history, photography, quote

As Martin Luther King Jr Said …

The [Menu] button (atop the vertical black bar) reveals widgets like the Search box.  Typing just the [Enter] key into the Search box is a way to browse WordPress blogs.

arc-moral-bends-justice_800x591

 

Advertisements
haiku, quote, riff

Riff of a Quote from Calliope Writing

The [Menu] button (atop the vertical black bar) reveals widgets like the Search box.  Typing just the [Enter] key into the Search box is a way to browse WordPress blogs.

The recent Blogoquent Competition calling for a description of life in a single sentence was won by Katrina, whose concise and eloquent entry posted in Calliope Writing struck me as being much like a haiku.  Hmmm.  One can indeed get a decent haiku by simply adding obbligato line breaks to the winning sentence:

Haiku Draft #1
|Life is a journey
|in which nothing is permanent and
|everything is precious.

While I do not freak out because this haiku breaks the 5-7-5 Rule and lacks a clear fragment/phrase boundary, I believe that rule violations need better reasons than

That’s what popped into my head.

The competition is over.  We are free to use 2 sentences now.  A better haiku emerges:

Haiku Draft #2
|Life is a journey.
|No things are permanent and
|all things are precious.

Hmmm.  Do I have an image to illustrate this post?  I do, and it suggests another tweak:

outflow-closeup_ObjRem

Happy Heraclitus
|Life flows and splashes.
|No things are permanent and
|all things are precious.

baseball, enlightenment, humor, philosophy, politics, quote, riff

Riff on a Yogi Berra Quote

The [Menu] button (atop the vertical black bar) reveals widgets like the Search box.  Typing just the [Enter] key into the Search box is a way to browse WordPress blogs.

yogi-berra-1

Some of the many humorous quotes (mis)attributed to Yogi Berra are trenchant expressions of genuine wisdom, akin to Zen koans.  (In his Washington Post obituary, the subtitle “American philosopher” is well-chosen.)  One of his gems is so widely applicable and important that it deserves a special name.  It is also so widely quoted that 2 versions are common, as indicated by {|} below:

Yogi Berra’s Law
{The game|It} ain’t over til it’s over.

Yes, the original context was baseball.  With 2 outs in the bottom of the 9-th inning, the home team may be trailing.  Yogi rightly admonishes both the home team (to resist despair) and the visitors (to resist complacency).  A lot can still happen with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9-th inning.  I prefer the shorter version of the law because it is more explicit about the law’s generality.  “It” could be almost anyhthing.

My current context for heeding Yogi Berra’s Law is the imminent inauguration of Donald Trump as POTUS.  At best, this event marks the start of 4 long and nasty years in the US.  At worst, this event might combine with trends elsewhere (in China, Europe, and Russia) to start a new Dark Age.  Considering the worst case is prudent, not alarmist.

Mindless repetition of platitudes like

  • It can’t happen here.
  • Every cloud has a silver lining.
  • It is always darkest just before the dawn.

is no substitute for the eternal vigilance that Jefferson said is the price of liberty.  (There are other prices.)  I resist the complacency of those platitudes; I also resist despair and continue (in my own small way) to be a citizen rather than just a complainer.

In a late inning in the biggest game of my lifetime, the Enlightenment is trailing.  That sucks.  But 2+3 is still 5 and Yogi Berra’s Law is still true.
haiku, humor, math, music, quote, riff

Riff on a Faulkner Quote

The [Menu] button (atop the vertical black bar) reveals widgets like the Search box.  Typing just the [Enter] key into the Search box is a way to browse WordPress blogs.

The story of my upbeat reinterpretation of a Faulkner quote starts in my kitchen.

The past is never dead.  It’s not even past.

A somber interpretation of this quote comes naturally.

  • The foul stain on America from slavery persists.
  • A mysterious burden is passed down from each generation to the next (as in a post on Na trioblóidí that I found to be simultaneously intriguing, funny, and disturbing).
  • Original Sin.

And so on.

Like many classics, the Faulkner quote can be reinterpreted later, w/o superceding the original intent.  As a quick example of such reinterpretation, consider JS Bach’s Two-Part Invention #11.  It is very quick indeed (about a minute long) and was originally written for solo harpsichord.  Click here to hear it arranged for banjo and marimba, on one track from a Grammy-winning CD, where banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck and friends reinterpret 19 short classical pieces.  We will return to music shortly.

The story of my upbeat reinterpretation starts a few years ago.  Tired of having the air in my kitchen be warmer and wetter than elsewhere in the house, I bought a window fan: 2 small quiet fans in 1 housing, meant to be squeezed between sash and sill for blowing air in or out of a window.  I mounted the fan in a doorless doorway, so as to blow air from the dining room into the kitchen.  It does help.  A tall person would need to stoop when passing thru; I do not.

kitchenfan_900x473

To mount the fan, I drilled holes in the fan housing and drove screws thru the housing into wooden supports (cut from scrap lumber) that I attached to the upper corners of the doorway.  I chuckled at the thought that relating horizontal and vertical lengths (along the doorway) to diagonal lengths (of cut lumber) was yet another small consulting gig for Pythagoras.

kitchenfanmount_900x675

Hmmm.  I did not think of Pythagoras as an ancient dead Greek.  I thought of him as an eminent older colleague (long since retired) who is doing quite well for his age and still has consulting gigs.  The past is not past.

Will our civilization endure until I am as old as Pythagoras is now?  (Not w/o some major course corrections.)  Suppose it does.  I doubt that I will have many more consulting gigs.  But Pythagoras will.  Bach’s music will still be cherished and reinterpreted, along with that of other great composers, from Hildegard to Hovhaness and beyond.  Sometimes it is good that the past is not past.

Ad honorem: Hildegard of Bingen, 1098-1179
|Mystic visions or
|migraine headaches? Whatever.
|Her music lives on!

Buddhism, flowers, haiku, photography, quote, riff

Riff on a Quote

The [Menu] button (atop the vertical black bar) reveals widgets like the Search box.  Typing just the [Enter] key into the Search box is a way to browse WordPress blogs.

The purpose of our lives is to be happy.

Being calm and compassionate is also important in Buddhism, so I have responded to

Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu #72 Use that quote

by expanding the Dalai Lama’s quote about being happy into a haiku about being all 3.  Rhododendrons originated in Asian mountains, so a photo with 3 clusters of their blossoms seems appropriate for illustrating the rather abstract haiku.

Rhodo_928x599

Riff on a Quote from
|Tenzin Gyatso (14th Dalai Lama)

|Be calm and happy.
|Give loving help to those who
|are frantic or sad.