Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Enough is Enough?

Enough is enough.
A word to the wise is enough?
Looks like the wise have had about enough of enough . . .


Monday, July 30, 2018

Why, I Don't Know . . .

A proverb for reflection and edification:
"A word to the wise is enough."
No one knows why, but the wise really like the word "enough."

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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Man of La Mancha: To Dream the Impossible Dream

I've discovered another site online that uses my scholarly findings, this time my reading of Don Quixote's relevance to a critical reading of Miguel de Luna's History of the Conquest of Spain by the Moors, and I've red-fonted the specific words:
21. LUNA, Miguel de. The History of the Conquest of Spain by the Moors. Together with the Life of the most illustrious Monarch Almanzor. And of the several Revolutions of the mighty Empire of the Caliphs, and of the African Kingdoms. Composed in Arabick by Abulcacim Tariff Abentariq, one of the Generals in that Spanish Expedition; and translated into Spanish by Michael de Luna, Interpreter to Philip the Second. Now made English. London, Printed by F. Leach, for S. H. and are to be sold by T. Fox . . . 1687.
8vo, pp. [32], 237, [1]; occasional soiling, title partly overlaid at extreme inner margin by a stub (of another title-page?), small marginal tear to a6, not affecting text; early nineteenth-century polished calf, red morocco label, top joint cracking; Ditton Park bookplate (Montagu-Douglas) with library shelf-marks; a very good copy. £2250
First edition of this translation of the first part of Luna’s Verdadera historia del rey Don Rodrigo (Granada, 1592-1600), itself purportedly translated from an Arabic source, but in fact an original composition. This is the issue with S.H. in the imprint, no licence on the verso of the title-page, and the dedicatory epistle signed with initials 'M. T.' rather than 'Matt. Taubman', presumably the City poet.

Luna's account of the Arabic conquest of Spain to the year 761 was considered genuine by Southey, dismissed by Ticknor and other scholars as a forgery, but now appreciated as an important, essentially literary document from the age of Cervantes, who knew the work. The Verdadera historia and Don Quixote 'abound with the same phrases and diction', and Cervantes specifically ridicules a passage in Luna in which Tariff fulfils a prophecy by the presence of a mole on his back – Quixote strips to reveal his mole as evidence of his strength in Part I Chapter 30 (see Horace Jeffrey (sic. Jeffery) Hodges, 'Holey Moley: Don Quixote's significant Señal', Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America 29:2, 2009). 'Great inspiration for Cervantes came from this type of "true" history"' (sic. history') (ibid., 22:2, 2002, p. 20).

The narrative concludes 'The End of the First Part'; the second, which is promised in 'The Publisher to the Reader' and was to include a 'Dissertation' by the translator, never appeared. A different translation of selections of the work was published in 1627, under the title Almanasor, the Learned and Victorious King that Conquered Spaine. ESTC finds 8 copies of the present issue in the U.K. and four in North America (Boston Public, Folger, Huntington, and Clark), and only four copies altogether of the other issue (Christ Church, NYPL (2), and Newberry). The same sheets were reissued in 1693 but with fewer prelims (pp. 26, probably omitting the epistle dedicatory to James Fitz-James, Duke of Berwick, the illegitimate son of James II). Wing L 3484A.
This site is named after a long-deceased, but very important 19th-century bookseller, Bernard Quaritch, specializing in rare books, in this case, Hispanica, "a short selection of early Spanish books."

Thanks to all at Bernard Quaritch for noticing me and my work, back in 2014!


Saturday, July 28, 2018

Baylor Transcendent!

In poking around about on the internet, I stumbled upon this short auto-bio piece published in Baylor Magazine (Spring 2009):
Name: Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges, BA in English Literature, '79
Current hometown: Seoul, South Korea (originally from Salem, Arkansas)
Occupation: Professor at Ewha Womans University teaching research-based writing to undergraduates and a graduate course on John's Gospel and Gnosticism
Highest degree earned: PhD in History, UC Berkeley

A career highlight:

I suppose that one highlight of my academic career was obtaining a Fulbright Fellowship in 1989 for doctoral research in Tuebingen, West Germany . . . which quickly became Tuebingen, Unified Germany after the Berlin Wall came down in November 1989. I remained until 1995 in Germany, where I met a Korean woman on a train (in 1992) and married her (in 1995).

