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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Madoff Released Early For Good Behaviour

News Flash

Just in from: MurdochBreakingBlogs, (All The News, Ever, Whether You Want It Or Not)

Stardate: 2148, June 30th.

NewYork: 21st Century criminal Bernie Madoff, who did something wrong so long ago the method of archiving the criminal records is so out of date we can't read it, was released 21 years early today, on a good behaviour bond and because of his milestone birthday. Madoff, who is now exactly 200 years old, was sentenced to 150 years in jail way back, shit long time ago, in them old days, if you can believe that.

"If they'd sentenced me to death, it would all have been over a looooooooong time ago," he opined through artificial lips in front of his cloned larynx with air expelled from his xenotransplanted lungs by a bionic diaphragm. "I just want to die," he continued. "I've been taking it up the clister in the shower blocks for the last 130 years, enough already! Stick a fork in may ass and turn me over, I'm done."

When the sunlight finally hit Mr Madoff's aged body as he ventured out into the street, an unfortunate and unexpected chemical reaction occured which caused the ex-con to burst into flames, and within seconds his smouldering black ashes were dissipated up Wall St by a sudden gust of wind that came out of the ass of nowhere, like a divine fart of retribution. As his remains scattered, the wind seemd to cry, "Good fucking riddance, you thieving, lying, sociopathically greedy fucking bastard," but that could merely be this ancient, poor reporter's vivid imagination as he put down his large bucket, emptied now of petrol, and put the matches back into his pocket.

Meanwhile in Cell Block H(ell) Parole Board Hearing Room, through a barred window overlooking the scene just described, someone called Alan Sandford, with a similar 20 years left on his sentence for crimes of an unknown nastiness, was seen to immediately call the to guard for more sunscreen.

E@L

for Momentary Madness to have somewhere to post his comments.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Flatmate And The Bookshelf

When you see a picture of someone with a bookshelf in the background, do you always try to figure what the titles and who the authors are? Yeah, I do, but you knew that, right?

So when someone shows me a nice picture of my flatmate Izzy (formerly famous sex person) featured in the current edition of Singapore's Cleo magazine, the first thing I notice is that is she sitting next to one of MY bookshelves! I guess the idea was to reinforce her depiction as a serious writer, which would imply therefore that she is a big reader. Well, she certainly is, but not necessarily of THESE* exact books!



(Thinks: I can pretty much date the photo from the layout of books on the shelves. It's recent. Ah, she says three months ago.)

The bookshelf itself is interesting, being made from railway sleepers and the timber of demolished Indonesian railway stations. No forests were demolished for the making of this shelf. At least that's how the people in Scanteak marketed it to me and justified its exorbitant price. This is the bookshelf that they put together so shoddily that it started doing a Leaning Tower of Pisa thing almost immediately. The design was pretty, but the load-bearing and support were pretty well unthought-out ad required some E@L work to reinforce. I think I posted last year about the difficulties of finding a decent handyman store in Singapore, that's when I was looking for something to use to restore the shelf's verticality. It is now about 98% up and down. It'll never lean over any further, trust me!

The books on display include a biography of DaVinci, not because of the Brown abomination, but because he is left-handed and a genius, therefore like me. ("I have so often seen how people come by the name of genius; in the same way, that is, as certain insects come by the name of millipede — not because they have that number of feet, but because most people won't count up to fourteen." — Georg Christoph Lichtenberg) Further along my literary bio shelf, there's some stuff on Kafka visible, bios of Anthony Burgess, Proust, Kerouac, PK Dick, George Johnston, Malcolm Lowry, C.S. Lewis (a present from my religious sister), Dorothy Parker, Orwell, Proust, Marlowe, Frank Moorhouse's wonderful wonderful book on the Martini (sort of autobiographical), Rilke and Lou Andreas Salome, Swinbourne, Tolkien and finally Van Gogh (about the women in his life).

Down below, the next shelf is a bit mixed between history, science and food. Peter Gay's books on the Enlightenment (overlit) on the left, then a book on the Dodo (about species extinction), some kitchen science (love it!), Harold Bloom out of place with his explication on the essential Westen reading list, a coupla Tim Flannery's books on global warming etc, then behind Izzy, Fast Food Nation, across to Omnivore Dilemma and Ian Banks on whiskey on the far left (our right) of Iz.

Bottom shelf (actually the floor) there is a misfiled Roald Dahl, as this is meant to be the health section, with Plague Race (about the determining the plague vector to be fleas - research done in Hong Kong only 100 years ago), Susan Sontag on Illness as Metaphor, Roy Porter on the history of medicine, then a mix-up: a book on The Australian Labor Party in the 60's (definitely not something Izzy would read), Zusak's Book thief (what's fiction doing on this bookshelf? - see I do have author's starting with Z), some social history by John Raulston Saul and behind Izzy's bum, appropriately enough, are two well-thumbed volumes of de Sade.

Not a bad representation of my interests. Now I need to get famous so it can be ME posing in front of them!

E@L


* I take that back. She is currently reading Bulgakov's Master and Margarita, which I see now (I have the magazine here) is on the shelf next to the DaVinci books! And I dont mean to imply that she doesn't read such heavy books, it's just she is more into film, architecture ahd global politics and economics, most of which which she keeps on the shelf in her room That is all I meant.

Death Plane For Billy


+



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I'm guessing that whoever the late Billy Mays was, his death will not have been in vain. It seems something hit his head during a bad landing on Saturday ("I got a hard head", he said on Twitter) and when he woke up at home on Sunday he was dead. (In other words he didn't wake up, right? That was some E@L black humour there. No disrespect intended.) Most people (OK, me) are pre-empting the autopsy and think he suffered from a sub-dural haematoma (or an epidural: Sheesh, you thought, you thought! Three years of nursery school and you think you know it all?) from the landing incident.

I'm hoping this "celebrity" death will mean airlines will now actually enforce overhead luggage size and weight restrictions so that more people will have to check-in their huge, obviously over-size bags and a) not take up all the space for my briefcase and b) threaten my life if there is a bad landing or turbulence

I am so sick of getting on a plane and not being able to find somewhere to put my briefcase because some "frequent flier" guru thinks he is really smart and can escape fate. He thinks that a large bag taken on as hand-luggage will expedite his post-landing exit after the immigration queue and help get in first for the taxi queue. Ha!

When I come into most Asian airports, say HK or Changi, OK I usually have 32C or 32D - considered the best economy seats ont he plane, aisle, 2nd row of the front economy section, so I get off straight after those in Business Class - PLUS I go through the express queue at immigration (I love you, APEC card!) and STILL my checked in bag is usually there, already on the baggage-carousel! (I do have "Priority" luggage of course, being Gold Class. Tee-hee.) What's the point in rushing. Even if it's not there, big deal, I have a taxi queue coming up, then a traffic jam. Why stress out about a coupla minutes after a 7hr flight?

The only time I have ever been stopped and assessed for luggage size was in Melbourne. They weighed my overnight bag which would just squeeze in the steel frame of the size checking thingie, but it was overweight, so, as grumpily as you'd imagine, I had to go back and check it in. But that didn't hold me up at HK when I arrived, and it saved me searching for an overhead place to stow it in the already packed compartments. Therefore, WTF, am I in such a rush to get home or to my hotel? No. Calm... I always check my bag in now. I've only "lost" luggage four times, in over 10 years of frequent international travel.

Please check your bags, fellow travellers on life's journey, especially if you're on the same plane as me. Do not give me a slowly expanding Bill Mays sub-dural whenever we crashland with a bump.

