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Jeremy's journal

The alternatives are not placid servitude on the one hand and revolt against servitude on the other. There is a third way, chosen by thousands and millions of people every day. It is the way of quietism, of willed obscurity, of inner emigration.

J.M. Coetzee

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Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

🦋 Blogging the Arctic

A boatload of artists is visiting the cold waters of the north, to see what they can of Greenland and its environment before that environment vanishes. You can read their ongoing account of their expedition, with pictures and video, at; and more images at their Flicker page.

posted morning of September 30th, 2008: Respond
➳ More posts about Disko Bay Expedition

🦋 L'Shanah Tovah

Enjoy the holiday! Enjoy the coming year!

posted morning of September 30th, 2008: 3 responses

Monday, September 29th, 2008

🦋 Craziness

Johan Huibers, a creationist who lives in Schagen, Netherlands, has built a working replica of Noah's ark ("working" should be taken with a grain of salt here: two key benchmarks that I don't believe have been passed are (a) loading it with pairs of every animal species and (b) launching it in a 40-day inundation) "as a testament to his faith in the literal truth of the Bible." It is 1/2 scale (so I guess would only hold half the world's species, or a singleton of each species), which is still quite incredibly large. He has populated it with stuffed animals, which seems a bit like cheating...

posted afternoon of September 29th, 2008: Respond
➳ More posts about Pretty Pictures

🦋 Caring for an old dog

Ellen has written an update for Lola's Diary, about Lola's old age.

posted morning of September 29th, 2008: Respond
➳ More posts about Ellen

Friday, September 26th, 2008

🦋 A Culmination of Many Past Betrayals

(Warning: not-completely-coherent post by upset and angry blogger:)

The Republicans have scuttled an agreement to address the crisis in our banking system. Paul Krugman (whose blog The Conscience of a Liberal is absolutely vital reading right now) notes an interesting exchange between Henry Paulson and Nancy Pelosi:

In the Roosevelt Room after the session, the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., literally bent down on one knee as he pleaded with Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, not to "blow it up" by withdrawing her party's support for the package over what Ms. Pelosi derided as a Republican betrayal.

"I didn't know you were Catholic," Ms. Pelosi said, a wry reference to Mr. Paulson's kneeling, according to someone who observed the exchange. She went on: "It's not me blowing this up, it's the Republicans."

Mr. Paulson sighed. "I know. I know."

So the point is, if he knows, why isn't he -- why aren't responsible Republicans -- doing something about it? They have been spending the last 30 years building up and enabling and empowering the most vile, reprehensible elements of their party. Change at this point is their responsibility and their burden.

Note: and as far as, "What can we-who-are-not-'Responsible Republicans' do?", it seems to me like all we can do is concentrate the power of the Republican party in the hands of the irresponsible crazies -- the Republicans who can be forced from office by Democrats are more likely to be of the "RR" type, is how it seems to me anyways. Kind of paradoxical but giving power to RR's is giving power to those they enable.

posted morning of September 26th, 2008: Respond
➳ More posts about Politics

🦋 Old train station in the east

The Apostropher links to photos of an abandoned train station in Abkhazia (originally posted by LiveJournal user zyalt). Just beautiful. Reminds me a bit of the beautiful (if not nearly as ornate) abandoned train station in Liberty State Park, in Jersey City.*

The ru_sovarch community at LiveJournal has lots more photos of old architecture in and around Russia.

*Note: Hm, it just occured to me I should specify that said station is not really that beautiful anymore; for about the last 10 years it has been converted into a park building, with a new floor put in and is basically unrecognizable now.

posted morning of September 26th, 2008: Respond

🦋 Miracle at St. Anna

Tonight we're going in to the city and listen to Spike Lee and James McBride discussing their new movie, Miracle at St. Anna. The talk is sold out! Exciting -- I'm looking forward to that star-struck feeling I get from being in the same room as an author whose work I respect. This movie looks like it's going to be really interesting!

Afterwards we will meet up with my sister and who knows? Maybe watch the presidential debate. If McCain succeeds in cancelling it we will just hang out and commiserate about the times and the mores.

posted morning of September 26th, 2008: Respond
➳ More posts about The Movies

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

🦋 Pure Appearance

Saramago says (apologies for the roughness of the translation):

I suppose that in the beginning of the beginnings, before we invented speech, which is as we know, the supreme creator of incertitude, no serious doubt tormented us about who we were, about our personal and collective relationship with the place where we found ourselves. The world, obviously, could only be that which our eyes see at each moment, and furthermore, as important complementary information, that which our remaining senses -- hearing, touch, smell, taste -- appreciate. At this initial hour the world was pure appearance and pure superficiality. Material was simply rough or smooth, bitter or sweet, sour or bland, sound or silent, smelly or odorless. All things were that which they appeared to be, for the simple reason that they had no motive for appearing some other way or for being some other thing. ... I imagine that the spirit of philosophy and the spirit of science were manifest on that day, when someone had the intuition that appearance, being the external image that consciousness could capture and use as a map of knowledge, might also be an illusion of the senses. It is more often used in reference to the moral world than to the physical, the popular expression that says: "Appearances can be deceiving." Or illusory, which is more or less the same thing...

This scribe has always been preoccupied with what was behind mere appearances, and now I'm not talking about atoms or subatomic particles, which, as such, are always the appearance of something that is hidden. I speak, yes, of current issues, routine, everyday, for example, the political system we call democracy, one that Churchill called the least bad of all known systems. He did not say the best, he said the least bad. For that which we are seeing, which it seems that we consider more than sufficient, and that, I believe, is an error of perception, whether we recognize it or not, we will be paying every day of our lives. Let us return to the matter.

posted evening of September 25th, 2008: Respond
➳ More posts about Saramago's Notebook

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

🦋 Stroszek: a review

I found a really well-written, informative review of Stroszek at Pajiba's Twisted Masterpieces. Recommended. Also, in comments thereto, the information that Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis killed himself after watching this film.

posted morning of September 24th, 2008: Respond
➳ More posts about Stroszek

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

🦋 I said "thank you" to Orhan Pamuk

After the event this evening I made my way over to where Mr. Pamuk was sitting and said "Thank you very much for your books." I felt uncomfortable and more than a little star-struck; but he was very gracious and thanked me for saying it. And signed my book! -- Other Colors, that is; he signed it, as I asked him to, on p. 110 at the head of the essay "On Reading: Words or Images", which has made a very strong impression on me. (Unfortunately my plan where he would say, "Oh, you're the fellow who's writing so much about my work in his blog! listen, I was very taken with your reading of..." didn't pan out. Oh well, maybe next time...)

posted evening of September 23rd, 2008: Respond
➳ More posts about Orhan Pamuk

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