How did your experience with the Honors Program at Baylor prepare you for your life/career after college?

My Honors Program experience best prepared me for graduate-level seminars because through the program's upper-level courses, I was already familiar with discussion sessions in which we Honors students would intensively discuss important books with committed scholars, both from Baylor and from elsewhere.

But the greater preparation that the Honors Program provided was a confirmation that I could achieve something academically, and be recognized for that, despite having been . . . well, nobody in particular.

Memories from the program:

I can say that several professors at Baylor had a positive influence upon me, sometimes through the Honors Program, sometimes through non-Honors courses. I will mention a few names: Morse Hamilton, Wallace Daniel, Robert Baird, James Vardaman, Thomas Hanks, and Philip Martin.

I took several courses with all of these men, and I could say a great deal about all of them, for they all were fine Baylor gentlemen who inspired me in one way or another. I feel led, however, to remember Mr. Martin -- not because he had more influence, but because he was also a kind man who was less well-known but who deserves remembrance. I had Mr. Martin for German my sophomore year, and I was dreadful in that language though I eventually learned to speak it. My first course with Mr. Martin had me enrolled as an Honors student, but I did nothing "honorable." Indeed, I received a "C" though I probably deserved a "D" if not an "F." I was terrible. But I had perfect attendance and was never late for my 8:00 a.m. class, and Mr. Martin appreciated my consistency . . . even though I was consistently bad in German.

I took his course again in the spring of my sophomore year and did even worse . . . but still received a "C." That semester, we each had to give presentations in German, and I tried to describe my bicycle trip from the Ozarks to Waco -- a trip that I had undertaken to prove to myself that I could ride my bike 500 miles and reach Baylor in time for school. I succeeded in that trip but failed so miserably in my German presentation that Mr. Martin had to ask me to switch to English in order to understand precisely what I had done . . . and when he came to understand that I had ridden a bicycle, not a motorcycle, he was completely won over to my side for the rest of my Baylor career . . . even though I didn't know much German. He even asked me to take his Goethe course, and I did. I received an "A," by the grace of Mr. Martin and the fact that I could write my papers in English. Mr. Martin treated me to lunch off-campus several times, a great boon for a poverty-stricken student like me. I should have thanked him for that. Perhaps I did . . . but hardly enough.

In closing, I ought to remember Professor LeMaster, poet and scholar in the English Department, who guided my senior Honors' thesis and confirmed that I could write well creatively. Without his willingness to accept me as his student, I would not have succeeded, nor would I have finished the Honors Program.
I could go on and on about Baylor, but being quietly fanatical, I'll lapse into silence and just think good things . . . . Besides, I may have already posted on this back in the spring of 2009.


Friday, July 27, 2018

Waiting for God Ought Be Not Patriarchal


My older son Jae-Uk is traveling through Europe with a friend, and they are currently in Rome, where they visited the Vatican Museum and found this sculpture of me.

Naturally, Jae-Uk knows it isn't a statue of me, but I have to admit to a certain likeness . . . not that I like the likeness.

Do any any of you readers recognize this sculpture and know its sculptor?