E@L

Death Cab For Taxi Driver in HK

I was going to post the about the amazing article before this one (scroll down after you've checked this one out), and maybe if I have time I'll chat tomorrow about building standards over here, but for the moment, this is the one that grabbed me!

What is it about Australians and taxi drivers in Asia? E@L has never been quite so pissed off as to be complicit in one's death! Holy shit!

E@L

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Infinite But Not A Bit Funny

[Predendum (post facto prologue!) - For all you peoples' info, all of the following argument is wrong... This is not the way to determine that the set of Reals is greater than the set of Rationals, or that the Reals are uncountable. I fracked it up, merely ended with a collection of the same infinities. It's his trick (actually Dedekind's suggestion) of making ALL rational numbers end in a string of 9s that make Cantor diagonal proof work. 1.5 = 1.499999,,, for e.g. Still it was 2am when I was thinking it, and it had never been successfully worked out before until 1870 or whatever, what can you expect? Also I didn't do much math after year 10.]

~~~~~~

I was about to go to bed - it's 1:30am and I have a flight first thing in the morning, but I have to get this down.

I think I have had an epiphany about German mathematician George Cantor's uncountable numbers. Surely David Foster Wallace did not explain it at all well in "everything and more"… Too many words and symbols mixed together, not enough diagrams. I am going to try it with just words and no symbols - I am dylfectiv on math symbols.

Anyway he had just tried to explain how to make an irrational number from a rational one, and I JUST DIDN'T GET IT. Then somehow, I understood, not the way he explained it, but my way, with words not equations and symbols.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now, it is the irrational numbers that make the Number Line a continuum, the rational numbers (integers and fractions) even though there are an infinite number of them, they count for zero on the number line, as they are points and points are dimensionless, therefore they cannot contribute to the actuality of the number line. Get it? No? Move on. This is what I am going to "prove" slash "explain". (When I should be asleep. Maybe I am asleep and this is just a dream.)

Here are my words. Sorry, no diagrams either.

OK, take a breath.

Firstly. Again, a point is a DIMENSIONLESS site, say the place where a number is. A line is a solid continuum made up of points, between two points. Huh? How can a line be solid if it is made up of dimensionless points? I'm glad you asked that question.

Let's say I want to count all the numbers on the Number Line between 1 and 2. That is to say, all the points (numbers) on the line of points (numbers) between 1 and 2.

Go.

1. The first rational number in this line is the integer 1, rational because it can be written as (an infinite number of) fraction(s): 1 = n/n, e.g. 2/2, 3/3, etc…, and, cue the drum roll, it can also be considered to be equal to the infinitely long number 0.99999...recurring. How? See footnote. (My God, I am turning into DFW!)

2. 0.99999…recurring, is therefore, like I said, a rational number (equal to 1).

3. I can make a new number, one that is not a rational from this, just by changing the second 9 to an 8. Like this...

4. 0.98999…recurring. However, it is NOT a rational number, I just made it up. It can’t be written as a fraction.

5. Trust me. My son knows someone who is good at math. Next.

6. 0.99899…recurring is NOT a rational number either. Next.

7. 0.99989…recurring is also NOT a rational number. Next.

8. Etc., etc, literally and mathematically, ad infinitum

9. From the first rational, 1, I have created an infinite set of irrational numbers, each just slightly different from the last.

10. If I now tried to COUNT all those irrational numbers based on 1 (0.99999recurring), I could show that there is a 1 to 1 correspondence with the integers, meaning that it is a COUNTABLE set.

11. By counting, I mean that I could go: 1 is to 0.99999…, 2 is to 0.9899999…, 3 is to 0.998999…, 4, 5, 6, etc…

12. However I would never be able to STOP COUNTING those new irrational numbers because there are an infinite number of them. They are countable, yes, look, I am counting them, but they are infinite.

13. However there is this NEXT rational number that I want to continue the counting procedure on… 1.1, (or whatever the next rational number is…) I have to get to 2, remember.

14. Hang on, I can't start to COUNT this number, or the irrational variations I can make from it, because I am STILL COUNTING the FIRST INFINITY of the irrational variations of the first rational number. That counting will never end. It is infinite. Duh!

15. The second irrational and the rest, are UNCOUNTABLE is the sense that I am still waiting to get to count them...

16. In other words, infinity is busy, taken up with the first of the rational number, I can’t use it anymore to count the second. Or the third. Or the rest.

17. I'd have to have ANOTHER infinity, one infintity in fact for each rational number, of which there are already an infinite number, remember, between 1 and 2.

18. In fact, therefore (don't you wish I'd not say that word?), I'd need an INFINITY OF INFINITIES to get from (to count from) 1 to 2 on the Number Line, because I need to include all those uncountable irrationals.

19. If we removed all the rational numbers (an infinite number), the number line would be just as solid, because it is so jam-packed solid that it wouldn't missed just ONE infinity. It is made up of an infinity to the power of infinity of all the irrational numbers.

20. This is a new class of infinity. An uncountable infinity. Aleph, is I think what Cantor called it.

21. This is the continuum of the number line, by my interpretation of the clues I got from DFW explaining George Cantor's definition. I think. (If not, whatever. I'm using it - it means I can keep reading the book!)

22. This sort of reasoning about infinity is what got Galileo in trouble.

23. Only God can be Infinite because infinity is Perfect.

24. Galileo was threatened by the Inquisition.

25. George Cantor went mad. And religious.

~~~~~~~~~~~

I may be wrong, but I am proud of myself for at least doing a little bit of abstract thinking for once in my life, nonetheless.

I am going to bed. It's now AFTER 2:30am. I have a finite time to sleep.

Damn. After I do the footnote...


E@L

Footnote:

1. Let x = 0.9999999recurring.
2. Multiple x by 10.
3. 10x = 9.999999recurring.
4. Subtract x
5. 9x = 9.0
6. Divide by 9
7. x = 1
8. Therefore 1 = 0.999999recurring.

With The Lot

Bruce had an added exaggerated loll to what had once been called his "unfortunate" gait this evening. Four hours in the car yesterday morning, an afternoon on the vinyl seat in the cop-shop's backroom, cheap sheets in the hotel last night and no talcum to lubricate the creases (it had been a rough and spontaneous trip to Buriram to bail a mate out of prison), then another fours hours in the car back to Bangkok, to deliver the chastened mate off to his non-too pleased wife, and then through the traffic jams to his own apartment off Wireless Rd. Sweat rash, flaring around his tackle. "Out of action" until this settles down. In his immuno-suppressed condition he was susceptible to such hazards. He made his way slowly to the pharmacy on Sukhomvit Rd just up from the Marriott where Pei, the lovely attendant, found some of the appropriate cream - part hydrocortisone, to take away the itching, and part mycolytic to kill any fungal spores - in fact the base cream probably did most of the hard work.

Pei was big-boned girl for a Thai, well-fed with it, though she presented an amazing, classically beautiful face that kept drawing your eyes back to it: the gentle line of her nose, her full lips, her huge almond eyes and those not-too-high cheekbones. To the Thai men however she was too brown-skinned and hence working class. In a westerner like Bruce's opinion, she should get an eating disorder or hit the horse and become a cat-walk model. She should be selling magazine covers, instead she was selling people like Bruce lotions to rub on their balls.

Bruce usually picked up his medications - a wide range we won't discuss here - from small shops like this. Girls like Pei and the splendidly grumpy pharmacist Boochit (Bruce's called him Bullshit) made the effort of topping up his prescriptions a pleasant chore.

