the position of the jars on the palette and offered more jars. They discovered that, regardless of position and other choices, Ruby continued to choose red, blue, and yellow most often.
    The keepers also noticed that Ruby often used colors that matched objects around her--construction vehicles working nearby and even the clothes worn by visitors to the elephant barn."

--Dick George, Ruby: the Painting Pachyderm of the Phoenix Zoo (1995)

Friday, May 06, 2005

"The world we created that book shop for is gone. It doesn't exist anymore."

    "Festus. Whose woes are like to my woes? What is madness?
The mind, exalted to a sense of ill,
Soon sinks beyond it into utter sadness,
And sees its grief before it like a hill.
Oh! I have suffered till my brain became
Distinct with woe, as is the skeleton leaf
Whose green hath fretted off its fibrous frame,
And bare to our immortality of grief.

Marian. Like the light line that laughter leaves
One moment on a bright young brow;
So truth is lost ere love believes
There can be aught save truth below.

Festus. But as the eye aye brightlier beams
For every fall the lid lets on it,
So oft the fond heart happier dreams
For the soft cheats love puts upon it.

Marian. I never dreamed of wretchedness;
I thought to love meant but to bless.

Festus. It once was bliss to me to watch
Thy passing smile, and sit and catch
The sweet contagion of thy breath--
For love is catching--from such teeth;
Delicate little pearl-white wedges,
All transparent at the edges."


Downsiz*d Antichrist. (via M*tafilt*r)

"...chess, like ice sculpture or cave painting or architecture, was an art of dreamlike impermanence." --Th* Ch*ss Artist

Thursday, May 05, 2005

"Chess was like an aircraft carrier forever at sea, at war with the world and always on the brink of mutiny." --Th* Ch*ss Artist

"Out of the tomb we bring Badroulbadour..." (St*v*ns)

"As one comes across Java from Batavia by motorcar, Borobudur is the first temple one sees..." --Rob*rt J Cas*y, Four Fac*s of Siva (1929)

    "Wandering at Morn

Wandering at morn,
Emerging from the night from gloomy thoughts, thee in my thoughts,
Yearning for thee harmonious Union! thee, singing bird divine!
Thee coil'd in evil times my country, with craft and black dismay, with every meanness, treason thrust upon thee,
This common marvel I beheld--the parent thrush I watch'd feeding its young,
The singing thrush whose tones of joy and faith ecstatic,
Fail not to certify and cheer my soul.
There ponder'd, felt I,
If worms, snakes, loathsome grubs, may to sweet spiritual songs be turn'd,
If vermin so transposed, so used and bless'd may be,
Then may I trust in you, your fortunes, days, my country;
Who knows but these may be the lessons fit for for you?
From these your future song may rise with joyous trills,
Destin'd to fill the world."

--from my 1892 Whitman

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Pic of Bobby Fisch*r, with music.

Translations of a song. (via Pr*ntiss)

Phony tournam*nt.

"Here, briefly, are the rules for Hostage Chess (courtesy of Variant Chess number 32).
You need a chess set and four beer mats (two for each player: one on your left - an airfield; and one on your right - a prison). Normal set-up and rules, except:
1) Once you capture a man you stick him in prison. He's a hostage.

2) Before each move, you may offer a hostage held by you in exchange for one held by the enemy. The hostage offered must be at least equal in value to the man you ask for (normal values of pieces, with B=N). The opponent can't refuse the swap.

3) The man you have claimed must immediately be placed on any vacant square (except pawns can't be put on 1st or 8th rank). This ends your turn.

4) The hostage you released is placed on the enemy airfield. It may be 'dropped' by the opponent on any vacant square at any time in the game, instead of a move.

5) A pawn can't be promoted unless there is a piece (N,B,R,Q) for which it can be exchanged. And if there isn't a piece available, it follows that a p on the seventh is not attacking (or giving check) to any piece diagonally ahead of it. Where a promotion is possible, the pawn changes places with the hostage of the player's choice. The released hostage becomes the promoted piece, and the pawn is removed to the enemy prison.

6) A pawn dropped on the second rank regains its two move option; and a rook dropped on a home corner square is deemed to be unmoved for castling purposes.

This fascinating game was invented by Professor John Leslie of Guelph, Canada."

"As well, the effort to include chess in the Olympics fell apart, derailed in part because chess players did not want to undergo drug testing." --Th* Ch*ss Artist

"Jupiter is the planet with the most moons, 63 at the last count. Saturn now has 46. Uranus has 27 and Neptune 13." (via Robot Wisdom)