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Gnostic Conception of the Evil Cosmos and the Soteriological Breaking of Fate

Claudia Maggi
(I Presume)

I occasionally come across references to my scholarly writings, and the passage below in Italian (April 2007, Puissances de l'âme, Varia, "La concezione plotiniana dell’uomo tra fascino e autodominio: la questione degli influssi astrali" ("The Plotinian conception of man between charm and self-control: the question of astral influences") by Claudia Maggi (p. 353-371) for Etudes Platoniciennes) discusses an article of mine on astrological fate and the views of Gnostics:
La demonizzazione del cosmo sensibile che è, secondo Hodges, la più grande innovazione apportata dallo gnosticismo al pensiero antico spiegherebbe l’obiezione gnostica al determinismo astrale. Questo è legato alla rottura del regno spirituale attuata da Sophia: nella caduta, Sophia avrebbe perso parte della sua sostanza spirituale; il Dio inferiore, prodotto accidentalmente dalla sua caduta, avrebbe intrappolato la sostanza persa da Sophia all’interno di corpi umani materiali, per assicurarsi l’asservimento dei quali avrebbe assegnato sette entità subordinate ai sette pianeti, assegnando loro il compito, come fato, di tenere legati gli uomini al mondo della materia. Hodges ritiene che gli gnostici intravidero nell’idea che la regolarità del cielo potesse influenzare gli eventi sulla Terra la prova di un progetto malvagio il cui scopo era intrappolare l’uomo. Al contrario è probabile che almeno alcuni gnostici utilizzassero le irregolarità celesti dimostrate da Ipparco con la precessione degli equinozi come prova di un intervento soteriologico nel mondo che consentiva di rompere il solo apparente determinismo causato dal movimento regolare del cielo.
In this passage, Maggi directs us to see H. J. Hodges, "Gnostic Liberation from Astrological Determinism: Hipparchan 'Trepidation' and the Breaking of Fate" (Vigiliae Christianae 51 (1997), 359-360; 372-373). For those readers who don't know Italian, here's a loose translation:
The demonization of the intelligible cosmos, which is, according to Hodges, the greatest innovation brought by Gnosticism to ancient thought, would explain the Gnostic objection to astral determinism. This is related to the breakdown of the spiritual realm accomplished by Sophia: in her fall, Sophia had lost some of her spiritual substance; the inferior god, accidentally produced by her fall, trapped the substance lost by Sophia within material human bodies, to secure the enslavement of which he would assign seven entities subordinate to the seven planets, assigning them the task, as fate, of keeping human beings connected to the world of matter. Hodges thinks that the Gnostics saw, in the idea that the regularity of the planetary heavens could influence events on Earth, evidence of an evil project whose aim was to trap human beings in the world. In contrast to this fateful cosmic regularity, Hodges finds probable evidence that at least some Gnostics used the celestial irregularities demonstrated by Hipparchus with the precession (or rather, in this article, with the "trepidation") of the equinoxes as proof of a soteriological intervention in the cosmos that enabled a breaking of the determinism caused by the regular movement of the planetary heavens.
Something like this is what I meant. This article of mine has been used and cited quite a few times in the scholarly world, so here is the evidence that I could have added something of value to the debates over gnosticism, if only I had received the support of a friend who wouldn't write the recommendation I needed when I was applying for a job. But that's a long time ago . . .


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Present Conumdrum

Present Conundrum
Not a Uniformitarianism
Where is This All Going?
When is This Going to End?

As one of my one-line poems, I wrote the following:
There's no time like the present conundrum.
But what does it mean? Well, it takes the old saying, "There's no time like the present," meaning "Get started now," and adds the uncommon word "conundrum," thereby forcing our attention on the meaning of the word "present."

It's a conundrum, a puzzle.

The past stretches in a line from an indistinct beginning and moves away from us in temporal measure.

The future stretches in a line from some indistinct ending and moves toward us in temporal measure.

The experienced present is not an infinitesimal, for an infinitesimal lacks length, a lack that could be made up for by the space in which we find ourselves.

Spatiality determines our experienced present. We leave one space and step into another, and our experience of time passing occurs in that step, but so long as we remain within a certain space, we experience no passage of time.

I speak alone, based on my own experience only. How do you experience time?

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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Poetry Break: Smiles

You've all heard of today's on-campus, politically motivated 'snowflakes'? Well, I'm not even thinking about those snowflakes, but about smiles that can melt away if not encouraged. Here's some encouragement, I hope:
The longest word, they say, is smiles
Because it goes on for a mile
From "s" to "s" to make that smile.

