16 February 2015

Various things

Here is what I can expect from today's blog posting: I'll give one limp thought, I'll talk about two movies, I'll quote Vico, and I'll inventory the overage of my Twittering Machine.

Obligatory image

Below is a piece of black construction paper that has many strips of transparent tape stuck to it.

A thought

I like to express wild ideas with words; but I prefer calm and orderliness in the physical world. I would like the universe better if all fighting were strictly mental. Please pat me on the head.


Who cares, I know; but still, I'll record the movies I have watched during the instant that has transpired since the last blog entry, in case I ever have to compose a fake diary to prove an alibi in court.

A couple days ago I revisited California Split (1974) directed by Robert Altman – it's a loose, wandering film that has great characters and little plot. I've always loved it, by the way. I saw it for the first time a few years ago. The reason I checked it out again is that it was mentioned on the commentary track to The Comedy (2012), which I recently enjoyed – Rick Alverson and Tim Heidecker both praised Altman's film after expressing surprise at the coincidence that each of them, unbeknownst to the other, had recently screened it. This made me want to join in on the fun, so I screened it as well.

The two main characters in California Split are compulsive gamblers, and although I've never in my life gambled or even stepped foot in a casino (it's not that I've tried to avoid gambling; I've just never pursued it), I could relate to the thrill and desperation of the activities, because I see the gambling world as an overt and external version of everything that is covert and internal about the risky business of literature.

Movies, cont.

Since I had to walk to my local library to pick up the above title, I decided to browse the shelves to see if there was anything else good to watch. For the library doesn't charge extra tokens if you borrow two movies instead of one – all the library asks is that you return both discs in a timely manner. And I always follow the rules, so that's no problem for me: I even slow down when children leap in front of my car.

So I chose to take home a movie called The Petrified Forest (1936) directed by Archie Mayo. This is a film that I've seen numerous times on various occasions; and I think that every time I've watched it, the reason has been the same: it just happened to catch my eye on the way out of the library. My point in mentioning this is to emphasize that I never rented this movie on account of the advice of a friend or trusted critic – howbeit, I've grown to admire the film intensely; and, come to think of it, this movie really should be sought out by people who love life and hate phones (which is to say: it's a film for fine people). So let this paragraph count as my official endorsement of The Petrified Forest. If you rent it and attempt to watch it but end up loathing it, just give me a call and I'll meet you somewhere and we can battle.

From Giambattista Vico's New Science

Today I was reading an English translation of Giambattista Vico's New Science. Here is a quotation that I admired:

We speak of the tooth of a plough, rake, saw, or comb; the beards of plants and their roots; a tongue of the sea; the throat of rivers and mountains [French gorge]; a neck of land; and the arm of a river... [etc., etc.]

All this follows from Axiom I: 'In his ignorance, man makes himself the measure of the universe.' And in the examples cited, man has reduced the entire world to his own body. Now, rational metaphysics teaches us that man becomes all things through understanding... But with perhaps greater truth, this imaginative metaphysics shows that man becomes all things by not understanding... For when man understands, he extends his mind to comprehend things; but when he does not understand, he makes them out of himself and, by transforming himself, becomes them.

From my Twittering Machine

The following claptrap consists of things that I posted elsewhere. I tried not to include any duplicate posts, meaning postings that I previously rounded up on this blog; but I might have made a mistake, so, if you notice a duplicate post, I'll deny it emphatically.

  • Every time I unlock my front door, I fear that a wolf-man is going to burst in and devour me. 
  • Maybe all vision is revision.
  • It could be that we might enjoy blasting ourselves back to the Stone Age.
  • You possess an extremely attractive loan capacity.
  • Could we attract such exceptional candidates to the position if we discontinued paying our saviors with martyrdom?
  • I think that I get a little bit of exercise when I walk up and down the stairs.
  • A giant metal blade cuts right through paper.
  • The company pays me to mop and dust but all I do is talk to my dead god.
  • Write words. Publish book. Regret everything. Repeat. 
  • Just tell me the symptoms of the disease and I guarantee that I'll believe I have it.

Valentine Update

Yesterday evening, after dinner, my sweetheart and I returned to my apartment, and, at her request, I read aloud with enthusiasm & conviction the entirety of both The Triumph of Life (by Shelley) and The Fall of Hyperion (by Keats)... Then, this morning, my neighbor showed up at my door and complained about last night's noise – he said that he thought I'd been conducting a Black Mass.

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