April 1st, 2011

falser than vows made in wine

i'm an april fool, it's true

true story, no fooling:

the card in the center represents the attitude you assume. the world egg (the fool), when reversed: apathy, negligence, and dangerous carelessness. unquenchable wanderlust. obsession with someone or something. losing all sense of proportion. foolhardy adventuring and lack of interest in critical matters. immature or unrealistic ideals. strange impulses and desires coming from unexpected sources. vanity, delirium, folly, and oblivion.

the card to the right represents the thoughts and feelings that underly your attitudes. agwe (four of swords): a time of tranquility and intellectual repose in the midst of a great struggle. a temporary retreat from stress to regather inner strength, reaffirm convictions, reorganize thoughts, and formulate a new plan. the need for vigilance in a moment of calm. may suggest a withdrawal from the material world to find spiritual guidance.

the card at the top represents how your attitude is evolving and will evolve in the future. masa (nine of swords), when reversed: mental anguish or ill health endured and overcome. refusal to be dragged down by the dishonor of others. attempting to avert a shameful or regrettable act. faithfulness, patience, and unselfishness. may indicate the narrow avoidance of a death or other catastrophic loss.

the card to the left represents how others perceive your attitude. dr. john (the magus): mastery over word, mind, and matter. the ability to turn ideas into actions, handle problems, and control one's life. the initiation of new projects, great works, or a new way of life. eloquent and moving communication. arcane and eldritch technologies.

the card at the bottom represents what you cannot confront or are hiding from yourself. nan nan bouclou (two of swords): contradictory characteristics brought together as a means of resolving a conflict. refusing to be ruled by negative emotions. strife brought to a close through clarity of mind and restraint of force. turning a blind eye to the minor infractions of others.
let it be written. i. am an ass.

what any of this has to do with price of tea in china, though, i do not know.

honestly, i feel a great disinclination toward writing entries that attempt to say something, preferring rather to point the reader to someone who's said or done something interesting. to be a critic rather than a creator (they used to say "those who can't do, teach", the insulting implications of which my many friends in that business may take umbrage with, as would i with william shatner's dig toward critics in one of his many great songs, has been ([they] laugh at others' failures / though they have not done shit)). they try to say that a teacher or critic does not have the value that a "doer" has, never mind that teaching and critiquing is done by everyone, and it's only certain people who excel at it who make it their vocation, and that they are tremendously valued, as demonstrated by societal reliance (though often not in esteem or funds). (my disinclination stems from the fact that anything worth saying's generally been better said already by someone else.) but this doesn't stop me from being longwinded whilst doing so. frankly, i'm somewhat amazed that individuals otherwise displaying full indicia of sense and sensibility read these entries, often in their entirety, and despite previous exposure to their author's work.

this entry is apropos of this arcade article, and also apropos of my recent entries on the difficulties in reliance on arbiters of taste like roger ebert, or anyone, and which, like many of my entries, are attempts at judging well. i disagree generally with what i feel are reductionistic analyses of human behaviour, but certainly agree that one of my motives for attempting to judge well is to be thought well of. i appreciate anyone doing any (good) thing well, and likewise try to do things well so that others might appreciate me.

anyway, as it turns out (this phrase a favorite of douglas adams), i was reading one of my favorite authors, douglas adams, tonight (whom i've previously noted as having tastes agreeable to mine), and he mentioned that his five favorite authors were dickens, austen, vonnegut, wodehouse, and ruth rendell. i have no experience with rendell, but vonnegut & wodehouse are both among my favorites & i've read nearly the entirety of their output, and it was great to see this additional piece of simpatico. (i've also nearly read the entirety of adams' output which is sadly nonprolific, but also gladly so, since it's better to just have his gems.) i'm not very familiar with dickens and austen though i know many of you, whom i respect, are. this is from adams' introduction to wodehouse's sunset at blandings, which is very brief (the intro, not sunset), and which i highly recommend reading at the linked google books clip before continuing (it's only five pages long, and you'll be wanting to drop me a comment to thank me for pointing it out to you).

what i like is that adams notes that shakespeare was "our greatest writing genius".* what i don't like is that he disses shakespeare's humor, which i love, and specifically calls out dogberry in much ado, which is one of my favorites (i know there are some of you in each of the camps on that one). but no simpatico is perfect. and he's quite right about wodehouse being a genius musician of words and genius at being funny, and "being funny in such a SUBLIME way as to put mere poetry in the shade" (emphasis added), which as adams states, doesn't get nearly the level of props it should in certain circles. this whole endeavour, my journal, ebert, the sublime meme, etc., is about what we'd keep in the balloon, and you know, if you're picking a balloon to escape in, whose balloon do you want to share? and unselfishly spreading the word that, good god, my friend, you've never read wodehouse? never read adams? do yourself a favor, enrich your life by doing so! so i'll keep writing entries and reading them. oh, and i should point out there's a grace note in this: adams' introduction to wodehouse's unfinished and final book appears in the posthumous collection of adams' writing along with a version of adams' unfinished and final book, the salmon of doubt.

and apropos of arbiters of taste and the act of arbiting, and being an expert at something, douglas' very next piece in the book is his informative set of instructions for making a proper cup of tea, which are even briefer, and which i also recommend reading, if you don't already know how to make a proper cup of tea (or if you just like being entertained). i was VERY glad to read these, and to learn, both how to make a proper cup of tea, and that i CAN have milk with my tea (even though some people would tell us we shouldn't). on the matter of expertise and social value you'll see he notes that:

"the socially correct way of pouring tea is to put the milk in after the tea. social correctness has traditionally had nothing whatever to do with reason, logic or physics. in fact, in england it is generally considered socially incorrect to know stuff or think about things. it's worth bearing this in mind when visiting."

the reason i'm especially glad to have learned the above is that now i will enjoy drinking tea substantially more than i did, which was not all that much. and i have it on good authority that tea & tangerines will be my salvation.