He came around the corner into Soi 4 slowly, past the fried cockroach and locust stands, gingerly stepped down to the road to avoid a herd (two) of baby elephants on the footpath and waddled eventually to the entrance to the infamous Nana Entertainment Plaza. He looked in briefly, saw the gaudy sign of Pharaohs and thought back to the pre-Thaksin days when all sorts of things counted as "entertainment" and how the shows were now a poor shadow of their previous shadowy hyperbole.

He had a sour stomach from the food in Buriram. There were locust stalls there too - this was not just a Nana phenomenon to shock gullible tourists - but the hot and sour Isaan soup he'd had for early lunch had sat there for hours. He needed a western food fix.

The small stall stands squarely at the Plaza entrance. You have to walk past it to go in, but Bruce was not wasting him time tonight as he couldn't take a girl (or two) home with this broad purple rash (it looked like a bruise in the dim light of his bathroom) all around his arse.

Minn was a short girl, as chubby as Pei, but with a square puffy face and not at all attractive - except when she smiled. Any slight joke would break her face in half with immense perfectly aligned teeth in a captivating and contagious smile. Bruce gave her a wink, and she recognized him at the rear of the solid contingent of European men around the front of her stand.

"Sawaddee na klhup, khun Minn," he wai-ed to her. Her hands were full of utensils so she could only continue her brightest of smiles. She had on a yellow 'We Love The King' polo-shirt under her grey apron.

"Sawadee kaaa, khun Bruthe, she said as she flipped three burgers over on her hotplate.

She arranged another bun to toast at the side of the hotplate, pulled up a patty and dropped into a small puddle of fresh oil, cracked an egg into a ring and laid some bacon down. The usual for Mr Bruthe.

"Best burgers in town," said Bruce to the big fella in front/next to him who had noticed the special attention given to him by the short-order chef and was staring blatantly. "You live here, or are you a tourist?"

In a soft Aussie accent the embarrassed man replied, "Live in Singapore, come here one week a month. For work… Look didn't mean to stare, just that... well, your Thai is very good."

"Yeah, this is the place for burgers in Bangkok. Fuck McDonalds and Burger King, eh? I been living here since 2003. All my mates we... if we are in this part of town, we always come here for a burger. You're an Aussie too, eh?" asked Bruce.

The other man nodded. His 70Bht burger was delivered wrapped into a tight triangle of butcher's paper with a perfect one-third of it exposed, just begging to be chomped into.

"Certainly looks good," said the man as he admired its tidy presentation - lettuce, onion, tomato, beef patty, squirt of mustard, squirt of tomato sauce, fry-toasted bun, neatly tucked into the white paper which was folded in such a way as to hold any juices.

"Come over to the bar here, grab a beer to wash that down," said Bruce. "If you got time."

"Yeah, I've got time."

"Wanna tell you story. True story. What's your name, lad?"

The man, no longer a lad, had dripped some juice from his first bite of burger onto his goatee where it eventually fell onto the striped t-shirt stretched over his protuberant stomach, and it joined a stain from his lunch, or breakfast, or yestrerday's dinner... "My mates call me The Expat at Large," he said. "Please to meet you…?"

"Bruce," he said. "You can call me Bruce…"

"Like the sketch in Monty Python," laughed

E@L

Friday, June 26, 2009

I Know He WAS Bad, Really Really Awful In Fact, I Know It

But I just never got it. The Michael phenomenon and all that hyper shit. (I think Princess Di and ELvis were wankers as well. Schopenhauer and Hamlet are my only heroes. And Joyce [James ALoyious, not my maid, first name also Joyce so my flatmate reminds me] - no I don't admire the person that Joyce was either. Now I think about it, fuck, I don't admire ANYBODY who is classically admirable!)

OK, I liked the song Black & White quite a bit, even sang it once in a karaoke bar in Indonesia, but everything else about him was tacky and weird and non-spontaneous and perverted (not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that) and no, plastic surgery does not involve replacing the flesh of the body with high molecular weight polymers such as ploystyrene or polyvinyl chloride, so no, he cannot be melted down into toys for the children to play with (instead of vice versa).

Enough. Wacko Jacko, gone.

E@L

Found in iPhone Notes Section (Now Synchable!)

In The Sphere of E@L

Female worker on the construction of a building on the hospital grounds. Mixing a trough of grey mortar with a long handled hoe-like tool, she pauses to take an edge of the red scarf wrapped from under her work helmet around her neck and face to mop the sweat from her brow as she follows me walk past. Our eyes meet and after a long, bored, completely unembarrassed look she turns back to her work. The other builders, all women strangely enough, are watching me as well and their work efforts seem to slow down... as if my passing body has brought a focal disturbance to the passage of time in their universe. People waiting on the wooden benches along the corridor also have their eyes upon me. Is it me being a farang? Or is it me being a FAT farang. Small children stop their shenanigans around mothers and grandmothers to look up, quiet, awed. A silence and slowness follow me in a sphere of visual influence. I am always aware of this but after 10 years or more it only makes me smile.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Flying Vegetables Of Phitsanoluk

(I didn't get to experience this directly, only as a pillar of steam and smoke rising above a small cooking station, sort of portable restaurant, across the river, accompanied by the echo of an exultant cry, in the twilight, during my birthday celebrations.)

Here in Phitsanoluk they have a traditional 'flying vegetables' dish that grants good luck to those who fork out the extra cash to invest in this interesting local culinary ritual.

They make what they call 'pak bung loi fa' out of the vegetable you might know as the ubiquitous 'morning glory', cooked with oyster, soy and nam pla sauces. It is stir-fried for a while then the whole bunch is tossed into the air as all attending cry out "yay" or the equivalent in Thai, and the waiter tries to catch as much of it on the hastily interposed serving plate as he or she can. This gravitational delivery gives the food the appearance, to a person appropriately myopic, of falling from the sky, and being therefore, in the suspended disbelief of these auspiciously predisposed locals, a gift directly from the gods.

The gods of course reside above us, in the heavens, cooking cheap garden clippings.

The normal non-aerial version of this otherwise common dish would be 20-30 baht, but the flying vegetable presentation is metamorphosed in the air to a propitious feast worthy of ten times that sum. Value added. The same dish, if it was accidentally dropped on to the floor during cooking, would not be transformed by gravity in the same way, one assumes, and might not cost so much.

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[While I was tapping these notes out between today's two demonstrations, the team was negotiating with the surgeon. Sale! A range of machines, total deal 6 million Baht, about S$250,000. A nice mornings work!]

~~~~~~~~~~~

Two Waters

A drinks trolley is placed by the end of the table. Six men drinking 100 Pipers whiskey on ice. The waitress in a beer-labelled uniform (one of four different waitresses and beers) pours a shot of whiskey, tops up the tall glasses by pouring water AND soda-water in from two bottles at the same time. Then stirs. Some men have ordered her brand of beer. The bill is generated from the number of empties on the bottom shelf.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Cannot have the fried fish with spicy sauce and herbs. Not heb. What do you recommend? Turns page, turns page. This one. What is it? Fish... fried... with herbs and spice sauce. Silence. Straight faces. No-one but E@L gets the irony. Goddamn, he says, let's have that one instead.



Bats skittering across the river surface for the twilight insects. No-one else at the table can speak proper English. Again. I keep smiling; it's my job. Should I learn more Thai? Or more Japanese? Or more Chinese? Kena one Singlish, lor...

