Scientific American Blog Relocated

April 24th, 2014

My Scientific American Blog is now here–with a complete table of contents.

AHOY!  I finally got Entry 18 done.  It is now here.    Comments Welcome! Please let me know of any typos or gross factual errors. Warning: it’s me at my abstrusest worst–for over 8,000 words.

Later note: From time to time, I will be revising Entry 18.  I hope eventually to correct all the many mistakes in the version first posted.

Scientific American Blog Relocated

April 23rd, 2014

My Scientific American Blog is now here–with a complete table of contents.  (Apologies for spam ad which I can’t do anything about: removing it just causes a different word to become the spam ad.  Ignore it.)

AHOY!  I finally got Entry 18 done.  It is now here.    Comments Welcome! Please let me know of any typos or gross factual errors. Warning: it’s me at my abstrusest worst–for over 8,000 words.

Later note: From time to time, I will be revising Entry 18.  I hope eventually to correct all the many mistakes in the version first posted.

Entry 1432 — Still Here

April 23rd, 2014

Okay, “all” my blog breakdown was, was another goddamned updating.  I would love to have an un-updatable computer.  I haven’t had a word-processor better than the one I was using twenty years ago.  I suppose some of the other kinds of programs I have are better now.  I do believe advances are possible, but I would prefer to have the same program for five or ten years, then switch to an extremely advanced new one.   I’m the type that adjusts to what he has and doesn’t like to have to re-adjust.  What he has physically.  I’m forever adjusting my art and thoughts.

Or maybe it’s that I want the things in my life I consider trivial to stay the same.  Or maybe I want to be the only one changing things in my life.  Either directly the way I change things in what I compose, or indirectly as when I choose to buy something new.  One thing I’m absolutely sure of is that the world is changing much too fast for me.  That, I believe, is due to over-population.  Too many people mean more ideas, for instance, than anyone can keep up with.  I’m in the minority in wanting to keep up with them.  Most people just wall themselves off from everything they can’t keep up with–as best they can.  Even I have to do that to an extent, and would probably be better off if I could do it better, but . . .

It looks like this blog will keep going pretty much the way it has.  But one thing I am going to try very hard to do is concentrate on major projects.  That means turning down most requests for reviews or poems.  I’m going to see if I can reduce my participation in silly Internet discussions.  I’ll try to keep up with my email, though.


Entry 1431X — My Final Blog Entry?

April 22nd, 2014

This website right now won’t let me do various things I want to–like make today’s entry public.  This isn’t it, but a test to see if I can at least post entries.  I’ve been having all kinds of trouble on the Internet lately.  Spam has taken over my interaction with it.  I can’t afford to have it taken care of.

So a few minutes ago I had a New Thought: maybe I should give up the Internet?  Continue my two blogs but combine them under some new name, then print copies of it once or twice a year and sell them.  A magazine!  To subscribers only.  If no one signs up, so be it.  I’ll still come out ahead.

* * *
Damn, I think the Internet has me: I pay bills through it, for instance.  Still, I will give the idea thought.
Hmm, I just found out I can’t add graphics to my entries, anymore.
OKAY!!!  I switched from Internet Explorer to Chrome and was then able, as you will see below, to make my entry for today public.  I still think I’d be better off permanently off-line but am not sure it would be possible.  If I had any money at all, I’d get my computer guy to get me through all I’d have to do.  If I had time, I’d figure it out myself an do it.  I haven’t time.  As usual, I’ll try to make the best of the hand I’ve been dealt.  Maybe just convert to a hard-copy blog. . . .


Entry 1431 — A Visit With Seth

April 22nd, 2014

Here’s something I posted yesterday to New-Poetry:

I just wrote a comment on Seth’s latest and it was immediately deleted!  Is it Seth or the magazine or what?  Here’s what I wrote: “Seth . . .”  Oops, I can’t quote myself because my cut and paste of what I wrote for some reason didn’t take.  Basically, I said that the data collected was only from mainstream magazines that  knew very little about contemporary American poetry.  One set consisted only of Poetry, Boston Review, Kenyon Review Online, Rain Taxi, Bookslut, Coldfront, On the Seawall, The New York Times Sunday Book Review, The Huffington Post, and Publishers Weekly.  Their review of poetry collections indicated more such collections by women were reviewed in them.  I suggested Seth refute my contention that such publications ignore visual poetry and other forms of otherstream poetry by citing a serious article in any of them on visual poetry.  Then I commented on the excellent female otherstream poets I had written serious articles on in publications none of the people running the studies were aware of.  I said these poets were having no more success getting recognition than male otherstream poets like me.