Though I agree the word is smiles,
This longest word goes on for miles
To spell an extra-special smile!
Not much of a 'camera' took this smiling image, more of a 'camera obscura,' but this smiley face will have to play the role of the fragile smile.

You see? I can be silly, too.


Monday, July 23, 2018

Max Weber: Protestant Ethic Revisited

Poor With Us Always?
Christianity Today

Lincoln Lau and Bruce Wydick tell us that "The 'Protestant Work Ethic' Really Does Fight Poverty (Christianity Today, July/August 2018). I have cut-and-pasted from their report:
[Max Weber famously argued that] Protestant religious beliefs led inevitably to Europe's work ethic, to its attitude toward wealth and specialized labor — and, in short, to modern capitalism: Europe experienced economic growth largely because of its Protestant beliefs.

A randomized controlled trial by leading development economists, among 320 villages and 6,276 low-income families in the Philippines, provides a scientifically rigorous test of the causal effects of Christian beliefs on economic outcomes . . . . The results . . . appear to confirm that the Protestant ethic causes economic change. Participants in the study who were randomly selected for a curriculum teaching Christian values subsequently showed increases in household income relative to a control group. The implications of this pioneering study could be vital for Christians and others trying to do effective work among the poor. This is a reminder that teaching Christian doctrine and values does not need to be separated from community development. In fact, combining the two may have better results.

Protestants can rejoice. There is a healthy biblical balance to the Protestant ethic (see, for example, Col. 3:23 and Eph. 4:28) . . . . At the same time, a biblical understanding of human agency, and its possibilities and responsibilities, has helped reverse the fatalism that is often associated with poverty in the developing world.
This report is interesting to me because one of the first monographs I read in grad school was Weber's Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, which was also linked to the rise of science and technology in the West, partly due to the work of the sociologist Robert K. Merton. Works such as these come around and around . . .

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Poetry Break: Attend

Our friend Eric Walsh is returning to Canada, and we will miss his presence. Here's a poem I've written in honor of Eric, and you need to know that he's the Canadian ambassador to Korea, if you want to make sense of the poem.
For Ambassador Eric Walsh
Be glad your ears are on your head
And not some other place instead.
For were they where they're surely not,
Most likely 'deaf' would be their lot!

Oh, let us only just suppose
Your ears were stuck beneath your soles.
From that position underfoot,
You'd hear a constant put, put-put.

And how could you, ambassador,
Put best foot first through open door?
And how hear rumor on the wing?
You'd hear not any goddamned thing!

Intelligence is what I mean,
The kind of sound from which you glean
Some information guaranteed
To help your country supercede.

Thank God your ears are where they be!
They hear interdependently,
And separate the noise from sense
So safe we'll live, at less expense.

* Apologies to Jack Prelutsky
This was a fun poem to write - I just spun it off Prelutsky's poem about a misplaced nose.


Saturday, July 21, 2018

Nour Al-Din Al-Hatimi: Disillusion with ISIS

Nour Al-Din Al-Hatimi explains his disillusion with ISIS:
[The ISIS recruits] wanted to establish the Caliphate, because they considered it a shelter and a utopian place of repentance, where the Muslims could unite and gather all their power, in order to fight the forces attacking them with violence . . . . The first thing that struck me was that the Syrian refugees in Turkey were cursing the revolution and everything that came with it. They were saying that they do not want foreigners coming into their country, and that it would have been better had [the volunteers] remained in their countries. They were saying that they had had enough of all the massacres, and that they only wanted to live a life of dignity with their families, and so on . . . . Yes, in this kind of language. After that, I went to the [Turkish-Syrian] border, and spent some time with people who had taken up arms and were fighting. Some of them told me that what is going on [in Syria] has nothing to do with Jihad, that Islam has no future and the Caliphate cannot be established on that land, because that enterprise is on the verge of bankruptcy. It is in a dark tunnel, leading to a dead end, and it is better for people to find other ways to build their glory. They should plow their own lands and bring about life rather than death.
I notice further in the interview that he still blames the West as having dishonored the Arab Muslim individual. This view is so fixed in the mind of one from a shame-and-honor culture that the other idea could never arise in his mind, namely, that the West hadn't intended any shame because the West, being a guilt culture, does not think in those categories.


