Wednesday, February 26, 2014


The Walking Stick Insect
of South America often loses an antenna or leg—but
always grows a new appendage. Often nature makes a
mistake and a new antenna grows where the leg was lost.
—Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
Eventually the
most accident-prone
or war-weary
walking sticks
are entirely
reduced to antennae
with which they
pick their way
appalled by
-Kay Ryan

Monday, February 24, 2014

Regressing towards the Mean... Means?

Econometricians are not a Total Sum of Squares
They can be dynamic and follow the trend.
If things are non-stationary they can make a difference.
And they can get their Dickey-Fuller augmented at the end.

They test, test and test again
Adopting Hendry's main refrain
From general to specific, t, F and chi-squared too
They must look for significance in everything they do.

They can transform things
With a bit of Box and Cox
They can take random walks
And they sometimes work with an Ox.

They use dummies for sex
And like a bit of variance and deviation (from the mean)
They prefer to have their parameters stable
But sometimes have a break-point in between.

Although they sometimes have an identification problem
They know the conditions they must inspect
And with the proper instruments find
What they want in two stages or indirect.

Sometimes they can be found in Monte Carlo
Where they play God in their own domain
Creating many thousand replications
Power with small samples hoping to obtain.
- Guy, "Carry on regressing (econometrician's poem)"

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Nets Within Nets

Str. The hunting of animals who live in the water has the general name of fishing.

Theaet. Yes.

Str. And this sort of hunting may be further divided also into two principal kinds?

Theaet. What are they?

Str. There is one kind which takes them in nets, another which takes them by a blow.

Theaet. What do you mean, and how do you distinguish them?

Str. As to the first kind-all that surrounds and encloses anything to prevent egress, may be rightly called an enclosure.

Theaet. Very true.

Str. For which reason twig baskets, casting nets, nooses, creels, and the like may all be termed "enclosures"?

Theaet. True.

Str. And therefore this first kind of capture may be called by us capture with enclosures, or something of that sort?

Theaet. Yes.

Str. The other kind, which is practised by a blow with hooks and three pronged spears, when summed up under one name, may be called striking, unless you, Theaetetus, can find some better name?

Theaet. Never mind the name-what you suggest will do very well.

Str. There is one mode of striking, which is done at night, and by the light of a fire, and is by the hunters themselves called firing, or spearing by firelight.

Theaet. True.

Str. And the fishing by day is called by the general name of barbing because the spears, too, are barbed at the point.

Theaet. Yes, that is the term.

Str. Of this barb-fishing, that which strikes the fish Who is below from above is called spearing, because this is the way in which the three-pronged spears are mostly used.

Theaet. Yes, it is often called so.

Str. Then now there is only one kind remaining.

Theaet. What is that?

Str. When a hook is used, and the fish is not struck in any chance part of his body-he as be is with the spear, but only about the head and mouth, and is then drawn out from below upwards with reeds and rods:-What is the right name of that mode of fish, Theaetetus?

Theaet. I suspect that we have now discovered the object of our search.

Str. Then now you and I have come to an understanding not only about the name of the angler's art, but about the definition of the thing itself. One half of all art was acquisitive-half of all the art acquisitive art was conquest or taking by force, half of this was hunting, and half of hunting was hunting animals, half of this was hunting water animals-of this again, the under half was fishing, half of fishing was striking; a part of striking was fishing with a barb, and one half of this again, being the kind which strikes with a hook and draws the fish from below upwards, is the art which we have been seeking, and which from the nature of the operation is denoted angling or drawing up (aspalienutike, anaspasthai).

Theaet. The result has been quite satisfactorily brought out.
- Plato, "Sophist"


from Florida Sportfishing
Although artificial offerings have their time and place, live bait is hard to beat. While some choose to purchase frisky forage, if you spend the extra time and effort catching your own live bait you'll gain a tremendous amount of knowledge in regards to migration routes and seasonal patterns of both forage species and game fish. Arguably the best way to do so is with the use of a cast net.