~~~~~~~~~~~

Green vegetable squares in gaeng som soup is a type of acacia leaf, cha om, made into an omelet and cut up.



Yummy. Rough Northern "jungle curry" flavour and texture to the soup.

~~~~~~~~~~

Just because we have no religion doesn't mean we have to have no morals. That's merely coincidence.

~~~~~~~~~~

That the universe was created for you? Man that's some hefty shit you have to live up to.


[etc, etc...]

E@L

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Birthday Treat For E@L

I know that I've made unambiguously outrageous remarks about Thai massages in the past (back when E@L was funny and outrageous), but tonight I thought I was going to need to have several thousand x-rays and multiple orthopaedic surgeries rather than just a coupla wet-ones to mop up the usual oil-slick and associated mess.

Wham bam, take that Sam! 2 hour Traditional Thai massage in a legit place, open area, so no funny business. In fact there were electricians working in the room at the time... Nice older masseuse, no English, she worked harder on my adductors and my tensor fascia latae (not a coffee) than anyone, ever, including my ridiculously expensive deep muscle therapist guy in Singapore. (That was an attempt to free up any nerve entrapment that might be causing my peripheral neuralgia. Felt good, in a bad way, bad in a good way, but hell it was $100 for 40mins! - and didn't have any effect on my feet.)

Though today... Cheeeeerist I haven't my legs spread so far apart since that time in South Africa... (long story: crazy Zulu party, amyl nitrate, herd of wild hippotami, you know the drill...)

Speaking of drills -- elbows drilling into my thighs, knees pummelling my back, thumbs and then elbows again drilling into my shoulders, YEOW...!

The only happy thing about the ending was that IT ENDED! Hope I can tell you tomorrow that it was worth (Bht350 for 2 hours) it!

~~~~~~~~~~~~




Birthday dinner on the banks of the Nan river in Phitsanoluk in North Thailand was with a few colleagues - nothing like the festivities of the Big Five-0 from 2007 - but still, a pleasant enough evening. They didn't have any wine and of course E@L hadn't thought ahead, so that was the only let-down. Had to celebrate with a cocktail!

  1. Gaeng som (sour soup with egged-vegetable squares and prawn)
  2. Wing bean salad with ground pork and dried chili - Prik paeng
  3. Pla nin manau (Steamed river fish with lemon and chili)
  4. Tod man pla (Fishcakes)
  5. Yum boon sen (Glass noodle salad with pork and chili - the litle green toefuckers - I'll be excreting hot coals tomorrow)
  6. Haxen !! (German style pork knuckle with those green chili again in an optional sauce)
  7. Broccoli with prawns and onion in nam pla (fish sauce)
  8. Steamed rice
  9. Birthday cake - sponge cake with chocolate and candied almond slivers on top.
  10. Washed down with several draft Heineken (Hi Nik) and a Maitai (My Thai)



E@L blows

Monday, June 22, 2009

My Mind Taken By Aliens

I couldn't help but think, while Liam Neeson was casually dispatching yet another "bad" guy in Taken, the guy in the lift, of the multiple ironies involved. Here's another security guard just doing his job and soon enough he's unnecessarily dead in yet another gruesome film-o-genic way. Hang on, isn't this exactly the part-time job Neeson's character was doing twenty minutes ago? Obviously the camaraderie for the fellow toilers in the field he evinced in the opening BBQ sequence doesn’t extend to foreign workers. Bang bang, shoot 'em up , karate chop, but America is not a big one on unionized labor is it?

And by shooting him in each shoulder, then in the legs, I couldn't help but wonder: isn't this six-packing such an Irish thing to do?

Body-count and car chases. That's this movie. Total mindless crap - cut AWAY from the fracking chase is what I was thinking... (and it was the only time I needed to think while watching it. Higher brain function not required on the voyage.)

Oh, gentle reader, I know you. You will all love it, no doubt. It's ENTERTAINING you will say. Sometimes one needs entertainment. Well fuck off. It is NOT entertaining to me. I prefer the highly cerebral movies like Dead Man, something by Jodorowsky, or maybe Predator and of course Aliens.

Actually, Taken's strength (yes, I did enjoy the bright lights and loud noises for a while - I'm only human, just as susceptible as the rest of you morons) and its weakness is that it is just another of those completely bullshit stereotyped action flicks which I love making fun of that actually have a sinister underpinning that no-one else seems to get the first time they watch it...

This is yet another movie whose ultimate but unstated aim is to reinforce American xenophobic paranoia by continually showing how foreigners, particularly Arabs of course, are evil, corrupt and heartless. And the one-man Irish-American bulletproof army goes in - because it's HIS DAUGHTER we're talking about - with a morality down as shallow as the "revenge = justice" level, packed with enough inane stupidity that any rational person would tear their brain out through their nose with a hooked knitting needle rather than think about the possibility of this being possible. What happened to the girl he rescued from the brothel? Where did he get an IV pack and "fluid" for infusion? In short it's the type of movie which does well at the box-office because it reinforces family values, like murder, and fortunately statistical evidence has proven that 98.5% of the movie watching public are fucking idiots.

Why is it a hit? Because it is fast food cinema, efficient at surging the Dopamine; exciting, high-octane, reptilian-brain food.

~~~~~~~~~~~

But hang on, what's with Liam's face? Has he been splurging on Preparation-H eye cream or -- SCOOP! -- is it that Liam Neeson has had the bags under his eyes done?

OMG HE'S HAD AESTHETIC SURGERY DONE! In the early scenes, I just couldn't look him in the robot-like face. What a wanker. Yes, yes, it's a major shame that his beautiful wife died, etc,…

But why the fuck do actors get this sort of vanity work done?* Do they think we're not going to notice? Do they think we are stupid? (Check stats quoted above.) Famous people should NOT LISTEN to their minders, to their publicity agents, to their stylists and mentors and advisers. There is not exception to this rule: men who have facial plastic surgery for aesthetic reasons deserve to have their skin peel off after a day or two in the sun - or whatever was the premise of the intensely chaotic Darkman, Sam Raimi's Neeson vehicle from nearly 20 years ago (also on the SQ film program).