Friday, July 20, 2018

Dr. Ashraf Nusairat: Muslims Are Humiliated Because They Love Their Children More Than They Love Allah?

Forked Tongue?
Ashraf Nusairat Speaks
"This is what we have brought upon ourselves,
by distancing ourselves from our religion,
by our love for this world and our hatred of death."

Memri TV Clip No. 6667, Chicago Friday Sermon By Dr. Ashraf Nusairat: "Muslims Are Humiliated 'Because We Love Our Children More Than We Love Making Sacrifices For The Sake of Allah"

Ashraf Nusairat goes on to say: "Can you believe that the nation of Islam has spread Islam and compassion all over the world? Whenever [the Muslims] entered a town or a village, they would spread Islam, compassion, and justice."

"Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." (Red Queen, Alice in Wonderland.)


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Gregory Tomso on Lincoln

Vinnie Ream's
Lincoln Statue

Here is more information on the Lincoln Statue, written by the scholar Gregory Tomso:
Specifically, I argue that the much-touted, life-like features of Ream's statue of Lincoln are not, as her most admiring biographer has claimed, evidence of "man's propensity for naturalism," but signs of a historical shift in the discourses of aesthetics central to what Hendler describes as the subjective process of sentimental, nationalist identification in the nineteenth century. As the dream of an American Athens, embodied in the classical idealism of Powers and Greenough, gave way to Ream's realism, the powerbrokers of American art and politics did not reject, but intensified and naturalized, the ideological fervor of American nationalism and the forms of sentimental experience crucial to its expression. True to Brown's dictum that "America will be realized in its simulacra," Ream's Lincoln, in its striking verisimilitude, does not so much represent life itself as it instead offers up, for public consumption, a re-vitalized fantasy of the origin of "Americanness" empirically legible in the face, eyes, tears, hair, hands and "unspeakable sadness" of Lincoln's body.
This actually sounds interesting. I may just have to read it . . .


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

"Lincoln's 'Unfathomable Sorrow'

with a
Bust of

The sculptor Vinnie Ream explains her statue of Lincoln (click site link above, scroll down):
"I think that history is particularly correct in writing Lincoln down as the man of sorrow. The one great, lasting, all-dominating impression that I have always carried of Lincoln has been that of unfathomable sorrow, and it was this that I tried to put into my statue."
I have borrowed the quote and image from Gregory Tomso: European Journal of American Studies, 6-2, 2011, Special Issue: Oslo Conference, "Lincoln's 'Unfathomable Sorrow': Vinnie Ream, Sculptural Realism, and the Cultural Work of Sympathy in Nineteenth-Century America."


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Gettysburg Address

I love reading these words of The Gettysburg Address, written by Lincoln (though not on the back of an envelope) to commemorate the important battle that had been fought there:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate . . . we can not consecrate . . . we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government: of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Abraham Lincoln presented this address on the 19th of November 1863, four and a half months after the armies of the Confederacy were defeated by Union armies at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Note how, in the very first line, Lincoln reminds his listeners that their own fathers had brought forth this nation. This is only a slight exaggeration. Lincoln was born in 1809. His father was born during the Revolutionary War. Older men would even have fathers who fought in that war. That past was only yesterday for them. Lincoln reminds them that the Revolutionary War was fought for liberty and equality, two terms that would resonate with his listeners, whose thoughts would naturally gravitate toward the war over slavery, the ongoing Civil War. Lincoln draws their thoughts along with his own . . .


Monday, July 16, 2018

Sort of like the Hadith?

I found the following interesting materials here.

