The future and the exquisite grandness of Internet social networking

I see her in pictures with anther man.  She radiates happiness.  And I am happy for her.

Softly, the summer of 2002 comes to mind and thoughts of one of those other ghosts emerges from the mist we call memory.

The future is easy.  Sometimes, all you have to do is start over.  And this time get it right.

As persons, we are a collection of personae each with its own narrative.  Adding a new one to the mix should be no chore at all.

Published in: on June 30, 2009 at 11:12 am  Leave a Comment  

Final catharsis

I read that a new edition of Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast comes out this week (NYT).  Sean Hemingway, grandson of Hemingway and his second wife Pauline, has edited it and added additional sketches from Hemingway’s manuscript.

For good or ill, A Moveable Feast remains one of my favorite books and sparked my imagination when I was young.  I will read the new edition in hopes it will not dull my enthusiasm for the first edition.

Hemingway never finished the book before he committed suicide. Yet are competed manuscripts ever finished?  If reading is a transaction between writer and reader, then all books may not be finished as we apply new interpretations to it.  My favorite books seem to be those books I can read again with a fresh view.

Some events never find a final interpretation or catharsis.

Published in: on June 29, 2009 at 8:17 am  Leave a Comment  

Positivism, arguments, and answers

Let’s divide questions into two classes.  Those that can be studied using statistics and those that cannot.

When I say can be studied by statistics I mean three things as taken from Langley’s Practical Statistics.

1) Defining a problem or what is to be sought,
2) Choosing a method in which the answer may be found,
3) Interpreting the meaning of the results.

Let’s distinguish between two kinds of positivism: strong positivism where one believes that all that can be studied is through statistics and scientific method, and mild positivism where one cares more about studying questions that can be answered through statistics and scientific method, and does not care much about those questions that can’t be studied thus even though one feels they are still important questions worthy of reflection on their answers.  What I’m talking about is two kinds of positivist temperament.

I would categorize myself these days as a mild positivist if I am a positivist.  Distinguishing inductively between the probable and the improbable satisfies me more than contemplating questions that, although rigorously argued philosophically, cannot be put to statistical scrutiny.

Too bad questions are not as easily categorized as I’ve laid it out.  Take condoms for instance.  I take it as scientifically shown that using condoms reduces the number of cases of sexually transmitted diseases.  Those that enjoin people not to use condoms are relegated to justifiying their position by saying using a condom is a sin or some other moral or religious injunction.  However, one might consider that reducing sexually transmitted diseases carries more moral weight than a religious injunction that increases the chances of getting sexually transmitted diseases.  The moral question remains despite the scientific evidence.

One should be honest when arguing metaphysical or moral points of view.  One should declare how one is answering questions.  One should not try to subvert scientific evidence with pseudo-scientific arguments to the contrary intended to obfuscate an issue.  Those last statements are again moral injuctions of a sort, but I would think that we would have all reached a point where we agree with them.

Published in: on June 28, 2009 at 10:10 am  Leave a Comment  

holy hush

Morning.  The sky growing brighter.  I’ve slept eight hours.  I don’t know what to make of the world after eight hours of sleep.  I feel as if I have awoken in a different world.  Yet nothing extraordinary admits itself into my thoughts.  A haze shrouds my future, a future different than the past.

It’s Sunday morning though.  I often feel a little of Wallace Stevens’s holy hush on summer Sunday mornings.

Published in: on June 27, 2009 at 8:40 am  Leave a Comment  

No priorities

I was rummaging through my book closet this morning when I ran across Iris Murdoch’s Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals, a book I bought and never read.  I’m going to take it for a spin now.

However, the Cubs/Sox game is coming up, so it will be a book for tonight and the weekend.

I know, I have no priorities.

Published in: on June 26, 2009 at 2:30 pm  Leave a Comment  


We can construct an arbitrarily large sequence of composite numbers.  When putting that beside the notion that a function as simple as x/log x estimates the number of primes less than x arbitrarily close to square root accuracy, things seem strange.

I guess I don’t really understand questions about primes yet. Immensity always overwhelms my imagination.

It’s grown dark at midday.  I can her thunder in the distance.