End interlude

~~~~~~~~~~

Taken. Phomn Penh-like curtain brothels on a construction site in Paris. Reality? I'll bet all the naïve little American girls are just queuing up to go to Paris after this one. Not.

Surely, thinks, the American French amity levels are going to be at an all time high after this movie as well. When you consider the terrible hit their friendship took after France told the USA (and Britain and Australia) not to be fucking idiots and sex up the "intelligence" data on a pretence to gain some tiny molehill of legitimacy for the incredibly stupid idea of invading Iraq back in 2003. Well, it turned out, 'someone' was mort wrong on that one, eh?

Well, what's a few "Je vous ai dit ainsi"s between friends?

And the biggest irony of all - Taken was written by Frenchman Luc Besson.

E@L

"I told you so" - French translation by Babelfish.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Novel Idea



I have decided (another decision made at 2am when I couldn't sleep due to the new meds being pathetic and making things worse) to stop writing on this blog before lunch and twittering away on Facebook and to spend at least two hours every morning - 9am to 11am, for example - writing a novel. Not necessarily my novel, mind you. ANY novel would do. Even a story, short medium or long. This enforced sitting with a pen from my new writing kit (see above) in hand and my novel-writing notebook (a present from Mercer Machine almost exactly two years ago) in front in me seems to be the only possible way I get to make a start.

I think that if I get to the office on time, this would the ideal place to perform this task. I can't do it at home as I probably just keep organizing my pron files, cataloguing them by number of participants, number of observers, language (mainly Japanese), flora, fauna and the amount of squint-eyed defocusing that allows me to perceive the relevant anatomy through the typical Japanese hatching. I don't know what Japanese genitals actually look like. Fuzzy things with anti-aliased chequered outlines I can only presume. Having a cock with all those edges must hurt. No wonder the girls (dogs, horses, etc...) all go "ooh, ooh", and look away, their eyes closed in pain. I don't know how the Japanese manage to find the will to procreate, it seems such an unpleasant experience. Plus by the far the majority of their spermatozoa seem to end up in procreatively neutral places, a finding that explains the current downturn in birth-rates in Japan.

So with blank paper in front of me, not pron, I hope soon to make a start. I think it might be best If I follow the sage advice of many wise dead writers and "Write What You Know About". What DO I know about? Japanese pron! I might start my novel with a story about two (or more) fuzzy genitaliated Japanese people who have weird sex on public transport. Now, at last, I'm in my comfort zone...

E@L

Thursday, June 18, 2009

English Journalism - Oxymoron?

Or just moronic? Fuck me, crop circles make The Telegraph.


Phoenix crop circle may predict end of the world
Crop circle experts believe the latest pattern to be discovered, a phoenix rising from the flames in Wiltshire, may give a warning about the end of the world.





Can Erik Von Daniken be far behind?

I love the comment from Felicity -

"Publishing such rubbish only predicts one thing: the end of the intelligent world.


E@L

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Last Thoughts Before Trying To Sleep...

Hence I am up blogging them...

~~~~~~~~~~~

I have this gut-feeling that I am a rational being.

I at first thought that I should try experimentally to prove this, but I don't feel like doing it anymore.

By thinking this, did I disprove it?

~~~~~~~~~~~

Goodnight. Hope you can get some sleep, I know this will be rattling around my poor brain for...

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzze@lzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sweeeeeeeet!

I'm in Tokyo and the Japan soccer team are in Melbourne getting their butts kicked! Result, in front of a full house (about 100,000) at the MCG: - Australia 2 - 1 winners!

My only regret is that I had left the restaurant with about 30 colleagues before I heard the final score! Thanks to No1 son for helping me cheer the win over the phone!

I'd put up a video but I can't find one just yet...

I still have four hours of meetings tomorrow morning to get to rub it in...

E@L

(Not that I really care about soccer...)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Begorrah, A Shiteful Bloomsday Ya Bleedin' Bastards

Well, I did have a Bloomsday story I was going to tell you about chasing Joyce's *alleged* Deathmask through the bogs of County Kerry but I don't have time now as me dear old mum (as Irish as the day is short in Bantry Bay in da winter) was on the phone for 2 bloody hours telling me I should be a better communicator and that all this internet rubbish was shite and onions and there's no better way to communicate than like a bloody hoooooman beeeeeen, with da voice talkin' from one person to d'other person, an' all!

An' all, an' all. An' all. (Keerrist, I seem to be channelling Old Bitter Balls - is it yourself?* - here.)

Anyway merry inner organs to all of my readers (beasts and fowls to a man or woman - excepten' the pregnant ones) and if I never write on the intergneck again it's mum's fault. Catholic guilt, you know.

Silence. Exile. All need now is a touch of cunning lingualism

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In Tokyo for a few days. Sushi, mmm. No sake, damn it! ~~Uuurpp~~ belch, pardon! Mmm, sushi again...

E@L

* (Joke which I heard somewhere recently (OBB?) but sort of forgot so I'm trying to do it again...)

An Irishman bumps into another Irishman.
"Well, hello! Is it yourself?"
"Ach to be sure, it is. And aren't you Charles Linehan, himself?"
"No, I'm not the man Linehan."
"Then I don't know yourself."
"Well then, here we are and it's neither of us."

Or something like that...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Why America Lost The War in Iraq




E@L

Shut Up And Go Shopping

Has Singapore realised the goal of western eschatological economic and political aims? Is Singapore the ultimate Western society, ironically placed right here in the Orient? Ruled by benign despotism as an anti-democratic free market, guided, thanks to the suppression of free-speech and self-censorship of brain-washed intellectuals, over-paid politicians and under-achieving journalists, by a propaganda machine (four pages on the Minister Mentor in Saturday's paper shaking hands with those who are prepared to meet him in Malaysia! Four!) that runs the media and is essentially urging everyone to just "shut up and go shopping"... (80% of all pages, including those showing photos or stories of the MM, consist of advertisements.)

To be cattle* with credit cards...

And everyone shuts up, and they go shopping.

Isn't this what every other world leadership really wants? To be in charge when the perfection of society means that the race is won? Can The Rapture be surely far away now?



Further reading : -

More about The Stillborn GodMore about Black MassMore about The Unconscious Civilization


E@L


* No wonder the common theme of one major advertising company (an off-shot of the Government run "private" transport group) here is mindless cud-chewing cows.

Sigh...

Ooh, look, Eqyptian cotton 600TC sheets** are 50% off! Moo... Moo... Moove out of my way, beeaatch!

**OMG, how brilliantly comfortable!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Curious Case of Making a Movie As Boring As Benjamin Button.

zzzzzzzzzz, ssiewwww, mi mi mi mi mi


zzzzzzzzzz, ssiewwww, mi mi mi mi mi


zzzzzzzzzz, ssiewwww, mi mi mi mi mi


zzzzzzzzzz, ssiewwww, mi mi mi mi mi

~~~~~~~~~

I aged about 200 years in only the first 4 hrs of this exercise in indulgence movie.

E@L

Crowded Nest / Pain

Something for all the Singaporean parents out there. I noticed on my iGoogle's WikiHow link.

How to get your adult children to move out of the family home.

Do what I did. When No1 son turned 18, *I* left home and moved to Sydney.

Except, according to my taxi-driver the other day, everyone in Singapore (excluding him) would prefer to pack for Perth (p4P).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A propos of nothing above, I am giving up the booze.

For two nights now I have been kept awake by the unwanted return of those bad old ultrasensitive toes and the sore feet. Not so coincidentally I had a few drinks each night, margaritas and red wine last night, beers on Thursday. Mmm not good. Me no like pain. Looks like alcohol does something to the Moclobemide like, hey, block it totally - and all my other tabs as well! I had to get up and taken some codeine at 4am just ot get 3 or 4 hours of kip. This was pain that I haven't had before the Morton's neuroma operation 18 months ago, before I started taking any pain-killers at all, the Lyrica and Tramadol.

Incredibly unpleasant choice.

Seek pleasure yet escape pain. Aristotle? or

E@L

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cretan

I am not posting anything today.


E@L

Thursday, June 11, 2009

T4

Hey, we paid a bit extra and sat through it Gold Class, but I enjoyed Terminator Salvation after a few beers. Others may have missed bits as you can't pause for a toilet break at the movies! - but bladder of iron E@L managed it all the way through!

Dude, the special effects were great. It's a wonder no-one got hurt when that big robot grabbed them! Almost like it wasn't real.

Terrific also of Sam Worthington to take that hole in the head just for the movie!

It had everything, including "the nod (slow)", the "tedious and unnecessary (in the world of the movie) explanatory sequence", and "the incredibly fast-paced action-edits grinding to a cervical spine whip-lashing halt for the last 5-10 minutes of treacle paced schmaltz", a la LOTR, Gladiator, and just about everything since but no excluding Battleship Potemkin...

