Monday, September 28, 2009

Another Zen Moment

Watching TV, an episode of House, we had to turn on the closed captioning to understand what a deaf character was saying.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Yale University Library Digital Archives

Here are some Gurdjieff-related pictures in an archive at the Yale University Library, in their amazing digital collection:
Raw links to selected items of interest:
Oh, and one more document you might like to see, just for fun.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Health Care Reform

We need a total reorganization of the way people pay for health care services in our country. I mean, we need to come together to find a way to get the millions of uninsured & underinsured people the security they need. But it's dangerous ground. We've all seen it time and time again. People get together to help one another—all pitch in to clean up after a hurricane—and the first thing that happens, over and over, right out of the box—they start killing each others' grandparents. Just like clockwork.

These are just a few of the 74! abbreviations listed in a glossary on a discussion forum site:

  • FFS for f**k's sake
  • FWIW for what it's worth
  • FYI for your information
  • HTH hope this helps
  • IIRC if I remember correctly
  • IKWYM I know what you mean
  • IME in my experience
  • IMHO in my humble opinion
  • IMO in my opinion
  • IYKWIM if you know what I mean
  • IYSWIM if you see what I mean
  • LMP last menstrual period
  • LOL laugh out loud
( . . . . for the sake of full disclosure, the discussion forum is for parents and people trying to become parents—still, that second-to-last item took me a little by surprise.)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Gosh I really do love Asian English

Say, if you want to know whether this particular software will meet your needs, you need only visit the publisher's website:

1: C/DVD Mate Deluxe support microsoft Windows x86 32bit Edition(9X/ME/2K/XP/2003) and microsoft Windows x64 64bit Edition(XP/2003).
2. The edition on probation that the trial edition is downloaded for the network, if you have not installed a software yet and please click this button to install.
3. Try out if edition is it after the Install editions of serial number , become the formal edition at once to input.
4. The upgraded edition, for already installing to the user in the workshop of the laser disc worker and upgrading the edition to use.

UPDATE (a while later):

Whoaon second thought I'm not really happy with the idea of loading something called "Intel(R) Integrated Performance Primitives"—two versions—before installing "The edition on probation".
(The link goes here:—rather than, oh, say, a site at Intel? Does not inspire confidence.)

Please depend on one file in year of the following steps , and install Procedure .
Step 1: Microsoft DirectX 33MB 9.0c
Step 2: Microsoft Windows Media Format 4MB 9.0
Step 3: Intel(R) Integrated Performance Primitives RTI 1.1 12MB 1.0
Step 4: Intel(R) Integrated Performance Primitives RTI 4.0 26MB 4.0
Step 5: C/DVD Mate Deluxe installation procedure 30MB
Remarks :
1: C/DVD Mate Deluxe support microsoft Windows x86 32bit Edition(9X/ME/2K/XP/2003) and microsoft Windows x64 64bit Edition(XP/2003).
2:: If your computer has all already been installed Microsoft DirectX /Microsoft Windows Media Format/ Intel IPP Can download C/DVD Mate main program of the step four directly .
3: Remind: The file is downloaded can utilize and spread software download automatically continuously . ( FlashGet )

UPDATE No. 2 (Later in the evening):

Oh my god it's a real live actual thing, and that is the actual name of it. As my dear old Mom used to say, "Well shit the bed, honey!"

I guess it isn't always a bad idea to look into something before making fun of it.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My paper for class

Wow. This is the first time I've written anything for a class since 1980. Where does the time go?
The class is called The Problem of Evil in World Religions, and the assigned topic was "Why did Job suffer?" The professor is a Roman Catholic Priest, a physician specializing in medical ethics at the V.A., and an out lesbian. I thought the Episcopalians had the market on openly lesbian priests pretty well cornered, but I've learned a thing or two in this class that were not in the syllabus. Pretty cool.

Why did Job suffer? 

