Jul 30, 2003

Even Christopher Hitchens gets disillusioned with politics.
He said while blogging
When need passes, blogging ends. For every blogger blogs to fill some need. Blogging is the solution - personal answer - to something.

Some needs are more unsolvable than others.

Jul 27, 2003

Berek on numbers: The philosophical grammatical difference between 'is' and '='.
Writing
What would writing and the art of writing look like if one did not approached it as a sign of a sign, not as the symbols of the spoken symbols of the mental, but as . . . as what?

Jul 26, 2003

In the Passage between Epochs
"The movements of deconstruction do not destroy structures from the outside. They are not possible and effective, norcan they take accuarte aim, except by inhabiting thse structures.Inhabiting them in a certain way, because one always inhabits, and all the more when one does not suspect it. Operating necessarily from the inside, borrowing all the strategic and economicresources of subversion from the old structure."
          - Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology
The Gifts
The Incarnation.
The Church.
Death.

Jul 23, 2003

Living with Riddles and Icons
“What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.”

As I read Wittgenstein—rushing through his Tractatus—I find my self drawn away from the circus and into the sideshow, that tent where weird things are happening but not things that are that important.

W. wants to talk about the way language is attached to things. In the sideshow, on the way to banishing metaphysical problems from the company of the sensible, W. mentions that we can’t talk about those things we can’t talk about. What we can’t talk about we must ignore and be silent. He wants to rid our world of the riddle and the mystical and those things that’re bigger than language. At the same time, he tacitly nods towards them and doesn’t deny them so much as refuses to talk about them.

I like his statement—“What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.”—but I want to do strange things with my silence. Like Heidegger, I insist that the question dismissed is still asking, is always already asking.

There are questions with answers that are larger than language—the riddles. We have mysteries without solutions, riddles without answers, things beyond words. We can, with a question, make gestures at things we cannot talk about. We are not left to say nothing, but we cannot say it all. God reveals himself in the world and in language, but they do not surround. They only point, and when we say God or describe the Holy Trinity we have not said or define that in which we have faith, we have only gestured at that which is finally always bigger than our words and our descriptions.

We are not condemned to silence, but to icons.

Our words, our logic, our pictures perpetually leave us short, leave us with silence. We can say and always be saying but we can never have said.

To be silent here is not to pass over, but to bow before the mystical that has revealed itself in part, but which we cannot contain. To be silent, here, is to wave ones arms and point madly knowing that it is not the waving and the point that we wave and point at. To be silent is to know limitations and to know the limitations are ours. To be silent, here, is to accept the icon and to use the word “God” knowing it leaves something wanted and knowing it must be used.

Accept the icons as icons.
Accept the riddles as riddles.
Accept the gestures and the verbal dances around those things we cannot say but must be said, around the questions we don’t know how to ask but that are, before us, already asking.
The Best of ‘EAT’
In the Great American Restaurant chain of EAT—scattered across the country on highways announced by the fluorescent “EAT” signs and the clink of greasy spoons—the crown jewel is in Pollard Flat, CA, just south of Mt. Shasta on I-5.

Over a hundred years old, Pollard Flat is between passes named eagle and coyote, on the east side of the interstate above the railroad track that winds along the river. The place was purchased from the railroad, and then improved with a gas pump and a parkinglot. After booming business, the place expanded to two pumps, where it stands today the haven for truckers and firefighters and common travelers riding up and down the Northern California mountains.

The cook at Pollard Flat plays Rock and Roll too loud in the kitchen. You can hear him banging pots over the music and the woman at the register yells at him ever once and a while to turn it down, but the customers mostly enjoy it. The placed serves killer hamburgers in the honest American fashion, with French fries to satisfy the biggest trucker. There’s a dinning room, but the regulars gather at smaller, café-like tables outside the bathroom.

The TV is on, playing The Godfather and Michael is learning to make spaghetti sauce. The TV is always playing The Godfather at Pollard Flat.

One normally doesn’t talk about the bathroom in a restaurant, especially in a greasy spoon EAT restaurant, but Pollard Flat is famous, actually, for the bathroom. For the bathroom and for its resident, Gerty, a manikin in the tub that gives tourists a good start and is a mark to the EAT humor. Gerty has been in the tub for 50 years, and continues to cause and uproar in the line to the bathroom.

Pollard Flat has been serving the road for 100 years and is a shining tribute to the romance of the truck stop and the greasy spoon.
Buddah, defined by dieting.

Jul 22, 2003

Post-Protestant
Sunday, I was confirmed by Bp. Peter Wilkinson at St. John's in Vctoria. This marks the completion of my two-year move out of protestantism and into Anglo-Catholicism.

Jul 19, 2003

The usher faded thru "Camel" smoke
"And as one who under stars
Spits across the sand dunes, and the winds
Blow thru him, the spittle drowning worlds --
I lit a cigarette, and stepped free
Beyond the red light of the exit."
        -- Louis Zukofsky, A-1
"I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive...."
Hunter S. Thompson--the weird-turned-pro gonzo-journalist and author--turns 66 today. Which is weird. After that many years of Gonzo too. Best of luck man, and many more years of over-the-edge journalism.

Jul 16, 2003

Memorabilia:
The hitchhikers we picked up—two teen girls and a puppy—leaving us the cardboard sign saying EUGENE in the back of the truck.

The Lord’s Prayer concluding "the power and the glory and the temptation forever."

A stray thought at too late at night saying "I can’t be a knight but might do a descent rendition of a mad poet-philosopher for her."

The business card for Berkeley bookstore Moe’s, tossed on the dashboard, reflects “WOE” on the windshield as I drive home.