This is why I love the ending of the Director's Cut of BladeRunner, also with its "nod (slow)", but NO TREACLE PACING!

Having said all that, I mindlessly enjoyed T4 tonight until... hang on, no-one went back in time to rescue Saruh Connuh!! WTF? NOOooooo, don't tell me...

They'll be back!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The whole grandfather paradox (My picture is fading! Doc! Doc!) thing *starts* to make less and less sense the further you stretch the time-travel premise.

OK, I'll stop trying to be logical at this point...

Get to the choppppuuuuuuhhhhhhhh... (private Predator-reference joke.)

E@L

You Turn Me Right Round Baby

That E@L last blog post do your head in? Maybe this is why...




Found at Andy's Trouser To Grow Into.

E@L

Furnishings For Another Room

When Louis Ferndinand Déstouches a.k.a. Céline was captured and imprisoned for supposed collaboration after WWII, he started writing his 'fiction' again.

His undeniable masterpiece of WWI, the Belgian congo, Detroit, and other existential nightmares was "Voyage au Bout de la Nuit" - (Céline was always raving about his "Voyage!") - original translation by John H.P. Marks, new translation by Ralph Mannheim. (Writing this post was an attempt to chew up time so I wouldn't go in buy this. I'm going now anyway... sigh.)

More about Journey to the End of the Night

The towering success of this bleak monster haunted him and even in his hard times of poverty and rejection "the professors" (often emissaries from George Plimpton's Paris Reveiw) would forever seek him out to talk to him about this work, often getting it wrong, as many others after them would. ("I: But your feeling is rather one of despair? L-F C: Why not at all. What is this business about despair?") Out of a sense of frustration he wrote a book to answer all their possible questions and get them off his back... You get the impression in some of PR interviews (reproduced in the Penguin editions of 'North') that while the gentle medical practitioner Dr Déstouches really did resent their intrusions, yet he lapped them up as well. What he really needed, he always complained to them, was money not fame. He claimed to be forever in debt to his publishers at Gallimard...

More about Conversations With Professor Y More about North

Céline didn't actually collaborate in the classic sense (he wasn't a Nazi and he was exonerated by a military tribunal in 1951), but for being so outrageous as to be a literary genius and (now ex-)hero and yet write the insanely anti-semitic diatribes of Bagetelle pour un massacre, École des cadavres, and Les beaux draps, he had to be condemned somehow. Céline was not of course alone in his unsavory opinions. French anti-semitism was pretty severe and many did facilitate the Holocaust in more physical ways than Céline. See for e.g. 'Bad Faith' for details on Louis Darquier, the "Commissioner For Jewish Affairs" in Vichy France.

More about Bad Faith

But nevertheless the Bagettelles, et al were there, a chain of infamy around his outspoken neck. His assets were seized and he was imprisoned in Denmark for a year without trial. Céline was pretty furious... mad you might say... about how the French had in his opinion turned coats and let him down. The result was Féerie pour ue autre fois. It is the bridge between the relatively apolitical novels of the pre-war and his German war trilogy 'Castle To Castle', 'North,' and 'Rigadoon' (not to be confused with 'Brigadoon!') all of which have been available for quite some time in English. Finally the Féerie is available in English as 'Fable for Another Time!' There is only one more novel (Féerie... II) to be translated.

More about Fable for Another Time

The word 'Féerie' according to the translator, "can be translated as fairy tale, or fairyland, or enchantment, but it is not precisely any of these, rather a mixture of all three. Féerie also refers to a type of entertainment similar to pantomimes, popular at the turn of the twentieth century, in which a brightly lit stage threw out sparkling images of princesses, goblins, and the like to the delight of the children in the audience." Céline has a penchant for this sort of fabulous romance. Recall the work the narrator is laboring over in 'Death On The Installment Plan' - The Legend of King Krogold - maybe something Céline actually did try to write as a boy.

DOTIP is of course the book pseudo-goth-emo Neve Campbell is reading in Wild Things*.

More about Death on the Installment Plan
(* Could Kevin Bacon pull his pants any HIGHER in that movie?)

Neve's line: (cop looks quizzical at the book on her lap) "Céline. He had a pretty good line on what cheap fucks people are."


Like many people, I discovered Céline in the writing of Kurt Vonnegut Jr, whose posthumous latest is also on my desk here, Armageddon in Retrospect.

More about Armageddon in Retrospect

A truly fantastic person for other reasons, Vonnegut deserves much of the credit for keeping Céline's notoriety alive, in America at least, by talking about Céline in 'Slaughterhouse Five' (this link will take you to the Google reader - search for 'Celine'. I can't wait for the Guillermo Del Toro film remake in a few years) and also for writing the introduction to the German trilogy. Famously KVJr said he got a headache whenever he wrote about Céline. It would seem that KVJr's shrugging acceptance of things horrible was 180° to Céline's angry refusal to accept them, yet somehow the two writers click together...

More about Slaughterhouse-Five

So it goes. Céline claimed at one time to have been trepanned in the war (similar to the Aussie drill story, but before electric motors) for a head injury. Was he trying to explain his lunatic opinions or his crazed style? In actual fact he had a shoulder injury, while he spoke about being shell-shocked in 'Journey'. Other excuses include a ravaged childhood or just that he was plain crazy. He was probably just a person of his time with a gift for exaggeration and ranting. In his medical practice, he was unstintingly egalitarian and generous. A complete contradiction... Well fuck off, he'd say. I am what I am.



(Scroll down in the comments to those of 'arbereagle666' who provides some translation of the first 7 minutes.

e.g. "Celine: I never thought about violence, even I wrote this book with a lot of love, I denounced the reasons of the war, I saved a lot of people, the history gave me reason, but not the humans, this is a big difference. It was a book against the war. There is a difference between the opinion of the others and the facts.") [some spelling changes.]

I was actually looking for the Martin Amis, Clive James, one - here it is at Slate - where at abut 9:50 they splutter about Bagatelle and can't get past his deep antisemitism to speak (it would be so fascinating to hear their opinions, if they had any) of Céline's profound influence on Beckett, Kerouac, Bill Boroughs, not to mention Neve Campbell.