"Abraham Lincoln Quotations and Sayings. Spurious"

Spurious, Hearsay, and Obscure Quotations

Compilation and Commentary

Excerpts from newspapers and other sources

From the files of the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection

Bulletin of the Lincoln National Life Foundation ------ Dr. Louis A. Warren, Editor,

Published each week by The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, Fort Wayne, Indiana . . . .

Number 750

Fort Wayne, Indiana

August 23, 1943

Did Lincoln say it?
One of the most certain proofs of the immortality of a man is the tendency to emphasize the importance of the epigrams he used. The anthology of Lincoln's pointed sayings, approaches in wisdom, the proverbs of Solomon, and they have contributed immeasurably to the fame of the prairie philosopher. It is not known, generally, that the writings and printed speeches of Abraham Lincoln, in total wordage exceed the complete works of Shakespeare.
Lincoln wrote more than Shakespeare! I did not know that. But even more interesting is the following:
Another element which confirms the eternal fame of a man is the tendency to put in his month, as it were, words presenting some certain philosophy of life which the ghost writer desires to advance. We are now in that stage of the Lincoln apotheosis when a great mass of spurious quotations are being credited to Lincoln which he never recited.
The hadith - 'wise' things that Muhammad said and did - can be shown to have expanded in a very similar manner. Muslims themselves have noted this and have tried to identify the false attributions.


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Erudite Lincoln?

Looking round about the internet, I stumbled upon this book, Wit and Humor Of Abraham Lincoln, Gathered from Authentic Sources, by Carleton B. Case (Chicago: Shrewesbury Publishing Co., 1916; pp. 7-50), and I found this statement on Lincoln's early reading:
The books which Abraham had the early privilege of reading were the Bible, much of which he could repeat, "Æsop's Fables," all of which he could repeat, "Pilgrim's Progress," Weem's "Life of Washington," and a "Life of Henry Clay," which his mother had managed to purchase for him. Subsequently he read the "Life of Franklin" and Ramsay's "Life of Washington." In these books, read and re-read, he found meat for his hungry mind. The Holy Bible, Æsop and John Bunyan — could three better books have been chosen for him from the richest library?
The writer of this book tends toward hero worship, so this source might not be as authentic as proclaimed. I notice that Lincoln read Life of Franklin. What a coincidence!


Saturday, July 14, 2018

Lincoln and Paradise Lost?

Abraham Lincoln

In Robert Bray's article on Lincoln's reading list, "What Abraham Lincoln Read — An Evaluative and Annotated List" (Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, Volume 28, Issue 2, Summer 2007, pp. 28-81), we find the following in note 136:
[There] "is a story recounted in the diary of George Templeton Strong (March 29, 1863): "Story of Senator [James] Dixon calling on the President and suggesting a parallel between secession and that first rebellion of which Milton sang. Very funny interview. Abe Lincoln didn't know much about Paradise Lost and sent out for a copy, looked through its first books under the Senator's guidance, and was struck by the coincidences between the utterances of Satan and those of Jefferson Davis, whom by-the-by he generally designates as 'that t'other fellow.' Dixon mentioned the old joke about the Scotch professor who was asked what his views were about the fall of the Angels and replied, 'Aweel, there's much to be said on both sides.' 'Yes,' said Uncle Abraham, 'I always thought the Devil was some to blame!' (Allan Nevins and Milton Halsey Thomas, eds., The Diary of George Templeton Strong [New York: Macmillan, 1952], 3:308).
Some to blame! That's hilarious! But did Lincoln ever actually read all of Paradise Lost? He seems not to have read it before March 29, 1863, and since he had only about two years until his death on April 15, 1865, he wouldn't have had much time for reading the whole thing.

Does anyone know for sure?

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Friday, July 13, 2018

Abraham Lincoln didn't say half the things he said!


I wanted to quote the following statement by Abraham Lincoln:
"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."
But I've read he never said these words, so I'll have to do something else for today . . .