Actually, Bookslut, which I’ve heard of but don’t know much about, and On the Seawall, which I’d never heard of before, may have published a serious article on visual poetry, but I suspect not.  The others almost certainly have not.  Gender ratio is an incredibly trivial matter that I shouldn’t care about, the ratio of poetry that does something interesting to poetry that doesn’t is vastly more important, and that is my main subject most of the time.  When writing about poetry–which I should be doing a lot more here.

Entry 1430 — Trying to Define “Religion”

April 21st, 2014

It’s past eight in the evening.  Usually I’ve posted my blog entry for the day before now.  But I spent 9 A.M. until 6 P.M. helping a friend move.  Very tiring but we got the job done–just me and his son, my friend, 81, having taken a spill in a tennis game a few days ago that hurt his back and hands, so was unable to help much.  (He was my partner when he fell, by the way–but I had nothing to do with it.)

I thought I’d just post what I’d spent my day doing, and use it as an excuse not to say anything more.  But something I read while having dinner about religious freedom got me thinking enough to scribble a few of my thoughts here.  I have trouble with the first amendment because I don’t know what religion is.  I consider Roger Williams the true founder of America because he established an at least approximate right not to be punished for having religious beliefs the government opposes.  Actually, although I keep wanting to read up on Roger, I never have, so I’m not sure how far he went.  I’m pretty sure he went farther than anyone else had.

Of course, I don’t care much about freedom of religious thought because I am a fanatic who believes in freedom of thought, period.  One should have the right to think anything one wants to, and express any belief in speech or print that one wants to.  So we shouldn’t be arguing about only one kind of freedom of belief.

I also believe that one should be allowed to do anything one wants to in the privacy of one’s own home . . . or church–so long as no physical harm of any significance comes to an innocent person against his will.  So if your church believes in a yearly ceremony in which a member of the church chosen by lot is beheaded, and does not protest being sacrificed, I think it should be allowed to have the ceremony as long as it wants it.  But so should a bunch of atheistic thrill-seekers who agree to play Russian Roulette, without having to call it a church service.

In short, my not knowing what religion is, is irrelevant.  But the question of what it is, is interesting.  Maybe I do know what it is: a system of belief in a doctrine covering a significant portion of life that is taken to be true by a group of people (i.e., more than three or four wacks) although premised on the notion that reason and material evidence can be ignored so far as some of the doctrine is concerned.  Science is therefore not a religion.

I contend that at the root of religious intolerance is an innate intolerance of those who fail to conform to some groups idea of proper behavior.  That, of course, is at the root of all intolerance of certain kinds of human behavior.  Simplistic but I can’t find anything wrong with it.  My theory of character types goes deeper: it shows the underlying mental defects that prevent people developing understandings effectively enough to tolerate almost any human behavior except that which is clearly harmful to others who have done no harm to anyone.

Hey, some good serious thinking here . . . for a fifteen-year-old.     But I’m afraid it’s what I think.

Entry 1429 — Quotation from Bomb Magazine

April 20th, 2014

I just wrote a review of the latest issue of Bomb, where installationist Vincent Fecteau is quoted as saying, “I’ve often fantasized about making a form that would be so incomprehensible that it couldn’t actually be seen.”  I like this comment, although I would prefer using words to describe a form that would be so comprehensible the form could actually be seen.

A while ago when I was lying in bed with my cat Shirley on my chest I thought for about the millionth time how near-perfect in appearance she was.  It seems to me that at least eighty percent of healthy cats are beautiful.  It’s the opposite with human beings.  Were cats perfected before human beings had evolved?  Or once they adopted human beings and natural selection quickly gave them a size, disposition, appearance and purr that made them irresistible to the majority of human beings, and certainly the best human beings!

Human beings mutated too many ways to be perfectable, each getting a virtue or two and twenty flaws to keep them from being superior to anyone else of their kind, Mother Nature being an extreme communist, at least with regard to human beings.