Turns out that James, who speaks at length on the savagery in 'Bagatelle', has only heard that 'Journey' "is supposed to be a good book." WTF Clive - you have read his worst writings but not his best? Amis hasn't read 'Journey' either: "I didn't get far...", and the conversation devolves into an interesting one nonetheless on artistic credibility in the face of overwhelming political reality. Why does the phrase "pompous ass" come to mind?

~~~~~~~~~~~

More about The Murder of Nikolai Vavilov

Nokolai Vavilov was the hard working geneticist whose brilliance was sacrificed by the Stalin regime in pursuit of the pseudo-science of Lysenkoism. Ironically, in this post's context, genetics were considered by Stalinist Russia to be a fascist science since the Germans used it to support their race-based policies. (Stalin hated Georgian Muslims, but there's nothing racist about that.) In the typical millenarianistic logic of all oppressive regimes, to be wrong politically was to be wrong in every other way as well; scientifically, religiously, and racially and therefore you stand in the way of the perfection of whatever vision it is they uphold. It is best for humanity if you just disappear. Gas-chamber, gulag, killing fields, inquisition, Insein prison in Rangoon, literary Coventry - just go away.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Also purchased in the last weeks:

Not every genius, literary or otherwise, escaped the war with their reputations unscathed. Einstein was one, Oppenheimer, not so much. Einstein at first warned of the Germans building an atom bomb yet was always a pacifist, making him a hero. Oppenheimer built the bomb for the Americans and became a pacifist afterwards, making him suspect. I might not have that right. Anyway, in this book I hope to find out what exactly was going on there.

Still waiting for Anobii to catch up - here's the Amazon link.



And finally, one more on mathematics. The Déscartes story this time. Also by Aczel, who wrote the Tryhard book in my previous book post.

More about Descartes's Secret Notebook

I'm having trouble tying this one in with the above ramble about Céline, but big
deal. Enough rambling, there's work to be done... Fuck off...

Armageddon! Armageddon! Armageddon out of here...


E@L

No Wonder I Have No Readers

Did you people SEE my last post?

E@L, what a total toe-fucking loser you are...

Take some Get A Life tablets, dude.

E@L

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Books Do Furnish A Room (or two)

Am I fucking-well insane?

More about World LightMore about FactotumMore about Some of Your BloodMore about The DirectorMore about The Decisive MomentMore about MiddlesexMore about Voltaire in ExileMore about The Jesuit and the SkullMore about The Sun and Moon CorruptedMore about Here Is Where We MeetMore about HothouseMore about The Notebook the Proof the Third LieMore about Between The Monster And The SaintMore about Scenes from a RevolutionMore about The Inverted WorldMore about The American Woman in the Chinese HatMore about Galileo Antichrist


Why?

The Laxness: mentioned by William T Vollman in his excellent afterword to the new edition of "Journey To The End Of The Night" as being closest to Celine's, for want of a better word, style. I resisted buying the new edition… Mannheim translates… Do'h, going to have to go back tomorrow… Celine - Martin Amis and Clive James can't get past the Bagatelles, which apparently is the politically correct stance these days. Jeez, it's not like Celine DENIED the Holocaust… He just sort of wanted it to happen faster, and to throw everyone else in for good measure.

The Bukowski: not actually the same cover as my edition, but I hadn't read it before. Matt Dillon's movie was excellent, much better than Mickey Rourke's impersonation of W.C Fields in Barfly.

The Sturgeon: how can you go past the guy who a) was the model for Kilgore Trout and b) created Sturgeon's Rule - *90% of everything is crap*.

The Ahndoril: I enjoyed a book about James Whale a few years ago, why shouldn't I enjoy this "novel" about Bergman?

The Lehrer: brain stuff, love it. Or I neurotransmit synaptically in an electric field that I do.

The Eugenidies: just finished 'The Virgin Suicides' last month. What a beautiful book. This guy is a master. Seven years between books. He's serious, we should be serious about him. People like Philip Roth who can pump out a novel in an afternoon, they might be OK but artistically they can fuck off, I haven't got the time for mere story-tellers.

The Davidson: saw a TV program about Voltaire once that said his wife kept him prisoner in his last days… wonder if that is confirmed here.

The Aczel: this guy wrote the book on Cantor that I listened to on the bus to Genting Highlands. There is also a traditional family Christmas joke about Tryhard du Charlatan that only I get.

The Ball: looked intriguing, science writer tries novel writing. Perpetual motion machines and Maxwell's field equations slash demon, reminds me of 'The Crying of Lot 49.' The scenes in the science magazine office and the nutters they have to deal with are obviously close to real life.

The Berger: started 'G' many moons ago, never finished, maybe I lost it. Maybe it's at my sister's place? My books in Australia, everywhere.

The Aldiss: Brian supported Anna Kavan in the '60's, the drug addicted slipstream (unclassifiable) writer I was reading a month or two ago. Brian is a bit of a wanker by all accounts, but whatever, the opening set-up scene is interesting.

The Agota Kristof: love the name! A quick glance to the blurbs inside - "There is enough kinky sex, perverse violence and general weirdness to match the best of Henry Miller, Jean Genet and Jerzy Kozinski." What, I am going to put it back on the shelf after reading that?

The Holloway: mentioned it the other day. I disagree with this ex Archbishop of Scotland, now "post religionist" who has an almost gnostic belief in evil as a reality - but then a character in the Ball novel (above) said: "It ('Paradise Lost') made me see that religion isn't about God. It's about man. Man and the devil, perhaps." Holloway I think pretty much goes with along with Michael Palin's summation at the end of 'The Meaning Of Life.' Just be nice sort of thing, plus go to church if you want. However, while people do evil things, I'd just temper it to point that not ALL people are capable of evil as he seems to imply (I haven’t finished it yet). He quotes some pretty pessimistic people - Zimbardo, John Gray…

The Harris: huh? Ryu Murakami? That's the wrong cover image! Try Amazon to see what I've actually linked to... Anyway, movie books… sometime good, sometimes crap. Got this for the 'Bonnie And Clyde' and 'The Graduate' insider gossip. E@L you beeaatch!

The Priest: 'The Prestige' was a terrific book, ambiguous and spooky - the two key elements which the movie failed to capture. I'm hoping this earlier S-F effort will entertain as well.

[Oops, these added after first posting... and then seeing two books still sitting there...]

The Maso: I have quite a few English experimental writers, but apart from Kathy Acker, not a lot of American ones. I have one book of Maso's essays -'Break Every Rule' - which I bought for the title alone.

The White: Galileo was actually in trouble for his work on "potential" infinity and "actual" infinity. Only God could be ACTUALLY infinite, by definition you see. Throw another Bruno on the fire Cardinal Biggles!


~~~~~~~~~~~~

I ask again, why with most of the novels I choose does Anobii.com say "no-one else has this on their shelf?" Why? Because I have no life. Books I have. Life, no.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Approximate Quote Of The Day, especially for E@L

"Worship knowledge and you will always feel stupid." (or words to that effect.) David Foster Wallace.

E@L

Drugs Must Be Kicking In

I was chatting to the taxi-driver this morning.





~~~~~~~~~~~

That's it.

E@L

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Jesus And A Gun

Abortion clinic manifestion of the risen Christ not really what the Doctor ordered... An oldie but a goldie, from The Onion.