In existence for thousands of years, cast nets have long been relied upon for successful days on the water. While all serve the same purpose, if you think a cast net is a cast net then you are sadly mistaken. The overall design, cutting and seaming of panels, and how well the net was constructed greatly influence its overall performance and ease of use. To get the inside story, we contacted Tim Wade of Tim Wade Cast Nets. With over 40-years experience designing and constructing handmade nets, it's no surprise Tim Wade Cast Nets are relied upon by the most successful captains in the industry.

FSF: What should buyers look for when purchasing a cast net?

Wade: First of all, there's no cast net that's perfect for every situation. The baitfish you seek, where you plan on finding them and your physical condition should all influence your decision. When it comes to selection there are two types of cast nets—skirt and panel nets. Skirt nets have seams sewed around the net in a bullseye pattern. The biggest issue with skirt nets is that they tend to fold on the seam lines. Panel nets are tied with anywhere from 6 to 8 panels in a pie shape configuration. In regards to construction, the distribution of the mesh in the net determines its spread and sink rate. Unfortunately, you really can't tell if a net is designed properly until you throw it. Too many panels starves the net at the top, while too few panels makes the net pull tight in undesirable areas.
FSF: Do net makers use any special type of line when weaving the mesh?

Wade: Depth stretched mesh is used for its supple attributes with several color variations available in green, blue and snow white, although the latter is not suggested because it is very bright and can spook baitfish during daylight hours. The best option is natural white, which has a yellowish hue and seems to be the stealthiest.

FSF: Have construction techniques changed over the years?

Wade: With older style nets you had to put your arm around them and bunch the netting together. They worked well, but were fluffy and a handful to bunch up and throw. With new depth stretched mesh, the material tends to stretch in the opposite direction. During the construction process the knotted monofilament is heated in a steam chest and stretched so the knots don't move. When you throw the net and stretch the knot it wants to close back up because the monofilament is pulled so tight in the knot. This is where a cast net's springiness comes from.

FSF: How important are braille lines?

Wade: Braille lines are absolutely crucial to a net's overall effectiveness. They attach the drawstring to the lead line. When it's time to haul your catch the braille lines shut the net and trap your catch. If your cast net does not have enough braille lines, your net will not close tightly. The correct number is usually determined by the net's hanging length. It's important to note that hanging length is not the same as radius.

FSF: Do you recommend any kind of treatment for new nets?

Wade: You definitely don't want to use petroleum byproducts or any form of chlorine on or around your net. In particular, do not make the mistake of moisturizing your net with fabric softener. This practice has been popular because the paraffin wax in the fabric softener lubricates the knots, but it also deteriorates them.

FSF: What's the correct treatment?

Wade: I recommend filling half a bucket with hot tap water. Don't use boiling water because it could shrink your drawstring. Submerge the net inside the bucket and add a couple hefty squirts of mild dish detergent. Let your net soak for 15-minutes and then remove it from the bucket while keeping as much soap as you can keep on the mesh. Place the net outside in a shady spot and let the soap air dry on the netting. Give it a quick rinse and you're good to go.

FSF: What other tips can you offer?

Wade: After each use rinse your net with freshwater and hang it until the lead line is completely dry. Never hang your net with the lead line off the ground. Store your net in a cool, dry environment and avoid exposing it to the sun for extended periods of time. It's also a good idea to inspect your net after every use, mending any cuts or tears.

FSF: What makes a Tim Wade Cast Net special?

Wade: The effectiveness of my nets is a direct result of the design and distribution of the netting. I use an 8-panel design because it reduces the amount of netting on the top. It's easy to gather in your hands, but still has adequate mesh in the bottom. I've also been able to increase sink rate while still offering a net that's easy to throw. This is all because the netting distribution has a little extra mesh, so you don't have the springback that you see with some other nets.


Street tactics are used to fight the enemy in the streets, utilizing the participation of the population against him.

In 1968, the Brazilian students used excellent street tactics against police troops, such as marching down streets against traffic and using slingshots and marbles against mounted police. Other street tactics consist of constructing barricades; pulling up paving blocks and hurling them at the police; throwing bottles, bricks, paperweights and other projectiles at the police from the top of office and apartment buildings; using buildings and other structures for escape, for hiding and for supporting surprise attacks. It is equally necessary to know how to respond to enemy tactics. When the police troops come wearing helmets to protect them against flying objects, we have to divide ourselves into two teams—one to attack the enemy from the front, the other to attack him in the rear—withdrawing one as the other goes into action to prevent the first from being struck by projectiles hurled by the second. By the same token, it is important to know how to respond to the police net. When the police designate certain of their men to go into the crowd and arrest a demonstrator, a larger group of urban guerrillas must surround the police group, disarming and beating them and at the same time allowing the prisoner to escape. This urban guerrilla operation is called "the net within a net".

