Monumental Question

2011.09.11

“Do you honor the hole, or refill it with something?” (This may also apply to more than just the WTC memorial. Me, I vote for honoring the hole.)

Then

2011.09.11

EVEN AFTER TEN YEARS, THE memories and pain are still fresh when I think of them. I don’t think of them often.

My habit in those days was to check the Ha’aretz news ticker with my morning coffee. “Hmm… soccer teams doing well, banks not so much, road accidents, airplane flies into World Trade Center. Wait. What?” Read more »

Where Do The Ideas Come From?

2011.09.09

LET’S MAKE THIS AN EXPLORATION of the landscapes of creativity — how does the creative experience feel to you?

Mentally, I’m all about visualization: perhaps it’s synesthesia, but even smells and sounds have a visual component for me. So I’ve always seen “the creative process” as starting with a curtain across half the universe. Every now and then, the curtain parts just enough to reveal an Idea.

It could be a series of images, even images of words. Now and then it’s a sound. But even the most abstract Idea carries a visual impression of girders and joists, ropes and scrim. Sometimes an Idea will be revealed a piece at a time, with a whole clicking into place almost audibly and palpably. If it’s long, like a story, it feels like a rope uncoiling from the other side of the curtain — a line which must not be allowed to grow slack.

Sometimes an Idea links up with something inside the rest of the universe. Other times it just sits there, gleaming, faintly pulsing, daring me to capture it in words on a screen or a sketch in a notebook. (If I don’t, it can fade within minutes.)

So let’s make this an exploration of the sense-scapes of creativity. How does the creative experience feel to you?

I Am In Love With Edna St. Vincent Millay

2011.09.08

EVIDENTLY, SHE WROTE A POEM in 1928 called “Dirge With Music.” I have not yet read any of her other works, but I hope they’re like this one. The last stanza says it all:

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

(Thanks to Rabbi David Wolpe for the quotation.)

First Graf: Zen and the Art of the Internet

2011.09.08

THE FIRST BOOK I EVER read about the Internet, in 1994, still gives me a wave of nostalgic novelty when I turn its pages now. The ‘Net was new in the public mind and not well understood back then, which is why books like 1992′s ZATAOTI were popular: it’s a beginner’s guide to all things then-Internet, from email to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

These days, you just Google to find anything. But before Google (and before the World Wide Web) were Usenet and FTP, telnet and Gopher. You sort of had to know your way around in order to find anything. ZATAOTI’s 95 pages helped make the learning curve less steep for millions of people by helping them to think clearly and concisely about this strange new technology.

The composition of this booklet was originally started because the Computer Science department at Widener University was in desperate need of documentation describing the capabilities of this “great new Internet link” we obtained.

It’s since grown into an effort to acquaint the reader with much of what’s currently available over the Internet. Aimed at the novice user, it attempts to remain operating system “neutral”—-little information herein is specific to Unix, VMS, or any other environment. This booklet will, hopefully, be usable by nearly anyone.

Wistful Vista

2011.09.07

DESPITE ITS HELIOSHEATH-BREAKING ACCOMPLISHMENTS, or perhaps because of them, I can’t help but regret, just a little, that there’s no “NCC-1701” decal on Voyager 1.

But at least there’s Beethoven. That almost makes up for it.

Almost.

Pithyism #16

2011.09.06

THE WORLD LOOKS A LITTLE more friendly with something fragrant bubbling on the stove.

The Aim Of All TRUE Religion

2011.09.05

PROLONGING THE GOD EXPERIENCE INTO every waking moment. (All else — songs, prayers, chants, acts, texts, charity, incense, beads, building fund — is just stage direction. Which is not to dismiss the stage direction, since that’s one of the keys to the Experience. But the key isn’t the lock, and what you really want anyway is to open.)

Our Labor Day Message

2011.09.05

Fig. 1.

“WORKERS OF THE WORLD, RELAX.”

(And for everyone else: who made your stuff? Who brought or sold it to you? Are you grateful? Then thank a worker. They seem to be an endangered species.)

Big Room, Little Box

2011.09.05

SO NASA HAS JUST RELEASED a nifty web application that lets you whiz about the solar system in real time and swoop in next to planets and satellites and space probes to see what they’re doing (or at least what the programmers know that the scientists know that they’re doing). It’s called, appropriately, “Eyes On The Solar System” and if you don’t click on http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/eyes/ RIGHT NOW and try it boy will YOU be sorry. (Between this, Google Earth and Minecraft, the inner and outer worlds should mesh any day now.)

“THIS MAY OR MAY NOT be a good time to start things, but it’s a great time to continue ‘em.”

Read more »

Saturday Night Owls, Sunday Morning Penguins

2011.09.04

EVEN IF THERE’S LITTLE TO read — sometimes, especially if there’s little to read — nothing beats sharing an early morning newspaper with someone you love.

Recent Tales

…And We’re Back

IT FEELS GOOD to write again. It has been just over six years since I last added to this blog (which once boasted a...

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Prosatio Silban and the Starving Survivor

A BUOPOTH IS A STRANGE beast: some say it is half-composed of men’s dreams, others prefer not to speculate. But of the little that...

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Prosatio Silban and the Visitor From The Sands

PROSATIO SILBAN WAS NOT KNOWN for nothing as “The Cook For Any Price.” He had long ago foresworn the Sacreanthood and serving people’s souls...

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The Poet

HE COULDN’T TELL WHETHER HE loved beauty or women more until the day he called his mom and said “Guess what? I’m marrying a...

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Storyteller’s Knot

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF any story is the point at which it’s attached to the reader.

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