18 august 2009

This one's really for the soundtrack, a busker on the bridge. Anybody know what the tune is?

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24 august 2009

Sleep is the most moronic fraternity in the world, with the heaviest dues and the crudest rituals. It is a mental torture I find debasing. The strain and drain of composition often force me, alas, to swallow a strong pill that gives me an hour or two of frightful nightmares or even to accept the comic relief of a midday snooze, the way a senile rake might totter to the nearest euthanasium; but I simply cannot get used to the nightly betrayal of reason, humanity, genius.

- Nabokov, Speak, Memory

Nor will the sweetest delight of gardens afford much comfort in sleep; wherein the dullness of that sense shakes hands with delectable odours; and though in the bed of Cleopatra, can hardly with any delight raise up the ghost of a rose.

- Thomas Browne, The Garden of Cyrus

As the cherubs of repose dollop your brow with the puckered promise of the world of dreams, and the lateness of the hour devours your extremities with the needlings of an empire away from the everyday, gather up your final gram of resistance, scrub the slumber from your sockets and elect this sound, The Nation of Ulysses, to the place of prominence in the sensory landscape of your room. It will help you to grapple with the base instinct which keeps you in synch with the square world, and will be in the vanguard of the violence vented when we vanquish "Sleep, which is the greatest thief, as it steals half one's life." Sleep is a coma, a death-like state, which people pull willingly over themselves like a blanket, and is to us a reprehensible condition which must be obliterated.

Tips for fighting sleep's death-like grip:
1. The Intent - While society sleeps, bound to this archaic ritual, we shall take over.
2. The Drink - The dewy drops of perspiration from one anothers' brow, flavoured as they are with the mania of the long in waking.
3. The Mantra - "Ulysses, Ulysses, little flower, beloved by all the youth."
4. The Sartorials - Pajamas, once clownish and babylonian, now present themselves as a bold new uniform for the army fighting against the nauseous prospect of the ethical workday, and also as a salute to madness and possibility - both children of the night sky.
5. The Noise - The Sound of Young America, The Nation of Ulysses. They will restore your lust for the nocturnal waking state, synonymous as it is with the Ulysses Nation State.

Deny yourself the rituals which coincide with sleep's preparation. Do not wipe the taste of the day away with the false and foreign taste of mint, but relish the compacted and compounded evidence of an evening well spent! Sleep's supplicating arms have long been an enemy of the Nation of Ulysses, prompting an entire other time zone for its disciples, dubbed aptly "Nation Time," and occupying a space in time simultaneously years later and hours earlier respectively. Remember now that visionaries (that is us) have historically allowed themselves only the faintest resemblances of a "full night's rest," that little sleep wipes away a lot of inhibitions which could stymie one's fervor toward the destruction of the false nation and toward construction of the new. Remember that their taste has gone stale, and remember, remember, remember most of all, that the Nation of Ulysses must prevail!

- The Nation of Ulysses

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25 august 2009

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26 august 2009

Mostly the internets are a box of delights and soothment, but sometimes we appear not to have progressed as far as we thought. Here's an Amazon France customer review of an Isabelle Huppert movie put through Babelfish:

St Augustin (l' bishop d' Hippone, not the subway station) dies into 430 whereas its city is besieged by Genséric (me either j' in know ric) and its vandals (that badly does not sound... Danny Logan and its Penitent, Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, Genséric and its Vandals); Expert near the courts of Carthage for all that touches with the flesh, his positions, his pleasures, his delights, it splits himself, at the time d' a pleading remained famous (at the time of the lawsuit " L' Worsen Romain against Sodomisator") of this aphorism passed to the posterity: " Post coitum, animal triste" what can result in " After the coitus, l' animal is triste". This vocation of sexo-veterinary surgeon, Diane Kurys knew the retransmettre in its film where Bernard, veterinary surgeon with the brother too early missing (" My brother was veterinary surgeon... he blew with a small tube out of glass...."), loves Isabelle, Áleveuse mares to claim, and Lio, exotic singer whose fruit-bearing tastes are to be compared with those of France Gall. Who l' will carry of both? Which will be able to return to Bernard the smile after l' love returning l' consequently; aphorism d' Obsolete Augustin? Such is l' stake of this sublime film of which d' qualities; lighting (" it takes bladders for lanternes" " And then? " " it brule") are not any more to praise.

I'll have to get hold of the film now, of course. It's possible that only a close viewing (possibly frame-by-frame) can solve the mysteries of the bladder lanterns, the small but maybe fatal glass tube . . .

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27 august 2009

for maths buffs

Any straight line, Borges pointed out, is an arc cut from a circle of infinite radius. So far so ordinary.

Draw a little arc in your head. To which side of the arc will be found the centre of the circle?

Of course, on the concave side. Good stuff.

But when we have a straight line standing in for an arc of a circle of infinite size, on which side of the line will the (infinitely distant) centre be?

Was Borges holding back the whole truth? Should we say that a straight line is an arc cut from *two* infinitely large and adjacent circles?

Me and Fermat.

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All our life, i.e. the living part of it, is a persistent dreaming awake. The boy does not camp in his father's yard. That would not be adventurous enough, there are too many sights and sounds to disturb the illusion; so he marches off twenty or thirty miles and there pitches his tent, where stranger inhabitants are tamely sleeping in their beds just like his father at home, and camps in their yard, perchance. But then he dreams uninterruptedly that he is anywhere but where he is.

- Thoreau