When the police net is formed at a school building, a factory, a place where demonstrators gather, or some other point, the urban guerrilla must not give up or allow himself to be taken by surprise. To make his net effective, the enemy is obliged to transport his troops in vehicles and special cars to occupy strategic points in the streets, in order to invade the building or chosen locale. The urban guerrilla, for his part, must never clear a building or an area and meet in it without first knowing its exits, the way to break an encirclement, the strategic points that the police must occupy, and the roads that inevitably lead into the net, and he must hold other strategic points from which to strike at the enemy. The roads followed by police vehicles must be mined at key points along the way and at forced roadblocks. When the mines explode, the vehicles will be knocked into the air. The police will be caught in the trap and will suffer losses and be victims of an ambush. The net must be broken by escape routes which are unknown to the police. The rigorous planning of a withdrawal is the best way to frustrate any encircling effort on the part of the enemy. When there is no possibility of an escape plan, the urban guerrilla must not hold meetings, gatherings or do anything, since to do so will prevent him from breaking through the net which the enemy will surely try to throw around him.

Street tactics have revealed a new type of urban guerrilla who participates in mass protests. This is the type we designate as the "urban guerrilla demonstrator", who joins the crowds and participates in marches with specific and definate aims in mind. The urban guerrilla demonstrator must initiate the "net within the net",
ransacking government vehicles, official cars and police vehicles before turning them over or setting fire to them, to see if any of them have money or weapons.
- Carlos Marighella, "Minimanual of the Urban Guerilla"

Friday, February 21, 2014

Shifting Signifiers - New Signs and Revelations

Radical Orthodoxy does not limit theology to a purely exegetic interpretation of the Bible according to its own founded logic, nor does it see theology as a useful crutch in the service of church teachings. Its intention is a radicalization of these juxtaposed positions so that by way of mediation it reaches a third option which would not be apologetic but rather radically transformative and intensely imaginative. From this statement may be extrapolated an important fact. For Radical Orthodoxy, theology is the only metadiscourse that can position all other discourses in such a way that they do not culminate in nihilism. Despite the secular announcement of the death of God and the lack of a call for theology in public space, Radical Orthodoxy “seeks to reconfigure theological truth.” Graham Ward sums this up as follows:
Radical Orthodoxy is involved in reading the signs of the times in such a way. It looks at “sites” that we have invested much cultural capital in—the body, sexuality, relationships, desire, painting, music, the city, the natural, the political—and it reads them in terms of the grammar of the Christian faith; a grammar that might be summed up in the various creeds. In this way Radical Orthodoxy must view its own task as not only doing theology but being itself theological—participating in the redemption of Creation, by being engaged in the gathering of different logoi into the Logos.

Radical means a return to roots. This means, first of all, a return to the vision of Augustine, Maximus, and, somewhat, Aquinas, of knowledge as divine illumination and participation in the divine logos. For Milbank, this understanding of theological epistemology is one of the essential tools for a critique of the contemporary modernist understanding of culture, politics, art, science, and philosophy. Radical means embracing the catholic Christian tradition, especially the forgotten part of that tradition within which we might set apart authors such as Johannes Scotus Eriugena and Nicolas of Cusa on the one hand, and, on the other, Giambatista Vico, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Ruskin, or Charles Péguy, who with their specific view of Christianity questioned Enlightenment decadence and secular Gnosticism. John Milbank is of the opinion that orthodoxy makes no sense without a radicality which only Christianity can bring to it. Christianity and its practice cannot be compared to all other historically tragic forms of radicalism, because the Christian agape sets itself above any law. This means that Christianity establishes a person-in-process before it understands the person as an isolated or collective individual instrumentalized or subordinated to collective and technocratic interests. Orthodoxy enables and creates an interpersonal community placing the person in the mystical and metaphysical body of the community, which is, at the same time, the locus of truth that connects the pastoral, economic, and political. Otherwise, without the help of a Christian meta physical participation everything would drown in neo-pagan individualism which, through a false concern for the corporeal, enslaves with utilitarian forms of technocratic control, creating an illusion of freedom and safety. Milbank asserts that the radical in orthodoxy means a serious receptivity to the meaning of a proper understanding of its integrity.
- Gunjević, "The Thrilling Romance of Radical Orthodoxy— Spiritual Exercises" (from Zizek & Gunjevic's, "God in Pain, Inversions of the Apocalypse")