Published in: on June 24, 2009 at 1:36 pm  Leave a Comment  


We read the great poets.  They find the extroadinary and profound in the almost missed ordinary things–things tangled so much in our boring days we can’t see them except when the poets show us.

Published in: on June 23, 2009 at 2:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Looking for somebody

Some people are always looking for somebody.  Even when they have found them, they get bored and start looking anew.  Other people are never exactly looking.  They accept chance as it happens.

Let’s say those are two well defined categories of people.  How do you quantify what happens?  How do you make sense of it all?

Published in: on June 23, 2009 at 2:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Damn it, Ray

Raymond Carver’s Collected Poems remains one of my favorite reads.  I like his conversational voice that has music woven through it.  Geez, I wish I could do that.

Published in: on June 23, 2009 at 1:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Check my last, (or hers)

She calls me.  She says he wasn’t as serious as she thought.  She says she was ambivalent in the first place.  I tell her hanging out together is still on my agenda.  (That’s so cold saying it that way.)  Fuck it; she’s no longer in my heart.  It ain’t going to happen.

Some people you desire for your whole life.  Others fade into blue as swiftly as you can make it happen.

Color her blue.  But don’t get me wrong.  I’ll always remember her that Sunday afternoon at the coffee shop when she first opened Middlemarch.  I’m going to miss discussing it with her, but I barely understand it myself.  By the time she is my age and read it several times, she will know much more about it than me.

I hope the children she will eventually have understand just how smart her Mom is.

Published in: on June 23, 2009 at 1:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Simple sentence

Sometimes, a simple sentence well crafted will do.  Come on, write!  People will love you for it.

Published in: on June 23, 2009 at 11:17 am  Comments (2)  


I’m still playing chess, although not as many games as I did.  I’d like to think that my games are of a higher quality, but I am getting my ass kicked by folks who are way better than me.

I do my analysis with the chess set V gave me for my birthday last year.  It’s a sort of talisman.  A spark of life flows through me each time I touch a piece.

Published in: on June 23, 2009 at 10:26 am  Leave a Comment  

Goodbye to you President Bush

Politics remains on my mind even though I have not written about it.  It seems as though I have missed the Obama phenomena.  The thing I like about the whole deal is the way conservatives have acted towards his policies.  First, they claim he is a communist.  When that doesn’t work, they claim he is the new Roosevelt.  They are either being disingenuous or showing some deep ignorance.  Who likes either?

Meanwhile, I’m still gloating over the demise of President Bush.  His economic and foreign policies have been damned by events. Thus he is damned too–he with his head in the sand.

But that is not what I really want to talk about. I merely ask some questions.

Why is it that the people like Obama who save the Capitalist system from its own excesses gather the most ire from conservatives?  And let’s add this subsidiary question: how stupid can Plutocrats possibly be?

Anyway, Daddy doesn’t care so much about adding an abortion amendment to the Constitution when Daddy is out of a job.

Published in: on June 23, 2009 at 9:59 am  Leave a Comment  

That river keeps rolling though

I’m at her place.  I wait for her to wake up.  She finally stumbles out of bed.  I make her scrambled eggss for breakfast in the afternoon.  While she eats, she tells me it wouldn’t be a good thing if we saw each other the way we have, for she has found someone else.

For some damned reason I think about a river in Iowa.  The water keeps on rolling lazily down it just as it it did when I was a kid when I fished and swam in it.  I want to be a little boy again–I guess.

Later, at night, I have a V sighting at the bar.  She’s as pretty as she ever was–more so if you ask me truly.

I wake in the morning.  The first thing I think of is where the time goes.  It seems as though it is like that damned old river rolling along regardless of whether it is me or some new boy she has found to enjoy her enticements.

Published in: on June 23, 2009 at 8:38 am  Leave a Comment  

That smile

She’s not old enough to drink.  She doesn’t drink much anyway.  We’ve agreed that we will not introduce each other to our social circles.  She just calls me when she wants to see me.  (And she does at the strangest hours.)

She says she will be gone soon.  Little does she know what being gone is really all about.

One afternoon, while I was sitting on the couch in her apartment and staring at my iPhone, she asked me what I was doing.  I told her I was reading War and Peace.  On your phone? she said.  Yes.  I love you, she said.

