Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Franklin on: Let's Forget about Tomorrow!

Benjamin Franklin wrote words that he didn't always follow:
"To-morrow, every fault is to be amended;
but that To-morrow never comes, thank God,
for there'd be no end to amending."
Actually, that is not all from the hand of Mr. Franklin,
for I added my bit, a couple of copper coins
that I also call "my two cents."


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Benjamin the Orator

Benjamin Franklin once orated:
"Fear to do ill, and you need fear naught else."
Okay, yeah, but there's always danger . . .

and let's not forget the 'naughty' else,

which might not rise to the status of ill,

but which might ought be avoided, anyway.


Monday, June 18, 2018

Not Doggerel, but Caterwaul!

He beat me to it . . .

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

In Part, I am 'Write'

I meant partly, for Benjamin Franklin almost wrote:
Be neither silly, nor cunning, but wise, in the use of the comma, economize!
(And shun to exclamationize!)


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Franklin's Name Belied His Aim

An Edge Over You

Sitting under a tall tree pine, Benjamin Franklin did once opine:
"Necessity never made a good bargain."
(Except for with the other guy, of course.)

And forget not young man Newton, too, who made the universe anew!

He felled the apple what caused the fall and re-fused heaven and earth for all!


Friday, June 15, 2018

Shedding a Coat

Even Franklin
 had his
Bad Hair Days

Benjamin Franklin wrote the following "speciesist" remark:
The Wolf sheds his Coat once a Year, his Disposition never.
Which is good, albeit speciesist, because a 'disposition' would be damned hard to clean up!


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Franklinish Irony

"He's a Fool that cannot conceal his Wisdom."

Said the man who grew rich selling this very same sort of folksy wisdom compiled in Poor Richard's Almanack, which he published annually from 1732 to 1757, a quarter of a century, all told.


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Undecidable Country?

The Neitherlands: Neither above sea nor below water.


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Franklin was very smart!

Lucky Franklin

He even wrote his own autobiography!


Monday, June 11, 2018

Franklinly Speaking . . .

Having been poor is no shame, but having been twice poor likely is!


Sunday, June 10, 2018

Benjamin Franklin spreads the word

Franklin: Do not do what you would not have known.

Fool: I would not have known had you not told me, but could you give an example?


Saturday, June 09, 2018

I see, said the blind man . . .

Well-Digger Done
Cross Eyes
Double Image

"Well done is better than well said," said the welldigger well, his work well done.


Friday, June 08, 2018

The Wisest American?

Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise enough to ignore this bit of clever nonsense.


Thursday, June 07, 2018

Aspiration, Aspersion, Asp

Here's the main rebel angel, but he seems also meant for more than mere rebellion, given his grand title "Lucifer," the Light-Bearer:
(Isaiah 14:12) How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! (13) For thou hast said in thine heart, "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: (14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High."
The asp aspires higher than mere serpent or mere snake, and moreover, the asp is venomous. Henceforth is that old serpent, Satan, to be called by us an asp as well as the more familiar "Satan," which means, "The Adversary," and is thus another aspersion cast upon him! Consider these lines from Milton's Paradise Lost 4.835-837:
Think not, revolted spirit, thy shape the same,
Or undiminished brightness, to be known
As when thou stood'st in heaven upright and pure.
Such is his transformed aspect (though the word is not used), from the Latin term "aspicere," meaning "to look at."

None of these speculations is scholarly, merely pre-scholarly rambling . . .


Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Some dogmas . . .

. . . are beyond catastrophic.


Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Lighthouse Cliché

There's a venerable old prosaicism what says a platitude's nothing more than a flat attitude with a shibbolethic bromide as its lighthouse cliché.


Monday, June 04, 2018

He who laughs last . . .

. . . didn't get the joke.


Sunday, June 03, 2018

Wisdom Gained from Pain?

Roses Riotously Flung
Fling them all if fling ye must, but go on them not bare of foot.

(Sigh, Nada.)


Saturday, June 02, 2018

A Dyslexic Reading of Isaiah 2:4:

The Letter T

"[He] hammers words into plowshares."

(He has to spell it out for us?)


Friday, June 01, 2018

Only if God's a monster . . .

. . . will we get our just deserts.

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Once Upon a Time . . .

. . . there was a father who insisted on discipline, which he applied with a belt that obediently slipped with ease from the loops of his jeans and folded over on itself one fold for even greater ease in handling, and when he was concentrated on instilling discipline through the belt that he liberally applied, he did not appreciate his word being "sputed."

One day, the wash that had been hung out in the basement to dry was discovered to be still wet and lying upon the very dry and dusty basement earth and therefore even dirtier than before its washing.

The father glanced at the fallen clothesline and the dirtied sheets, then turned to his older son and asked: "Did you knock down the wash?"

The little boy of about five years replied: "No."

The father turned his fierce attention onto his younger son and asked:  "Did you knock down the wash?"

The little boy of about four years replied: "No."

The father posed this second child a second question: "Did you do it on purpose?"

Confused, the four-year-old replied: "Yes?"

Instantly, the father's fierce face turned cruel as he pulled his belt from its loops, and the little boy, turning terrified, protested, "I didn't know what 'on purpose' meant! I didn't know what 'on purpose' meant!"

But it was too late. He knew what he had done. And it wasn't going to change a thing.


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

DepthFool is right . . .

"Do you want to build a Yentl?"

sounds suspiciously like

"Papa can you snow man?"

. . . or somesuch.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Higher Math

Four Me?

At higher repetitions of 2 + 2, the answer approximates 4.

Or: 2 + 2 = 4, for higher values of 2?

I never had a head for math . . .


