Thursday, May 21, 2009




Boots of Spanish Leather by Bob Dylan from The Times They Are A-Changin'

Oh, I'm sailin' away my own true love,
I'm sailin' away in the morning.
Is there something I can send you from across the sea,
From the place that I'll be landing?

No, there's nothin' you can send me, my own true love,
There's nothin' I wish to be ownin'.
Just carry yourself back to me unspoiled,
From across that lonesome ocean.

Oh, but I just thought you might want something fine
Made of silver or of golden,
Either from the mountains of Madrid
Or from the coast of Barcelona.

Oh, but if I had the stars from the darkest night
And the diamonds from the deepest ocean,
I'd forsake them all for your sweet kiss,
For that's all I'm wishin' to be ownin'.

That I might be gone a long time
And it's only that I'm askin',
Is there something I can send you to remember me by,
To make your time more easy passin'.

Oh, how can, how can you ask me again,
It only brings me sorrow.
The same thing I want from you today,
I would want again tomorrow.

I got a letter on a lonesome day,
It was from her ship a-sailin',
Saying I don't know when I'll be comin' back again,
It depends on how I'm a-feelin'.

Well, if you, my love, must think that-a-way,
I'm sure your mind is roamin'.
I'm sure your heart is not with me,
But with the country to where you're goin'.

So take heed, take heed of the western wind,
Take heed of the stormy weather.
And yes, there's something you can send back to me,
Spanish boots of Spanish leather.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Christopher Hitchen's quoting F.M. Cornford's "Microcosmographia Academica" in his "Letters to a Young Contrarian"

There is only one argument for doing something; the rest are arguments for doing nothing.
Since the stone axe fell into disuse at the close of the Neolithic Age, two other arguments of universal application have been added to the rhetorical armoury by the ingenuity of mankind. They are closely akin; and, like the stone axe, they are addressed to the Political Motive. They are called the Wedge and the Dangerous Precedent. Though they are very familiar, the principles, or rules of inaction, involved in them are seldom stated in full. They are as follows:
The Principle of the Wedge is that you should not act justly now for fear of raising expectations that you may act still more justly in the future--expectations that you are afraid you will not have the courage to satisfy. A little reflection will make it evident that the Wedge argument implies the admission that the persons who use it cannot prove that the action is not just. If they could, that would be the sole and sufficient reason for not doing it, and this argument would be superfluous.
The Principle of the Dangerous Precedent is that you should not now do any admittedly right action for fear, or your equally timid successors, should not have the courage to do right in some future case, which, ex hypothesi, is essentially different, but superficially resembles the present one. Every public action that is not customary, either is wrong, or, if it is right, is a dangerous precedent. It follows that nothing should ever be done for the first time.
Another argument is that "the Time is not Ripe." The Principle of Unripe Time is that people should not do at the present moment what they think right at that moment, because the moment at which they think it right has not yet arrived. 

You may, and I assure you of this, be certain that you will meet some combination of these arguments and evasions as you go through life. you may not always have the energy to combat each of them every time; you may find that you want to husband and conserve your resources for a better cause or a more propitious day. Beware of this tendency in yourself. Be alert, especially, for that awful day when--without even having meant to do so--you find that you have uttered one of these consoling and corrupting formulations yourself.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Richard Brautigan




"My Name" from In Watermelon Sugar

I guess you are kind of curious as to who I am, but I am one of those who do not have a regular name. My name depends on you. Just call me whatever is in your mind.
If you are thinking about something that happened a long time ago: Somebody asked you a question and you did not know the answer.
That is my name.
Perhaps it was raining very hard.
That is my name.
Or somebody wanted you to do something. You did it. Then they told you what you did was wrong-"Sorry for he mistake,"-and you had to do something else.
That is my name.
Perhaps it was a game that you played when you were a child or something that came idly into your mind when you were old and sitting in a chair near the window.
That is my name.
Or you walked someplace. There were flowers all around.
That is my name.
Perhaps you stared into a river. There was somebody near you who loved you. They were about to touch you. You could feel this before it happened. Then it happened.
That is my name.
Or you heard someone calling from a great distance. Their voice was almost an echo.
That is my name.
Perhaps you were lying in bed, almost ready to go to sleep and you laughed at something, a joke unto yourself, a good way to end the day.
That is my name.
Or you were eating something good and for a second forgot what you were eating, but still went on, knowing it was good.
That is my name.
Perhaps it was around midnight and the fire tolled like a bell inside the stove.
That is my name.
Or you felt bad when she said that thing to you. She could have told it to someone else: Somebody who was more familiar with her problems.
That is my name.
Perhaps the trout swam in the pool but the river was only eight inches wide and the moon shone on iDEATH and the watermelon fields glowed out of proportion, dark and the moon seemed to rise from every plant.
That is my name.
And I wish Margaret would leave me alone.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Marcel Duchamp - The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass), 1915-23

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Piet Mondrian


Pier and Ocean

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Peter Singer


Excerpts from Practical Ethics from the section "From Equality of Opportunity to Equality of Consideration"

...equality of opportunity is not an attractive ideal. It rewards the lucky, who inherit those abilities that allow them to pursue interesting and lucrative careers. It penalizes the unlucky, whose genes make it very hard for them to achieve similar success.

...When we pay people high salaries for programming computers and low salaries for cleaning offices, we are, in effect, paying people for having a high IQ, and this means that we are paying people for something determined in part before they are born and almost wholly determined before they reach an age at which they are responsible for their actions. From the point of view of justice and utility there is something wrong here.