Entry 1428 —

April 19th, 2014

In spite of what the stars say, I’ve been having lousy luck lately.  I think my computer is infected, for one thing.  All kinds of stupid things are happening when I’m on the Internet, like a script I can’t stop that makes me unable to use my Comcast site.  This isn’t major since I only use it to send and get emails from a few people I can’t get email to or from using my regular email address.  Still. . . .

* * *

I just found out I have a gmail account I didn’t know about.  It seems to work, too.  I hope to be able to use it to email those few friends I have not been able to lately except from my now-nonfunctioning Comcast site.  I should call Comcast, but dealing with techs over the phone is almost always tough.

* * *

I still haven’t revised all my SPR reviews and sent them in.  So my life isn’t quite at a standstill.  Another  thing I’m getting done still is my daily, Poempoemdraft.  None yet for today, though, and the one yesterday was just, “poem, alone on a page.”  The day before all I did was put three sentences in brackets into a previous Poempoemdraft indicating Poem had gone back in time to it.  He sees himself.  Yes, really stupid, but it was all I was able to do.

Having said that, I went to my diary entry and saw that Poem had not seen himself when he’d gone back in time, for the poem he returned to made no mention of him.  So I found a poem he was in and bracketed him into it.  A lot happened after that.

* * *

Note: My latest issue of Scientific American just arrived.  Two copies of it, for some reason.  The cover Asks in very large letters, “A CRISIS IN PHYSICS?”  Apparently, supersymmetry is in trouble so a new theory of physics may be needed.  Guess it’s time for me to step it.  So if I mess a few entries for awhile, I may well be because I started

Later note: my lousy luck for the day continued till 21 April when I discovered I’d failed to post this entry.


Entry 1427 — More On Philistines

April 18th, 2014

“Writing is not an exercise in excision, it’s a journey into sound.  How about ‘Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow’?  One tomorrow would suffices, but it’s the other two that have the thing immortal.”– so said E.B.White, a Philistine, but among the very best of them (and many are superior, even sometimes major, writers, albeit not White was only a good minor one), as quoted by David Yezzi, the subminor Philistine poet/critic who edits the (excellent) Philistine culture magazine, The New Criterion–which is excellent because Philistines aren’t incapable of appreciating superior art, just incapable of appreciating living superior art.   Yezzi is using White’s words to support his belief in a standard Philistine belief about poetry, to wit: that its central attribute is sound.

To each his own about what a poem’s most important constituent is, but to me sound—as sound—is only decorative, although as accompaniment, it can do wonderful things.  And it can rise above decorativeness as in onomatopoeia, but it has to become conceptual to do that—that is, “murmuring” suggests the sounds of Longfellow’s hemlocks (if I have the right poet) only if what “hemlocks” are is known (as it can only be if the word adds denotation to its accomp-lishments—as an occupant of a poem’s expressiplex instead of only its prelimiplex).1

White is wrong: Shakespeare’s repetition of “tomorrow” is poetically brilliant not for its sound but for its denotation (albeit helped by its sound, “tomorrow” being by chance nicely semi-onomatopoetic for its context—as a thickly-moving set of syllables).  It conceptually acts as a juxtaphor (implicit metaphor) for existence as a series of horribly monotonous, emptyinesses.  We need its sound to find its semantic meaning; we need its semantic meaning, which is asensual, to find its metaphorical meaning, which produces its final poetic effect as an image one experiences sensually, emotionally and philosophically as existence’s deadeningly repetitious ongoingness—with its sound emphasizing it but its semantic meaning producing it.

Then there is performed sound—what someone presenting the poem orally can add to it.  The additions, though, depend again on what the sounds denote, so bring us back to the unarguable fact that what is most important in a poem is what it is conceptually, not its music.

That Philistines like Yezzi rate poetry’s sound higher than I do doesn’t bother me; what bothers me is that their esteem for it prevents them from appreciating any poetry in which sound is clearly of little importance—like free verse, but—much more important—language poetry and plurexpressive poetry like visual poetry.  Indeed, it makes many of them reject such art as poetry.  I feel they need to rethink  as a symbolic art rather than an auditory art.  That way they’ll be able much more to find their way into metaphoricality, and from that into how the nonverbal poetic devices of language poetry and plurex-pressive poetry attain that in ways sounds never can.  Or go from primitive (but valuable) appreciation of poetry to higher appreciations.

