Sunday, February 05, 2017

Pure Sundays: Conquering the Iron Curtain on Bike

I think that one is constantly startled by the things that appear before you on the page when you're writing.
~Shirley Hazzard, born around this date in 1931

Cloudy, windy, cold —
Much as he is wont to feel
Now he has grown old...




“The more one reads the more one sees we have to read.” John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams, December 28, 1794 ... read more



Timely recognition of a job well done can be enough to energise and motivate staff – and worth more than a pay rise. Read more

Sydney faces sports field shortage

9 - Nine - Reasons You Should Eat Dark Chocolate
 Every Single Day

There are many kinds of truth. In the parable of the mustard seed, Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a “mustard seed,” which He said was “the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants.” (Matt. 13:31-32) A botanist would tell us that there are smaller seeds and larger plants, so the 
statement is not literally true in the scientific sense.
But the mustard seed was the smallest seed of which 1st century Jews in Israel knew, so the analogy aided them in understanding that the Kingdom of God starts very small and becomes very large. In that sense, the parable is morally true.
Discerning the genre of the specific passage is thus the first step in discerning the way in which it is true

Math and the Best Life — an Interview With Francis Su Quanta

Perhaps Australia knows the real truth.



I wanted to do something that I don’t know how to do, and offer you the experience of watching someone fumble, because I think maybe that’s what art should offer. An opportunity to recognise our common humanity and vulnerability. So rather than being up here pretending I’m an expert in anything, or presenting myself in a way that will reinforce the odd, ritualised lecturer-lecturee model, I’m just telling you off the bat that I don’t know anything. And if there’s one thing that characterises my writing it’s that I always start from that realisation and I do what I can to keep reminding myself of that during the process. I think we try to be experts because we’re scared; we don’t want to feel foolish or worthless; we want power because power is a great disguise. I even feel odd calling myself a writer or a screenwriter. I do when I have to – I put it on my income tax form – but I feel like it’s a lie, even though it’s technically true. I write screenplays for a living but it’s not what I am.

— Charlie Kaufman



INK BOTTLE“Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy.”
~Jacques Maritain, Reflections on America

You'll need three things if you plan to cycle 8500 kilometres from the northern tip of Finland to Bulgaria's Black Sea coast: a sturdy bike, a trusty map and a hardy sense of humour.
That makes Tim Moore one for three. In 2015, when the English travel writer set out at 51 to conquer the Iron Curtain Trail – conceived in 1990 "to celebrate the end of a beastly era of division and hatred" – he chose a politically appropriate but mechanically fickle steed: a 1990 MIFA 904, an East German Eastern Europe by shopping bike: conquering the Iron Curtain


Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

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When I was young and jobless and it was their world, I used to run through the old unkempt cemetery, weaving between the crooked tombstones and jumping over the thicket. People sometimes shouted at me for not running on the path, but I always ran on as though I hadn’t heard. I was just passing through. It seemed important to run every day, sometimes twice a day, and always along the same route. It gave my life structure. I’d run home and stand at my window while I waited for the doddery shower to warm up. The window gave on a slant of the river that wound through the town. I often stood watching it carry its grimy load seaward. Sometimes a kind of mental mist would steal over me like a shiver and make me feel like a stranger in my own body. As evening fell, my reflection would appear in the window, slowly replacing the river. The more I examined my face — those empty unblinking eyes and straight lips — the harder it was to feel it was mine. It was a thing among things, untenanted. At times I was afraid my soul would detach itself altogether from my body and float away. This feeling came mostly at dusk. Then I’d put on my windbreaker and run through the cemetery again. It was always empty at dusk
~ conceived  at the Vrbov mortuary ...
In the whole of your absurd past you discover so much that’s absurd, so much deceit and credulity, that it might be a good idea to stop being young this minute, to wait for youth to break away from you and pass you by, to watch it going away, receding in the distance, to see all its vanity, run your hand through the empty space it has left behind, take a last look at it, and then start moving, make sure your youth has really gone, and then calmly, all by yourself, cross to the other side of Time to see what people and things really look like.

— Celine, Journey to the End of the Night (tr. Manheim)



Exchange value has to unreel its own inner logic to the end: to mass extinction. The tail that is capital is wagging the dog that is earth.

Perhaps its no accident that the privatization of space appears on the horizon as an investment opportunity at just this moment when earth is going to the dogs. The ruling class must know it is presiding over the depletion of the earth. So they are dreaming of space-hotels. They want to not be touched by this, but to still have excellent views.
[…]
And so the state becomes an agent of generalized surveillance and armed force for the defense of property. The role of the state is no longer managing biopower. It cares less and less about the wellbeing of populations. Life is a threat to capital and has to be treated as such.
The role of the state is not to manage biopower but to manage thanopower. From whom is the maintenance of life to be withdrawn first? Which populations should fester and die off?