~~~~~~~~~

And from Creepy, today's cartoon -



~~~~~~~~~

Also for your listening pleasure, how religious nutters can avoid becoming an abortion clinic killer: an interview with Richard Holloway, former Episcopal Prelate of Scotland, now an "after-religionist" (almost an atheist!) on ABC Australia. The book he is pushing is in front of me now - Between The Saint And The Monster.

Link to podcast page (not the file itself, don't panic). It's Sunday 31 May 2009, 2nd hour: a 21.5MB podcast.

"Interesting", my mum said. "You'd like it." No higher praise (of the podcast, not the book).

E@L

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Pill-box


Green, morning. Blue, evening.

E@L, home from golf (front 9: don't ask, back 9: par, bogey, bogey, par putt lipped out!, thunderstorm from hell!) hadn't updated his pillbox. That was tonight's task, after a back-muscle relaxing hot bath (massage tomorrow night!). The new medication in there is Moclobemide, which plays around with the serotonin complex (similar to Prozac, Effexor and Cymbalta, but different - there is no re-uptake inhibition) and may add some pain relief after it kicks in [by diminishing synaptic transmissions]. The Cymbalta I was on last year actually WORKED (there was even one day I that was not aware of my feet at all!) but played havoc with my prostate and other things and was intolerable for more than a month. Dr Hilarious is hoping that as Moclobemide has hardly any side-effects (which means it probably will do nothing) I will tolerate it better and maybe get something of the same relief effects... who knows.

[Interestingly, Moclobemide can be mixed with DMT (the presumed NDE endogenous factor) to produce an artificial Ayahuasca, the infamous South American jungle juice!]

Anyway, the golf-back is spasming, need to lie down. Sleep.

Moclobemide is not available in USA if you are wondering why here's an anti-depressant that isn't blasted at you 24/7 on the self-medication home-pharmacy channel.


E@L

(Why the gratuitous Michael Caine quote? Pillar-boxes are the old letter boxes you see. Telephone kiosk, pillar box, pill-box. Geddit? No? Neither do I, now! Actually I half-remember Pillar boxes as being Dr Who style telephone booths, but I was wrong. Sigh.)

Saturday, June 06, 2009

But Always At My Back I Hear...

E@L was walking alone, painful step by painful step, from Novena to his apartment along Newton Rd. He had picked up a book on Galileo ('Galileo Antichrist' - links to come in a few days) at the store there and was pondering that great man's efforts - this book, as does David Foster Wallace's 'Everything and More', point out that it was more than just his evidence-based belief in Copernicus's heliocentric system that upset the Church. Infinity, the domain of the only infinite being - God! So long ago, but the arguments continue, even though mathematically they were solved 100 years ago. So dead now, the good GG, not mention Dedekind and Weierstrass and George Cantor. Passed away. In all passing. Everyone is dead, or they are dying. E@L is not feeling so good himself - his stupid feet have those shooting pains going into his toes again, he thought that had cleared up.

Along the avenue, a blustery winds tosses the leaves at E@L from the tall, diagrammatically perfect trees. (Singapore's trees, amazing.) The wind seems to have a spooky aliveness to it, not merely the rush between two air-pressure differences, but something malevolent and unhappy. It seems that suddenly as he is aware of his body failing, growing old and decrepit, there is this rush, a precipitous falling away of his useful years, the charge of his approaching demise. He anxiously buys books to build a wall of protection against the winds of time - "When we buy books, we imagine we are buying the time to read them," said Schopenhauer, a quote spoken exclusively, one would think, for E@L. Buy time. To seek for a little bit more before the inevitable, is that such a crime?

Another man, in even more pain than him comes out from a side street, his wide buttocks bounce to the limp from both his bad hips. Even at E@L's hesitant pace he soon overtakes this not really so old man. He is aging too, faster than E@L, but does he think these thoughts? Is he cursed with such lonely musings on inevitability, inexorability and the incredibly short time that is left, for himself, for the man with bad hips, for this kid coming at them on a pushbike (OK, a bicycle!), for anyone... compared the vastness of eternity to come, and the 13 billion years gone. "In the long run we are all dead", said Keynes. In the short walk too, almost. In the blink of an eyes, the human race evolves, grows, crashes, taking half the planet with it...

Scattering leaves tossed at him again, the wind, always this rush, but this sensation of nothing worthwhile left to do (but his presentations went so well this week, were well received, considered so amusing the people thought he was an entertainer more than a trainer - why obviously so well liked does he feel this way, this dullness, as though of hemlock he had drunk) and there is such a short time to do it in... Down he flows, downstream.

"The only question left for the modern man is whether to commit suicide"... Camus. No wonder DFW topped himself (find something to believe in, don't shoot yourself in the head at 45, he says in "This is Water" ) at 46. It's a rational response to his deep and unrelenting pain (depression, not bad feet [well, I am guessing about his feet]). Seek happiness, or seek to avoid pain - Aristotle's choice. Which is our rationale? Epicurian or Stoic? Epicurus or Zeno (not of the paradox fame)? With no libido, there is no point in being a pleasure seeker: what would E@L do if he found it. Options are trickling away... But in face is the breeze, gusting, as if throwing itself at him again, trying to hold him back, while still continuously coming on, streaming, as if to pull him into it, physically and psychologically, to flow over him with something of the grumbling pettiness, sordid and dismal of the ultimately lost...

What to do... Paraphrase Rilke? And so he keeps pressing on, trying to achieve it, trying to hold it firmly in his simple hands. The magic of his existence, the most fleeting of all... Just once are we here, just once for all things, and then no more.

E@L walks on, slowly, what's the rush, takes another step, a small step for man, a baby step. Then he takes another. And another another. After so many anothers, so many steps, he is home. Astounding. He drops the books on the table. He sighs. Ah, the impossible distance covered: Zeno(the other one)'s paradox of limits overcome. Such is the set of all steps from there to here...

The apartment is empty - Izzy is on Sentosa, where she seems to live these days. MJ comes in tomorrow. And shit, that's right! With a flush of air-conditioning, he snaps out... He has a party to go to... Dozens of people who like him a lot. E@L, let's do it!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

But first let's check the email...

One of E@L's good buddies from Oz had a minor brain-stem "incident" a few years ago that cleared up, but left him at "high risk" and put him in a legal place where he could no longer work at his stressful old job, or he'd lose his work-cover insurance (which paid his ongoing medical expenses, and test, etc.) So he took up art. He paints, he sculpts, does weird artistic things, grew a ponytail. He has a portrait of E@L (copied from a photograph) on one wall, btw. He send today this picture of one of his amazing statues. Apparently it is going on the cover of some coffee-table book...

And when I opened the jpg, I had a chill that scared me to the quick. This was exactly the sort of Lovecraftian creature whose wicked haste I felt was behind those weird feelings I had with the wind this afternoon...




He says it is a mixture of Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush from Pirates of the Caribbean.

To me it's the "Rushing" spirit of Time and Death. And in typical E@L ironical fashion, it made me happy to look at it. To see my friend enjoying a modicum of success, but more importantly, existing completely (as Rilke urges) in his art.

E@L

(sorry can't correct any more typos - gotta get up early for golf on Batam tomorrow, need sleep!)

What E@L Was Listening To In The Late 70's




Leo Kottke from the "Chewing Pine" era.

Imagine E@L in one room plucking away valiantly, wife and baby in the other, on the guitar that he shouldn't have bought (2nd hand Ovation left-handed - what, I'm gonna let it slip by?), wondering why his musical efforts weren't sounding anywhere near this good...

It's called TALENT.

E@L

Friday, June 05, 2009

Kill Bill Thrill Will Still Fill Hankerchief

What a wanker! Take one shoelace, one penis, one more shoelace, one neck, join. Tie hands to neck. Hop into cupboard. Await maid. "BOO! I'm dead!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Was that elaborate preparation just to elicit a freaking ejaculation? Holy hell, settle down you ginormous penis wanking people. It's just a muscle spasm or four. It's just a meaningless dumping of excess fluids. (OK so I have trouble understanding the Tao of Orgasm.)

Like Carradine couldn't score something better than the dopamine rush of an anoxic jerk-off in the cupboard - and how ironic? He pulls himself to death in Bangkok, city of thousand ways to lose your load!

Like he couldn't get some (relatively safe) 2-girl thrill round the corner at Eden club? Like a 2-girl soapie at Annie's Place wouldn't be the most brilliant all over sensation imaginable? Like a like trip up the wrong path at a lady-boy club wouldn't enhance his Holly-WOOD reputation, and maybe ignite a special fire in his loins?

Mind you, even the girls at Lolitas can give bad blow-jobs on occasion.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Oh Grasshopper...




E@L

(p.s. E@L's sympathies to the deceased's family.)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Working So Hard




Apologies for the "No time to blog, go play amongst the YouTube, kiddies," approach, but, shit, hey, whatever, that's reality....

E@L


(p.s. freaking hell, how tall is the bass player?)

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