Thursday, July 12, 2018

E = mcc

E = mcc

I mentioned Einstein's famous equation in class yesterday, inspired by some reference, and none of them knew what the equation meant, so I explained each part of the equation.

I then asked the students what the equation meant.

They informed me that they'd just learned its meaning. From me.

I then explained that I now wanted practical implications, e.g., the military implication that a small amount of mass could release enormous amounts of energy . . . and blow up a large city!


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Lincoln on the right to pursue "happiness"

In debate with Judge Douglas in the latter 1850s, Lincoln said that "there is no reason in the world why the negro is not entitled to all the rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence,—the right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

But what did "happiness" mean back in 1776? Was it linked to the concepts of "chance" and "luck"?

Let's check the OED:
The quality or condition of being happy.
a. Good fortune or good luck in life generally or in a particular affair; success, prosperity. Now rare.

In later use chiefly in to have the happiness to: to be fortunate enough or have the privilege to (do something).
b. An instance or cause of good fortune. Frequently in plural (in later use often as part of a stylized formula for wishing good fortune).
This would show that the meaning of "happiness" as "chance" or "good luck" still obtained in 1776.

But one cannot pursue  "chance" or "good luck"! Or can one?


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Gave it Away?


I bought a couple of Snickers bars on my way home yesterday and ate one of them while waiting at Wangsimni Station for the train to Mangu Station.

I was thinking of eating the second one when I noticed a nearby damsel in distress who seemed to be upset about the train schedule, for she kept checking her phone and muttering her annoyance in a foreign language, probably Korean (if that's foreign), though I couldn't hear her well enough to be sure.

After some minutes observing this distress, I reached over and offered my Snickers. "You'll feel better," I told her, "after you've eaten one of these."

She smiled, accepted the candy bar, and said, "Thank you."

My knightly good deed for the day . . .


Monday, July 09, 2018

Lincoln: "No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar."

Mr. Lincoln,

Meet Mr. Clinton.

Let us never forget what a good liar Mr. Clinton was.

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Sunday, July 08, 2018

Major Plot Spoiler for Ant Man and the Wasp

Ant Man and the Wasp

I just saw the film, and I know what happened in the final scene, and I also therefore know the connection to the recent beep-beep-beep-beep-beep . . .


Saturday, July 07, 2018

The World Turned Upside Down?


Upside down?

This settles it . . .


Friday, July 06, 2018

The Leader as Timepiece

Lincoln reportedly said:
"The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time."
But why is this the BEST thing about the future?

Couldn't one fortnight at a time be better for facing the future? Or a month? Or a year? Or a decade?

Or conversely an hour? Or a minute. Or a moment? Or a second?

How long is a moment, anyway?

Homework: Would Franklin have agreed with Lincoln?


Thursday, July 05, 2018

Rhyme, Reason, Rhythm, and Rectitude

Benjamin Franklin
Riven, but Unafraid

At a time when the two words likely rhymed better,

Benjamin Franklin said:
"Wars bring scars."
But I say:
"Wares bring scares."
And these two words yet rhyme!


Wednesday, July 04, 2018

The Wisest Thing Franklin Ever Said!

Franklin wrote:
"Some are weatherwise, some are otherwise."
Wise about the other, and about the other beyond that other.


Tuesday, July 03, 2018

A Real Man?

Benjamin Franklin

Ben "Frank" Franklin said:
"Reading makes a full man, meditation a profound man, discourse a clear man."
But what, pray tell, makes a real man?


Monday, July 02, 2018

Comma, comma, down . . .

Ridicule this

Benjamin Franklin said:
"Poverty, poetry, and new titles of honor, make men ridiculous."

That British comma after "honor" that separates the subject of the sentence from its verb, that's ridiculous.


Sunday, July 01, 2018

Doggone Wisdom!

But No Bark

Benjamin Franklin said:
No wood without bark.
Odd wisdom, but keep a dog handy, just in case you run out of charcoal, and bark is needed - and maybe something wood will come of it.