"Moments come in the hyper-sensitive life of artistic natures, come unbidden and uncaused, when we are assailed by desolate intimations of the inutility of all things, the vanity of our existence, the visionary fabric of the universe, the incomprehensibility of self, the continuous and irreparable flight of time--when our joys and sorrows, our passion and our shame, our endeavours to achieve and our inertia of languor, seem but a mocking film, an iridescent scum upon the treacherous surface of a black and bottomless abyss of horrible inscrutability. At these times, like Pascal, we fain would set a screen up to veil the ever-present gulf that yawns before our physical and mental organs of perceptiion. Alas for those who, feeling the realities of beauty and emotion so acutely having such power at times to render them by words or forms for others, must also feel with poignant intensity the grim and transitory nature of the ground on which we tread, of the flesh that clothes us round, of the desires that fret our brains, the duties we perform, the thoughts that keep our will upon the stretch through months of unremunerative labour.
    It is easy to stigmatise these moods as morbid. It is clear that yielding to them would entail paralysis of energy, decrepitude, disease. It is not certain that recording them serves any useful purpose. Yet they are real, a serious factor in the experience of sentient and reflective personalities. Duly counterpointed by strenuous activity and steady self-effectuation, they constitute for the artist and the thinker what might be compared to a 'retreat' for the religious. They force a man to recognise his own incalculable littleness in the vast sum of things.
    They teach him to set slight store on his particular achievement. They make him understand that seeming-bitter sentence of the Gospel, 'Say, we are unprofitable servants, we have not done that which was our duty to do.' Also they have the minor value of dissipating vain glamours of fame or blame, of popular applause or public condemnation, of vulgar display and petty rivalries with others. Emerging from them, the man, made wiser and saner, proceeds to work at that which lieth nearest to his hand to do."

--John Addington Symonds, in: V*nic* As S**n and D*scrib*d by Famous Writ*rs, ed. *sth*r Singl*ton (1911)

Tr*ndy hijab.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Against Thinking Machin* 4 i got this (as pallid): 4r3/7p/r3p1p/5p1k/5q2/5N1P/4p1P1/2R1Q2K.
Black did Rd6?, and i: g4+! Kh6; Qh4+ Kg7; Rc7+ & fin...

"Most of the stuff we encounter these days remains pretty twentieth century, but "21C" phenomena are like animae cyborgs waltzing through your supermarket. Ten-year-olds with Gameboys in one hand and cell phones in the other are 21C. Breaking last year's extreme weather records (and drooling over the resulting weather porn) is 21C. Tiger Woods -- with his multiethnic, corporate persona, his rich-man's game, and his preternatural mastery of fame -- is 21C. Faster-than-light photons, cloned pets, Napster, and millionaire tourists on Mir are all very 21C. And so are mainstream cartoon TV ads for cosmetic psychopharmacology." (via abuddhas m*m*s)

Also 21C.

"Victor Hugo wrote, 'There is in every village a torch: the
schoolmaster -- and an extinguisher: the parson.' "

"I want to persuade booksellers, at least in conversation, these books have more in common with The Turner Diaries and Mein Kampf than they do with The Purpose Driven Life and Tom Clancy."

Talabama. (via Orcinus)

Bon*s of th* Mast*r.