*and i love also that adams recommends reading sunset at blandings for completeness, because i am always reading for completeness.

**the astute reader, having read for completeness, might surmise that i also take great pleasure in writing entries that attempt to say something. but as a critic of reductionism, i'd be more likely to throw a poker at wittgenstein than agree with him in this instance! (jokes are much funnier when you don't have to explain them)

foolsday ccx aka 3:47 on 4/1/11

tags: william flesch, william shatner, william shakespeare, p.g. wodehouse, kurt vonnegut jr., ruth rendell, douglas adams, roger ebert, tea, sublimity, apropoity, simpatico, grace notes, arbiting taste, poker, eight fortunes, jane austen, charles dickens, jorge luis borges, reading for completeness, unfinished works, genius, evelyn waugh, john milton, bach, mozart, einstein, feynman, louis armstrong, wittgenstein, a few simple rats

spirit updates

"i would be surprised if we re-establish communication -- happy, but surprised. it's been so long."

"it's disappointing if we have, in fact, lost the mission. but it's the best kind of disappointment you can have. we had a phenomenal adventure with that rover."

truer words...
  • Current Music
    the world's columbian exposition / carl sandburg visits me in a dream


and also because everything is apropos of everything...
not long ago at all, a friend of mine posted an entry regarding a recent viral video pop song titled and dedicated to this very day, friday (no, not this holiday of ours), which has been declared by some to be the worst song ever. hyperbole, but not by much. she asked why people must be so negative, both in regard to this song, and in commenting on various things generally.

the thing is, such negativity, in the right form, is a necessary evil. just as we spend a lot of our time sharing the beautiful things we find in the world and spreading them, there's a war on. because there's money to be made shilling anything from the merely mediocre to the truly awful, so long as enough interest can be garnered, dark forces will attempt to pollute the sharing space with their wicked wares. and it's tough enough finding the best things amongst the merely mediocre without all of the worst being shoved into your space. just as one nurtures a growing flower, one also culls the weeds that threaten it and uglify the garden (which is not to say dandelions, which are, naturally, dandy). bad songs aren't just obnoxious, they take up space that now-unknown beautiful songs could occupy. and negative word of mouth works. just ask the hollywood studios. this is a good thing. a few brave souls suffer that many will not be afflicted by gigli. of course this can work the other way and a passel of ignorant naysayers can destroy the reputation of a thing of beauty. ("if it's not scottish, it's crap!") so we have to be careful when hiring our gardener. and then of course criticism has the problem that it's a double-edged spade; at the same time you are attempting to denigrate a work, you are promoting the work simply by spreading people's awareness of it (but under the assumption that even if they disbelieve you, they'll discover themselves how right you were). silence is the best criticism ("if you can't say somethin' nice, don't say nothin' at all"), when possible.

in a better world than ours, in the long run negative responses to shoddy work would dissuade people from producing and spreading shoddy work. but in this human world of ours, even the undesirable things survive, and even thrive. weeds are notoriously hard to eliminate.

anyway, i hope that your curiosity doesn't lead you to disregard my advice to avoid this friday song. don't let me say i told you so. if you want to listen to a song about friday, you might try friday i'm in love. it's a beautiful song (even though it's not scottish), despite anything you may have heard to the contrary.

oh, and i've been told i have horrible taste in music. i do, but there's a catch. i also have great taste in music. and i try very hard not to promote the horrible music i enjoy, but rather only the great music i enjoy. but a few things slip through the cracks. you know weeds.
  • Current Music
    you can never get enough / enough of this stuff
daft hunk

infinite seahorse

so, no, i know, you don't much care about jimmy's little show, but one of my fav-o-rite of his recurring skits is that classic game show: spin! that! wheel! of! carpet! samples! beyond the absurdist humor i love the naming of the carpet samples (observe the colors and prints for completeness):

dapper frog
nougat illusion
sandy camel
velvet sunset
damp kilt
royal oyster
fuzzy walnuts
tender porpoise
strident lamb
grandma's wallpaper
caramel breeze
infinite seahorse
electric smurf
eternal prune
festive dandruff
mystery color (this week's mystery color is...beige)

and color me envious alligator, because i am jealous of those who get to compete, and even win a carpet sample. but also glad when the winner is a blogger who blogs the whole behind the scenes of his visit to jimmy's show, selection as a contestant, and more. like dan bergstein, whose acquisition of infinite seahorse carried the day. and unlike everyone else dan and his girlfriend have told, i am impressed that infinite seahorse is the color of the carpeting on the floor of the theater where jimmy's show is filmed.

if i ever make it back to new york, i'll have to attempt to be a contestant on wheel. i can definitely follow all of dan's advice for success.
  • Current Music
    pinball + visions of rotterdam