Creuset of Ideas
A collection of various ideas

Archives of 2006-11



2006-11-28 @ 14:28

“I decided to learn Arabic,” he said. To which his son, who knew him quite well, answered with a smile: “So, what’s her name?”

Many years ago, I met this man of a certain age on the Munich-Salzbourg train, he was explaining how, to learn a language, you have to eat the food, smell the air and, of course, sleep with the locals.

You’ll find lots of language learning books, most focussed on travel. But what about people who want to learn a language to seduce someone? Isn’t there a “[insert language name here] for bed” collection?

Update: there’s one in Japanese for learning English: English phrasebook

Via aristippe


R.I.P. Robert Altman

2006-11-22 @ 10:21

Robert Altman, creator of such films as M*A*S*H, The Player and, more recently, Gosford Park (whodunnit where you don’t really care who did it) died Monday at the age of 81.

Like Tom said, November



2006-11-17 @ 14:41

No shadow no stars
no moon no cars
it only believes
in a pile of dead leaves
and a moon
that’s the color of bone

No prayers for November
to linger longer
stick your spoon in the wall
we’ll slaughter them all

November has tied me
to an old dead tree
get word to April
to rescue me
November’s cold chain

Made of wet boots and rain
and shiny black ravens
on chimney smoke lanes
November seems odd
you’re my firing squad

With my hair slicked back
with carrion shellac
with the blood from a pheasant
and the bone from a hare
tied to the branches
of a roebuck stag
left to wave in the timber
like a buck shot flag

Go away you rainsnout
go away blow your brains out

(tom waits)



2006-11-15 @ 13:39

I’ve said before that one of the most important things in science is doubt. Actually, there is something even more fundamental: the notion of causality. All science is based on the idea that every effect has a cause.

That is a big part of our (Judeo-Christian, Western) culture. Even the Bible starts with cause (God) and effect (heaven and earth). But, at least according to what Jung said in his preface to the Yi King, this is not the case in traditional Chinese thinking. (I don’t know enough about that to comment, though.)

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Bully Culture

2006-11-10 @ 12:23

It’s hard not to think of Bush as a bully. Actually, it seems to be the core of the Republican ideal, and beyond.

Push in line, build your building right in front of someone else’s, destroy a neighborhood, be a winner, a survivor. To me, those reality shows “teach” bully culture — that’s the lesson that is imparted — and that includes ones like Laguna Beach, which seems to promote backstabbing, lying, duplicitous behavior and entitlement — all in a world where no one works. (David Byrne)

Makes it kind of hard to teach kid how to deal with bullies, and how to not be one, when that seems to be life is all about when you’re an adult…


In Doubt

2006-11-7 @ 8:31

David Byrne recently had some interesting thing to say about belief and denial.

I would maintain that a healthy (i.e. substantial) amount of denial is therefore genetically heritable, that it allows us to blithely go on (despite reading Beckett) and to ignore the basic sadness and desperation of life. We can live in an illusion — in fact we are genetically predisposed to do so. These illusions can be small — I am just as good at catching game as Bob, my rival, for example — or they can be very large — that death is not the end and that I will be rewarded for my faith and Bob, the apostate, will rot in Hell.

Either way, they allow me to go on, to persevere in the face of unlikely odds or limited chance of success. We have evolved to be less rational that one might think, and to be slightly more delusional and even stupid. (Happy Idiots)

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One more step

2006-11-1 @ 10:35

Bush has signed a law that will allow him to deploy troupes inside the U.S. to enforce whichever law he personally deems necessary, repealing the Posse Comitatus Act. He will thus be able, without Congress approval, to declare martial law anywhere in the States. That goes well with his authorization to torture anyone he personally considers an “enemy combatant.”