She’s reading Middlemarch right now.  It entrances and enthralls her just as it did me when I first read it when she was but a baby.  I like it that a book can transcend two generations and more.  I try to avoid talking about Middlemarch with her.  She needs to have it for her own without my intrusion.

Soon, she will be gone.  My life will be more impoverished for it.  Yet all the better too.  I’ll always remember that afternoon sitting on her couch and her saying that she loved me for the paltry exercise of reading War and Peace.  And of course, her hand on my face at times will always be remembered.

Oh, and that smile.

Published in: on June 22, 2009 at 1:29 am  Leave a Comment  

Beer, chance, dice, and god

I woke up early so as not to miss the dawn on this longest day.  I went to Starbuck’s when they opened early this morning.  I sat on the ledge looking out upon State Street.  Hardly a soul was out and about that early in the morning.  I read part of the New York Times on my iPhone.

After the news bored me, I started thinking about this fictional person who claims she can taste the difference between Bud Light and Miller Lite.  I imagined myself possessing a six pack of Bud Light and a six pack of Miller Lite.  How could I use those six packs to test whether she really could tell the difference?  What kind of experiment could I concoct that would lend some insight?

Two six packs doesn’t seem like much of a sample, but unless I want my test subject to get drunk enough to go home with me, it might have to suffice for the experiment.  Let’s face it, we don’t often get to use large samples in our everyday researches, yet we must make decisions given regretable constraints.

My imaginary taster epitomizes one of my interests these days: what kind of knowledge might we glean from small samples of data?  What kinds of odds would we demand if we bet on future outcomes of an experiment.

Some people ask the question as to whether God plays dice.  Well, if there is a god, she forces us to play dice.  That might suffice for all we need to know about God and chance.

Published in: on June 21, 2009 at 8:59 am  Leave a Comment  

Legs behind her head

I’m out on Twitter and run into this message at the site of a friend. Who posted it I do not know.

I’m a gymnast so I’m very flexible. Ever fucked a girl with her legs behind her head?

Actually, I did on more than one occasion.

Published in: on June 20, 2009 at 8:52 am  Comments (1)  

Winning helps

I’ve seen a lot of baseball games this year. Yesterday, I saw the Cubs make an improbable comeback against the White Sox. It’s funny how when your team wins, things seem a little brighter.

The Cubs did it again today coming back from six runs down to beat the Indians.

Two good days–no matter what.

Published in: on June 19, 2009 at 11:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

In love again?

Got the new iPhone today. I think I’m in love again

Published in: on June 19, 2009 at 7:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

More about stray dogs

They show up every now and then. They sit down on the bar stool next to you and ask if you remember them. You can place the face, but not the name or exactly when it was when they showed up the first time. Invariably, they are from out of town. So, you hang out with them–go to dinner, etc.

Before it is all over, the good ones, smite your heart. You wish they did not live so far away. And the ones that kiss so well are the big poison.

Life, as most almost everything else, is random, but there is method in it. Shoot enough arrows at a target and you will score a bulls eye every now and then. It’s all a question of making the bulls eye larger or shooting arrows more accurately if you want to be good.

You see her lying there–sleeping gently–just before you leave. You want to be next to her for the rest of the night. It is a good thing she doesn’t live close by. You might fall in love again.

Published in: on June 17, 2009 at 1:35 am  Comments (3)  

Baseball, statistics, the Reimann Hypothesis, and random consciousness

I have baseball fever more than usual this spring. Baseball means statistics, especially if you play a lot of fantasy baseball. Statistics means wondering what statistics are significant and which ones are just random noise.

My mind wondered across all that tonight and led me into thinking about the statistical regularity of the distribution of prime numbers, which continued on to the Reimann Hypothesis, for the holy grail with the prime numbers is to find a function that estimates the distribution well.

But that is not the point. Why have I have been thinking about what I have been thinking about today? The previous two days I thought about lost love–something that seems unrelated to the above. What causes these large shifts in the preoccupation of consciousness? How much is causal and how much due to randomness? What will my mind be occupied with tomorrow?

And why do I continue to suffer from this profound sense of melancholy that will not go away?

Published in: on June 1, 2009 at 10:12 pm  Leave a Comment