Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Mysterious Creation of Jobs

Hillary Clinton, the other day:

"Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs."

So who creates jobs, in point of fact?
Should we say: The Invisible Hand?
Or something abstract
Like Supply and Demand?

No, it's herself:

"I voted to raise the minimum wage and guess what, millions of jobs were created or paid better and more families were secure."

No one's too sure where those millions of jobs are that she created. They're not in the employment statistics.

Somewhere there's gobs
Of shiny new jobs.
But that isn't here
Or anywhere near.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

R J Hollingdale on Thomas Mann

Today I was reading Hollingdale's book on Thomas Mann, and realized I had no idea what Hollingdale had looked like, or who he was exactly.

Well, here he is:


To summarize from Wikipedia, he left school at 16 (in 1946 or so) to become a journalist, learned German in private lessons, and became an influential scholar of modern German thought. Without a degree.


Hollingdale sees Mann as caught up in God-is-dead nihilism.

"The whole world of Thomas Mann's fiction is erected on this basis of no values. It is because this world has no values that the major novels are so long (no principle of selection); it is because it has no values that its ideological tendency is so uncertain (no instinctive moral judgment); it is because it has no values that its most valuable inhabitant, the artist, is inverted into a decadent and criminal (the identity of the best and the worst); it is because it has no values that it is seen ironically (self-defence against the meaningless); it is because it has no values that it resorts to mythology (an attempt to create value);it is because it has no values that its only reality is physical reality and its only causes physical causes, and when it tries to account for the fact that it has no values it seeks the explanation in physiology. But because the world which this fictional world seeks to mirror really has no values, this fictional world is a true mirror and the image it reflects a true image. The aesthetic faults we have discovered in it, which are true faults, are thus in the long run faults in the subject which it reflects. Or, as the mirror replied to the monster: 'There is nothing wrong with me, it is you who are distorted'."

Rather sweeping, but makes more sense
than lots of what I've seen dispensed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

50 Shades of Worry

I haven't read 50 Shades Of Grey.

I did make a reference to it in a play.

Anyway, I saw gossip today about the movie, which is reportedly due out in 4 months. They're reshooting some of the love scenes.

"A source who works on the set told Us Magazine the original shots weren't passionate and the directors were disappointed by the stars' lack of chemistry.'"

Funny thing about chemistry. You can suspend disbelief about all kinds of practical things. But in a love story you really need to sense some mutual attraction.

If you can't feel the sizzle,
the film is bound to fizzle.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Appearance Alteration

As the Daily Mail asks:

What HAS Renee Zellweger done to her face? Bridget actress looks utterly unrecognisable as she steps out with her boyfriend in LA

Rather striking pictures at the link. You can see it's her, more from the side than from the front.

Maybe she's going into Witness Protection,
but it must be strange to stare at your own reflection,
and see a face beyond your recollection.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Quatrain on Haiku

Haiku - they're from the Japanese
whose poets used to strive
to write in lines of snappy threes
composed of 5-7-5.

Illness Paradox

I have a cold. It's better now. I had it really bad over the weekend, yet my Sunday was very productive, writing-wise. I finished the first act of my new play and gave it a new title: All Mixed Up.

I've noticed, over the years, that certain types of "feeling miserable" are highly compatible with getting work done, particularly creative-thinking type work, whether it's writing a story or writing a computer program. What seems paradoxical is that I feel very low energy, feel very unmotivated, feel like my concentration is limited... but then I get a lot done in an intense state of focus.

I wonder if part of it is that I'm so much less distractable, so I stay focused and the problem becomes more tractable.

This would include less distraction by the meta-level, the perfectionistic sort of questioning that distracts by constant asking: but is that right?

Instead I plod along
not worrying if I'm wrong.

I guess the difficult trick
is being the right degree of sick.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Left to Right

Back when I was in high school a friend told me that the ancient Greeks, at one point, had written both left to right AND right to left, alternately. You can see where this would be efficient for speed reading. Scholars call it "boustrophedon", which means "ox-turning", as when you plow a field with an ox, and you turn and go back the other way, still plowing.

The individual characters are mirrored, like Leonardo Da Vinci's famous "code". I actually taught myself to do this, also in high school. Maybe I had too much time on my hands in high school!

Recently I read that it was boustrophedon that accounts for the transition from Right-to-Left to Left-to-Right writing! The Semitic languages (such as Hebrew, Arabic, Phoenician) are all Right-to-Left. The Greeks took their alphabet from the Phoenicians.

'Greek was originally written predominantly from right to left, just like Phoenician, but scribes could freely alternate between directions. For a time, a writing style with alternating right-to-left and left-to-right lines (called boustrophedon, literally "ox-turning", after the manner of an ox ploughing a field) was common, until in the classical period the left-to-right writing direction became the norm.'

But... while that explains the ability to shift readily,
it doesn't explain why they chose Left-to-Right steadily.

I think
it was commanded
because Left-to-Right is better when working with ink,
at least for the right-handed.