Having Berkeley street names come familiar to me not as street names but as landmarks for my dad’s stories.
"How will I know when I don’t make a mistake?"
This weekend I drove 32 hours, roundtrip, to Oakland California to hear my uncle, language poet Ron Silliman, read from his latest work VOG.

The trip was a surprise to Ron, who was quite surprised. I greatly enjoyed the reading. I’d heard Uncle Ron read his own work on an mp3 before, and heard him read other poetry (Zukofsky, Spicer, Dr. Suess), but this was my first time at one of his readings. I won’t review the reading because my own poetic aesthetic is at this point not yet firmly formed, but here are some of the poet-blogger reviews:

Tympan, with a nice solid report balanced with his own reactions.
Corpsepoetics on her own "Sillimania" in a rambling, but eventually interesting post.
Limetree on the massive blogger turn-out and the buzz.
Well Nourished Moon talks about Ron and humanization.

Since I was driving my truck—a stick—my sister couldn’t drive and I pulled the whole thing, sleeping 9 hours in three days of driving, with the help of a lot of caffeine, tobacco and music. This is the latest in a life of he was insane and it was cool events, so if you are telling me that this was crazy you are missing the point.

Jul 12, 2003

Going crazy for the weekend, will be back on Monday...

Jul 11, 2003

"Hwanon ferigead ge faette scyldas, graege syrcan ond grimhelmas, heresceafta heap?
"Whence, now, bear ye burnished shields, harness gray and helmets grim, spears in multitude?

An interesting article on post-Tolkien Beowulf criticism and the artistic unity of the Old English epic.

"[Beowulf] is essentially a balance, an opposition of ends and beginnings. In its simplest terms it is a contrasted description between two moments in a great life, rising and setting; an elaboration of the ancient and intensely moving contrast between youth and age, first achievement and final death. "
Translating Theotokos
Some initial reaction to the traditional honoring of Mary is in a misunderstanding of a misinterpretation of a Greek word: theotokos.

When, in the 3rd ecumenical council, the church decreed that it is good to call Mary the Mother of God, opposing the Nestorian heresy that denied the incarnation, the word we translate as "Mother of God" was theotokos.

While the Christians objecting to Mary's motherhood don't intend to object to the incarnation, they object that God, being eternal, cannot have a mother.

This objection is certainly orthodox, since the creeds stoutly deny that the Son had a beginning, and was not even made by the Father. But this objection is a mistranslation of "theotokos." Translated "mother," a more direct and accurate translation is "bearer."

Thus Mary is the bearer of God, according to the historic church, and we lose the English nuances troubling the beginningless nature of eternal Divinity, leaving us with only the doctrine of the incarnation.

Jul 9, 2003

Three Strange Things that Read like Omens
Part of an ongoing series of a weird legend...

1. Sleeping in a barn on top of baled hay, I was awakened by an owl returning to his nest in the rafters with a mouse. Sitting up, I startled the owl. He dropped the mouse, changing course abruptly and lost a single wing feather, which floated down to my sleeping bag.

2. Returning from a trip, I found a black bird eating a black squirrel on my doorstep.

3. The day after I was turned down by a girl I liked, the day after I won a bare-knuckle fight, and the week after I beat a group of people who had worked for a semester to destroy me, I picked a pink primrose to smell and, twirling it, watched the flower completely collapse in upon itself.
A Faithful Priest
Metropolitan Bishop of the Anglican Catholic Church Alfred Woolcock died on July 1 at the age of 94, after suffering a heart attack on Trinity Sunday (June 22).

Woolcock, the bishop who ordained my priest, Fr. George Brown, was a priest for 70 years when he died. As the second diocesan bishop of the ACCC, Woolcock was essential to continuing Anglicanism in Canada and Australia, always working to maintain the orthodox faith. Woolcock retired twice, each time slipping out of his retirement to go to work where he was needed.

Woolcock was awarded the the Canadian Defence medal, the Gold Cross of Merit with Swords from Poland, the Medal of Military Merit of Greece, Britain's king's badge for Loyal Service as well as a divinity doctorate. In five years as a WWII chaplain in Africa, Italy, Greece, the Middle East and Yugoslavia, Woolcock is said to have buried more than 400 soldiers. He wrote a personal letter to the family of each of the dead.

At the age of 94, he remained a regular celebrant of Euchrist.

His son, also a priest, blessed him on his deathbed with the sign of the cross. Woolcock returned the blessing, feebly forming the sign of the cross that had marked his life.

May this faithful servant of Christ rest in peace, and rise in glory.

Jul 6, 2003

Tickling a corner of my mind
“Lugwig Wittgenstein” reminds me of a song I’ve forgotten. Something I heard once, maybe.

Though I’m pretty sure I didn’t.
There are two kinds of men…
My second watching of Man on the Train only bolstered my already solid feeling that this will be the best film of the year. This French film is subtle, simple and deft, telling a story of two men who each envy the life of the other. man

Jean Rochfort plays a retired poetry teacher fascinated with cowboys and adventure films. Johnny Hallyday plays a tired thief with a growing longing for slippers, poetry and pipes. The acting is superb as the two men work with the undertones of their characters and their quietly growing friendship. The two actors work off each other and together with a finesse, a simply delicacy, that is perfect.

This film is a song to authenticity and attempted authenticity with a subplot of failure. This is a story about little fantasies and the danger of change. It’s about tiring of the pose one chose with adulthood. It’s a quiet story about two kinds of men, who are the same.

This film is lovely, with each scene feeding back into the theme, with symbolism that doesn’t shout with gaudiness and with the gentle humor of real people.
In the Bibliophile File
Other things to consider in buying book, and enjoy in reading it:
1) Smell
2) Color
3) Shape
4) Weight
5) Binding
6) Texture
7) Margins