Within the literal confines of the story, a radically anthropomorphized character of God chose to accept the challenge of “Satan,” to find out whether Job’s faith was purely a response to the extraordinary blessings he had received, or if he loved God for his own sake. Throughout the Psalms and the Wisdom Literature there is an assumption that being good and upright will bring rewards, but The Book of Job turns the tables by depicting a person who was afflicted in a sense because of his blessings.

I know there are people who take the literal existence of God and Satan in the story seriously, in varying degrees. I must assume however that the writer was depicting processes that might occur in a God-free world as well as a Godly one. Were a person like me to go through the trials of Job today, they might be apt to understand it from a purely fatalistic point of view in which the good stuff, the bad stuff, and the subsequent good are totally the result of blind happenstance, or at best, personal courage. In the story, however, as much as his suffering, (by putting him on Satan’s radar), results from his innate goodness and the great good fortune it brought him, his redemption results from his ability to endure his suffering with integrity; the chain of causality can’t be dismissed as easily as the literality of the supernatural beings in the story, so it can’t be chalked up purely to “Bad Luck.”

Someone with my world view would have to ask if such a process is sufficiently universal and fundamental to the human experience to warrant its having become an icon as deeply rooted in our culture as it has. Even from a purely secular viewpoint, I think it is. It is not uncommon to experience far-reaching, catastrophic hardship after a life of relative ease. And I can imagine scenarios in which “good people” might experience catastrophes resulting from the very things generally looked upon as “blessings”. Many people persevere and emerge from these with a deeper appreciation for what they have. Others go down to ruin. The key difference from Job’s point of view is whether or not they can meet the difficult times with a deep strength of character, hold on to their values, and continue to do what they believe is right, regardless of circumstances. To a person sympathetic to Buddhist ideas, this kind of steadfastness could be a manifestation of “detachment,” and the rewards it brings, emblematic of a spiritual transcendence over suffering that it is possible through discipline to achieve. It is commonly assumed by people of many faiths and viewpoints that suffering, one way or another, can produce benefits in the way of inner strength. No pain, no gain.

So how does Job answer the Problem of Evil? Unfortunately the only answer I see on its face is that God “Is Who He Is,” and the human proclivity to question the rightness of whatever He dishes out in the way of suffering is misplaced. Religious believers I have known—e.g., nuns I studied with in college, hospital chaplains who have tended to relatives with cancer—often end up taking out the big rubber stamp that says “Mystery” whenever religious axioms as fundamental as the infinite love and goodness of God come up against stark reality, and I fear that this is all the author of Job intends to do. In skimming some of my old materials on Job in preparation for this exercise, I spotted multiple references to the problem of God's involvement in suffering being “beyond the scope of human understanding” (or any such formulation). Regardless of the side benefits to one’s character of going through something as extreme as cancer, I take that as a cop out. It is not sufficient to say that God surely must have a greater plan, which he keeps hidden from us. It can be resolved, but one's ideas of the nature of God—the very existence of any God in a form we might recognize—must be modified to do so.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Web 2.0 is Grand!

I'm always on the lookout for good music sites, and I came across this really excellent thing called "Huevos," at, written by a really smart and funny 17-year-old from Louisville KY. Bouncing around her various inter-linked sites, I was really impressed, and left her a couple of notes to tell her so. So she wrote back, something like, "Who the fuck are you? Fuck you. Get the fuck out of here."

So on the one hand you have this person who is obviously pretty vain about her work, publishing it all over every conceivable Web 2.0 venue, declaring that she "lives and bleeds" for her blog, and then gets pissed off when someone -- I don't know, I guess someone not in her personal clique at school -- signs up as a fan.

Maybe it's just the creepy old guy thing. But isn't the point of publishing -- especially artistic, nearly professional-quality material everywhere you can think to post it -- to attract readers?  Is it all about Gen-Zero?

I'm taking a class at UNM on "The Problem of Evil in World Religions," and I scoff whenever I read one of those God Damned Catholic theologians who says, "It's all just beyond the scope of human understanding. It's a Mystery." Unraveling the most difficult philosophical problems in the history of the world is easy. To fathom teenagers and the web is a wholly different scale of problem altogether.