Saturday, January 24, 2009

An experiment I must attempt

Pickled sun-dried tomatoes. Also, pickled potatoes.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A distressing discovery

So my favorite variety of Yoplait is Thick & Creamy, which I had for breakfast this morning. I am now eating a birthday cake a coworker brought it. The icing is nearly identical in every respect to the yogurt. I don't how I should deal with this. I will first finish the cake, but what then?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Such chutzpah!

Larry Kudlow, writing for The National Review, gives what is possibly the most hilarious interpretation of our current financial doldrums:
Right now capital is on strike. So are investors. Supply-side incentives will bring them back. This is where the GOP must go.
Capital is on strike? Does that even make sense? Jesus, Larry, is the Reality Principle on strike too?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Italian Discipline

From Giordano Bruno: Philosopher, Heretic (2008) by Ingrid Rowland:
"Ficino's essay On Living the Heavenly Life contained a great deal of astrological advice, showing how to attract the influence of the various stars by arranging their favorite stones, colors, and gems; how to maintain youth by drinking the milk of young mothers; and how to stave off nearly every bodily ill by eating sugar, marzipan, or almond cookies. His Neoplatonism was no ascetic's creed, and neither was the Nolan philosophy."
Marzipan and almond cookies? Sign me up.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The World Must Know

I'm having a love-affair with Trinidadian food. Bakes, doubles, rotis...bring it on! I can't get enough of this stuff. My favorite is the fry bake made with fish and cabbage. Yum....

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Maxim Gorky Remembers Vladimir Lenin

Haha, this is great:

“I know of nothing better than the Appassionata and could listen to it every day. What astonishing, superhuman music! It always makes me proud, perhaps naively so, to think that people can work such miracles!”

Wrinkling up his eyes, he smiled rather sadly, adding:

“But I can’t listen to music very often, it affects my nerves. I want to say sweet, silly things and pat the heads of people who, living in a filthy hell, can create such beauty. One can’t pat anyone on the head nowadays, they might bite your hand off. They ought to be beaten on the head, beaten mercilessly, although ideally we are against doing any violence to people.

Monday, January 5, 2009


From the life of Ferdinand Lasalle according to Edmund Wilson's To the Finland Station (1940):

"He set himself up in a splendid establishment with, as he boasted, four great reception rooms and with an immense stock of books and wines. And here he entertained those members of the nobility and the fashionable and learned worlds who had the courage to come to see him. A young lady whom he wanted to marry, the daughter of a Russian official, has left an account of his house. The general effect, she says, was not attractive; it was cluttered with a great mixture of furnishings, obviously intended for effect: Turkish divans, wall brackets, bronzes, enormous mirrors, heavy satin hangings, great Japanese and Chinese jars; but his study was serious and simple and showed a more decent taste. He had just published a work on Heraclitus, on which he had been working for years and in which he tried to trace to the Greek philosopher the principles expounded by Hegel, but of which Marx and others have said that it had more bulk and show of learning than content; and he wrote also a blank-verse tragedy on a subject from the Peasant War, an Hegelian work on jurisprudence, and a pamphlet on foreign policy which, though intended to promote the interests of revolution, anticipated Bismarck's design of weakening the power of Austria. He speculated on the Stock Exchange, paid a visit to Garibaldi in Italy, thrashed with his cane a jealous official with whom he had come into conflict over the affections of a married lady, and courted the young Russian lady, whom he had met at Aix-la-Chapelle, writing her a forty-page letter and summoning the Countess back to him, at a time when he could hardly get around except in a wheelchair. He had caught syphilis at twenty-two; it had got into the secondary stage and had never been satisfactorily cured, and now the bones in one of his legs were going. He had as yet no real political role and could only throw his energies away. This was already the end of 1860.

My bad

Right now I'm reading To the Finland Station (1940) by Edmund Wilson, a history of important figures in European revolutionary and socialist thought up to Lenin. The biographical and straight historical parts are great -- both piquant and informative, so good job Edmund Wilson.I particularly enjoyed the parts about Michelet, Babeuf (poor, brave Babeuf!), and the utopian movement in America. I look forward to the section on Bakunin. (But where is the section on Alexander Herzen?!) The philosophical parts, on the other hand, are pretty terrible. Either Wilson didn't read Hegel or he didn't understand him.

What's funny though, and what I'm blogging about really, is Wilson's 1971 Introduction (remember the book was published in 1940). Wilson basically makes two points in the entire introduction. Here's my paraphrased version of them:

1. So apparently there's this thing called the Grundrisse? I hope that wasn't important for understanding Marx.

2. So apparently my hagiographic portrait of Lenin was incorrect. Apparently, he was a pretty awful guy. Damn! -- def. did not see that coming. That's what happens when you use Soviet sources. Yup, now that I think about it, that's definitely where I went wrong -- using Soviet sources for my account of Lenin's life.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Rapier Wit

From Venice Observed (1956) by Mary McCarthy:
'Months after the settlement, when all was supposed to be friendly, Sarpi came close to martyrdom, at the hands of the pope's hired assassins, who set upon him as he was coming home one evening to his monastery near Santa Fosca, accompanied only by a lay brother and an aged nobleman. The streets were empty because the inhabitants of the district at that hour were -- as usual -- at the theatre. Repeated blows were struck at him, and he was left for dead, with a dagger skewered through his head, from the right ear to the cheekbone. But he was carried into his monastery, while some women on a balcony fired harquebuses at the murderers, and eventually he recovered. He was shown the dagger while he still lay between life and death, and he greeted it with a sally as sharp as the weapon itself. "I recognize the style of the Roman Curia," he observed, in Latin, punning on the word, stylum, which means both style and dagger.'
Sic Paolo Sarpi.