No chance.  You need the right genes to do that.  Those that have them have to find poetry that is more than musical texts, those that don’t have to avoid it, and find ways to keep it out of the mainstream.  But they’ve let free verse in, so eventually they will be helpless to keep the mainstream continuum from being the complete continuum of poetry.  Maybe even less than fifty years from now.

1 See Entry 18 of my math poetry blog.  The link to it is near the top of my “Pages.”


Entry 1426 — An Important Date in My Life?

April 17th, 2014

Yesterday I finished the last of the eleven 250-word reviews I had to do.  I had already done my next two columns for SPR.  Two other things I had deadlines for I had finished more than a month ago.  Ergo, I can now spend the summer working on anything I want to.  It’s the first time I’ve felt so free in two years or more.  There was always the Scientific American blog, and I seemed to be making commitments I shouldn’t have.

I have to methodically choose my next project.  I think it should be a Major Statement on Cerebreffectiveness.  I’ll call it something like “Notes on Full Intelligence As Opposed to IQ Intelligence.”  Make that “Genuine Intelligence Versus IQ Intelligence.”  Snappy, hey?  I really want to write it, intelligence having been a central interest of mine ever since I was told as a boy that I had it.  I’m sure I have important things to say about it.  Re-say about it–at greater length.  Bringing in others who have written on the subject like that oaf Charles Murray.  I call him an oaf because I wrote him and never got a reply.  If he were not an oaf, he would have recognized me from my letter as someone he ought to be in touch with if he has a serious interest in a topic he has a book out about.

In any case, while I definitely want to write it because I want to write it, I also think it may be commercial, either as a book, if my thoughts are book-length, or as an essay that some visible publication of some sort would publish and either pay for or certify me sufficiently to give me a chance at remunerative publication elsewhere.  I always have this fantasy.  One of my ideas for a book is a list of all the failed money-making ideas I’ve had in my life, with commentary.

Gotta go now.  I’m into what I hope is tomorrow’s blog entry.  It’s another discussion of Philistines.

Note: whenever I feel I’ve reach some pivotal point in my life, I check my horoscope.  As I’ve said before, I absolutely do not believe in any superstitions, but I’m superstitious.  It’s like this, I know there’s no such thing as a lucky charm or lucky day, BUT . . . at certain times, I try to locate one in my life, most often by playing Yahtzee with the understanding that if I win it, my day will be lucky.  Of course, winning, which I sometimes do–I figure I have about a one in twenty chance at 300 points, which is my definition of winning (usually)–never has any effect on my day BUT . . . it makes me feel lucky for a little while!  (Note: if I ever get 500 or more points in a Yahtzee game, it means I’ll get a billion dollars in the mail or something else comparable will happen to me.  I once came within a yahtzee of doing that.)

Simple explanation: my rational self is in charge but lets my simpleton self feel good once in a while.  I would never invest my house in some get-rich-quick scheme because every planet in my horoscope is trine or sextile to my natal sun, for instance–but I might dare to send a submission to Prentice-Hall because of that.   Trines, sextiles and conjunctions are favorable aspects (although astrologers can interpret anything to be favorable–like an opposition, the worst aspect, as a wonderful challenge).

Today, in case you’re wondering what my chart says, I have transitting Mars (Mars where it is today) trine to my natal sun (my sun where it was the day I was born), the transitting sun sextile to my natal sun, and my ruling planet, Uranus, almost exactly conjunct to the transitting sun.  But transitting Mars is opposed to the transitting sun and Mars.  That explains why my tennis game was so bad this morning I quite after only two sets.

The other planets are in neither good nor bad aspects with my natal sun, so it is an astrologically good day for me!  And my luck should hold for a week.   Nothing to show for it yet but this entry, and its past four o’clock, but–hey–this is a great entry!  And someone will send Charles Murray to it, whereupon he’ll recognize me as worth contacting, and co-author a book on intelligence with me, that will finally take care of my debts, and make me financially independent for the rest of my life.