"[Lucifer speaks:] Why Mammon sits before a million hearths
Where God is bolted out from every house.
Well might He say He cometh as a thief;
For He will break your bars and burst your doors
Which slammed against Him once, and turn ye out,
Roofless and shivering, 'neath the doom-storm; Heaven
Shall crack above ye like a bell in fire,
And bury all beneath its shining shards.
He calls: ye hear not. Lo! he comes--ye see not.
No; ye are deaf as a dead adder’s ear:
No; ye are blind as never bat was blind,
With a burning bloodshot blindness of the heart;
A swimming, swollen senselessness of soul.
Listen! Whom love ye most? Why him to whom
Ye in your turn are dearest. Need I name?
Oh, no! But all are devils to themselves;
And every man his own great foe. Hell gets
Only the gleanings; earth hath the full wain;
And hell is merry at its harvest home.
But ye are generous to sin and grudge
The gleaners nothing; ask them, push them in.
Let not an ear, a grain of sin be lost;
Gather it, grind it up; it is our bread:
We should be ashamed to waste the gifts of God.
Why is the world so mad? Why runs it thus
Raving and howling round the universe?
Because the Devil bit it from the birth!
The fault is all with him. Fear nothing, friends!
It is fear which beds the far to-come with fire
As the sun does the west: but the sun sets;
Well: still ye tremble--tremble, first at light,
Then darkness. Tremble! ye dare not believe.
No, cowards! sooner than believe ye would die;
Die with the black lie flapping on your lips
Like the soot-flake upon a burning bar.
Be merry, happy if ye can: think never
Of him who slays your souls, nor Him who saves.
There is time enough for that when ye are a-dying.
Keep your old ways! It matters not this once.
Be brave! Ye are not men whom meat and wine
Serve to remind but of the sacrament;
To whom sweet shapes and tantalizing smiles
Bring up the Devil and the ten commandments--
And so on--but I said the world must end.
I am sorry; it is such a pleasant world:
With all its faults it is perfect--to a fault:
And you, of course, end with it. Now how long
Will the world take to die? I know ye place
Great faith upon death-bed repentences;
The suddener the better. I know ye often
Begin to think of praying and repenting;
But second thoughts come and ye are worse than ever;
As over new white snow a filthy thaw.
Ye do amaze me verily. How long
Will ye take heart on your own wickedness?
Come now; the year and month, day, hour and minute,
Sin’s golden cycle. Do ye know how long
Exactly Heaven will grant ye? how long God,--
Who when he had slain the world and wasted it,
Hung up His bow in Heaven, as in his hall
A warrior after battle--will yet bear
Your contumely and scorn of His best gifts,--
Man's mockery of man? But never mind!
Some of us are magnificently good,
And hold the head up high like a giraffe;
You, in particular, and you--and you.
Good men are here an there, I know; but then,--
You must excuse me if I mention this--
My duty is to tell it you--the world,
Like a black block of marble, jagged with white,
As with a vein of lightning petrified,
Looks blacler than without such; looks in truth,
So gross the heathen, gross the Christian too--
Like the original darkness of void space,
Hardened. Instead of justice, love and grace,
Each worth to man the mission of a God,
Injustice, hate, uncharitableness,
Triequal reign round earth, a Trinity of Hell.
Ye think ye never can be bad enough:
And as ye sink in sin, ye rise in hope.
And let the worst come to the worst, you say,
There always will be time to turn ourselves,
And cry for half an hour or so to God:
Salvation, sure, is not so very hard--
It need not take one long; and half an hour
Is quite as much as we can spare for it.
We have no time for pleasures. Business! business!
No! ye shall perish sudden and unsaved.
The priest shall, dipping, die. Can man save man?
Is water God? The counsellor, wise fool!
Drop down amid his quirks and sacred lies--
The judge, while dooming unto death some wretch,
Shall meet at once his own death, doom, and judge.
The doctor, watch in hand, and patient’s pulse,
Shall feel his own heart cease its beats--and fall:
Professors shall spin out, and students strain
Their brains no more; art, science, toil shall cease.
The world shall stand still with a rending jar,
As though it struck at sea. The halls where sit
The heads of nations shall be dumb with death.
The ship shall after her own plummet sink,
And sound the sea herself and depths of death.
At the first turn Death shall cut off the thief,
And dash the gold bag in his yellow brain.
The gambler, reckoning gains, shall drop a piece;
Stoop down and there see death;--look up, there God.
The wanton, temporizing with decay,
And qualifying every line which vice
Writes bluntly on the brow, inviting scorn,
Shall pale through plastered red: and the loose, low sot
See clear, for once, through his misty, o'erbrimmed eye.
The just, if there be any, die in prayer.
Death shall be every where among your marts,
And giving bills which no man may decline--
Drafts upon Hell one moment after date.
Then shall your outcries tremble amid the stars:
Terrors shall be about ye like a wind:
And fears come down upon ye like a house."



Monday, May 02, 2005

Still in print...!

"Put another way: this is open-source literature."

island · narrowly I kingdom ump

indigo · swim loo
abash Narcissus dybbuk · nonjuror airt

rank rodomont · owl-light warp
low Yalta ironhat · Kalmuck ivy-owl nab grim dump

only morass until murk platinum · idol numps
dungfly · illicit grisly

orbit snag which · inks mulch lungfish obitdorp
ormolu · ambit

bituminous antfarm · sarcasm
hook · nougat

Sunday, May 01, 2005


    "May our country ever lead
The world, for she is worthiest; and may all
Profit by her example, and adopt
Her course, wherever great, or free, or just.
May all her subject colonies and powers
Have of her freedom freely, as a child
Receiveth of its parents. Let not rights
Be wrested from us to our own reproach,
But granted. We may make the whole world free,
And be as free ourselves as ever, more!
If policy or self-defence call forth
Our forces to the field, let us in Thee
Place, first, our trust, and in Thy name we shall
O'ercome, for we will only wage the right.
Let us not conquer nations for ourselves,
But for Thee, Lord! who hast predestined us
To fight the battles of the future now,
And so have done with war before Thou comest.
Till then, Lord God of armies, let our foes
Have their swords broken and their cannon burst,
And their strong cities levelled; and while we
War faithfully and righteously, improve,
Civilize, christianize the lands we win
From savage or from nature, Thou, oh God!
Wilt aid and hallow conquest, as of old,
Thine own immediate nation’s. But we pray
That all mankind may make one brotherhood,
And love and serve each other; that all wars
And feuds die out of nations, whether those
Whom the sun's hot light darkens, or ourselves
Whom he treats fairly, or the northern tribes
Whom ceaseless snows and starry winters blench,
Savage or civilized,--let every race,
Red, black or white, olive, or tawny-skinned,
Settle in peace and swell the gathering hosts
Of the great Prince of Peace! Oh! may the hour
Soon come when all false gods, false creeds, false prophets,--
Allowed in Thy good purpose for a time,--
Demolished, the great world shall be at last,
The mercy-seat of God, the heritage
Of Christ, and the possession of the Spirit,
The comforter, the wisdom! shall all be
One land, one home, one friend, one faith, one law,
Its ruler God, its practice righteousnes,
Its life peace!"