Monday, May 28, 2018

Let Me Restate, "Nonbeing is not Being"


Since yesterday's post, I have seen a better way to express the ambiguity in the following statement:
"Nonbeing is not Being."
Possibly, the statement means:
"'Nonbeing' is not 'Being.'"
The concept "Nonbeing" and the concept "Being" are in this case opposites. But possibly, the statement means:
"'Nonbeing' is 'not Being.'"
The concept "Nonbeing" and the concept "not Being" are in this case identical.

This is trivial, of course, but my mind is second-rate.

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Sunday, May 27, 2018

"Nonbeing is not Being"

I have just noticed an ambiguity in the following statement:
"Nonbeing is not Being."
Possibly, it means:
"Nonbeing is not 'Being.'"
"Nonbeing" and "Being" are in this case opposites. But possibly, it means:
"Nonbeing is 'not Being.'"
"Nonbeing" and "not Being" are in this case identical.

Trivial, of course, but my mind is second-rate.


Saturday, May 26, 2018

Being . . . or Non-Being.

That is the question. Or is that two questions?


Friday, May 25, 2018

Nonbeing as the Absence of Being

About three years ago, my friend Bill Vallicella broached the topic of nonbeing and even used the expression "absence of being," so maybe I owe him a footnote, and perhaps this big quote will suffice:
You may recall Sartre's example of the absence of Pierre in the cafe. That is a determinate absence: the absence of Pierre. But the absence of everything that exists is also determinate. Even the absence or nonbeing of everything that could exist seems to be a determinate or definite nonbeing parasitic upon what is or what could be.

But then we are not succeeding in thinking pure nonbeing.

The Parmenidean conclusion is nigh: absolute nonbeing is utterly unthinkable and (this is a further step) impossible. Being is; Nonbeing is not.

And yet it seems that absolute nonbeing is something 'positive' as contradictory as that sounds just as evil is 'positive' in a way that makes trouble for the view that evil is just *privatio boni.*

Just as we cannot dismiss evil as a mere absence of good, we seem not to be able to dismiss nonbeing as a mere absence of Being.

And so I cannot decisively lay the follow(ing) specter: that of absolute nothingness as a threatening 'power' that cannot be domesticated or shown to be wholly negative by sheer thought.

Enter Heidegger und das Nichts.
Bill, unlike me, capitalizes: "absence of Being." The capital of "B" is correct, I think, for this is not the absence of a particular being like Pierre. This is Being itself!

Bill, however, seems to differ from me in the degree to which he distinguishes nonbeing, or nothingness, from Being. His "nonbeing" would seem to have a wee bit of Being in it. Or maybe even a lot of Being?

I wonder if that is logically possible . . .

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Kostelanetz on Poetry

Serpent Swallowing Tail

In Dichtung Yammer for an "Exchange with Richard Kostelanetz on His Poetry" (May 4, 2018), Thomas Fink asks Kostelanetz, "Why might one call your poetry 'poetry'"? Kostelanetz replies:
"What else to call such inventions with words when no other category is more appropriate, though from time to time I've heard the dismissive 'not poetry,' which I don't mind as much as others might, since I appreciate the distinguished tradition of work dismissed as 'not art' in the 20th century. 'Word games,' I've been told, though from time to time I've argued as a critic that some so-called word games, such as palindromes or tongue-twisters, represent inventive High Folk Poetry that is esthetically formalist because of its compositional rules. I suppose some of the more challenging crossword puzzles would count as well, though I don't do crossword puzzles or play Scrabble, among other popular recreations with words. (My mother was an ace at the word game called Anagrams, which she said she never lost. I know I never beat her.)"
I think that this explains why Kostelanetz nominated my One Line Poems for a Pushcart Prize. I was playing with format and meaning, and he noticed. If only my poems had won a Pushcart Prize, I'd be more generally noticed, and my writing would begin to be read, but such thoughts lead to a "what-if" game that has no end . . .


Wednesday, May 23, 2018



No. Not nothingness. This rectangle of blackness can only symbolize nothingness, as black is the absence of light. The same could be said of cold. It can only symbolize nothingness, as cold is the absence of heat. To be precise, nothingness is the absence of being.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Racist Chips Off the Old Block?

I was indifferently pouring myself a bowl-full of corn chips the other day when from the bag emerged this:

How does this sort of thing happen? No, really. How does it happen? Do the workers save a burnt chip -- hereafter known as "Burnt Chip + Number" -- that was rejected by quality control and surreptitiously toss it into a passing bag just prior to the bag's sealing? Or does quality control simply miss one of these burnt fellows every once in a great while? Whether intentional or stochastic, the consequence is a race to the bottom of e-quality, this being an online query.

But the query could easily devolve into that putatively much-needed discourse, "A Conversation on Race." For example, which runner is faster: Achilles or Usain Bolt? Neither, as we learn from Zeno, for neither of the two can take the first infinitesimally small step.

No race, therefore, exists, and since there is thus no race, Burnt Chip 1 thereby needn't worry about possible racists!

It's a wonderful world . . .

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Endless Tales . . .

Sun-Ae and I took another of our quasi-weekly walks and made a new friend:

He's rather reticent, so I'm calling him "Kaw-Lija!" Around thereabouts was also a place offering refreshments, so I drank a somewhat sour lemondae, as you can probably tell:

We then headed out on the rest of our walk, part of it along an abandoned railway line that led us to the restaurant where we had our evening meal . . . after which we returned home by taxi because we didn't know where we were and didn't want to try wandering home in the dark.

You might find this tale of the city boring, but the magpies found our wandering interesting enough to follow us around for part of our walk . . .