Friday, February 14, 2014

Shadowbox Underlays

From whence do my darkest, deepest thoughts flow...
The ones I wish no one to know.
These thoughts that lay so dormant in my mind,
Ones I never want any one to find.

From whence do they flow
And where do they go.
Is it deamon, devil, or evil un-kind,
That pops and sizzles and plays my mind?

Cast them out the Halleljah preacher would say,
Pray cleanse thy mind, for yet another day.
But the thoughts are so aborate they tickle the mind,
Are you sure it is only darkness, left behind?

From whence do my darkest, deepest thoughts flow,
Could it be the raven or maybe the crow,
That enters my mind and turns the soul cold,
Leaving me with thoughts deep, dark, and bold.

From meloncoly to quite jolly,
This dispare, is my worst folly,
How erosive they tear me apart,
Heavy the burden, weights my heart.

In my shadow box, locked away,
Never to see the light of day,
Darkness I can never let out,
Haunting me, have no dought.

So do not ask so eagerly,
About my thoughts you cannot see,
For some would cause you heart to chill,
Make you think, I was quite ill.

From whence do my darkest deepest thought flow,
Pray that I will never know,
For as dark as my thoughts do go,
Darker still from whence they flow.....
Teresa Dearing

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Are You Ready for St. Valentine?

Saint Valentine: Holy Priest of Rome: The date of this Saint Valentine's birth is not known. Along with Saint Marius and his family, Saint Valentine assisted the martyrs during the persecution they suffered under the rule of Claudius II (also known as Claudius the Goth and Claudius the Cruel). In addition, since Rome was at the time involved in many bloody and unpopular campaigns, the emperor found it difficult to recruit the male populace into joining his military leagues. Believing this to be because Roman men were adverse to leaving their loved ones or their familes, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements within the City of Rome. Saint Valentine and Saint Marius, however, continued to perform wedding ceremonies in secret. When is was discovered that Saint Valentine was defying the emperor's decree, he was apprehended and dispatched by Claudius to the Prefect of Rome who, being unable to force the saint to renounce Christianity, ordered that Valentine be clubbed, stoned and then beheaded. According to tradition, while Valentine waited in prison for his execution, he corresponded with those under his care by sending letters and love notes to his parishioners. It is also believed that while incarcerated, the Bishop fell in love with a young woman who visited him during his confinement. According to some sources, this was the blind daughter (whose name may have been Julia) of of Asterius, the jailer. It is said tht God enabled Valentine to miraculously restore the girl's sight. Popular belief indicates that Valentine's farewell message to his love contained a closing that has now transcended time: "From Your Valentine." The saint was executed on February 14 in either 269 A.D. or 270 A.D. In 270 A.D., Pope Julius I is said to have built a church near Ponte Mole in the saint's memory at a location once known as Porta Valentini and now called Porta del Popolo. The relic bones of this Saint Valentine, who may also have been a physician, are now housed within the Church of Saint Praxed in Rome.
- Source

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Common vs Individual Forms...

Common Knowledge

I've never been asked how many letters there are in the alphabet.
I could count, but offhand the answer does not spring to mind.
"It's common knowledge!" They say, but it doesn't stick.

I've never been asked how many days are in each month.
I could do the trick on the knuckles, but I never learnt how.
"It's common knowledge!" They shout, but it doesn't stick.

I've never been asked how many times six goes into forty-two,
I never was good at maths.
"It's common knowledge!" They yell, but it doesn't stick.

I've never been asked how many times I've been put down,
I've never been asked how many times I've come home crying,
I've never been asked to say what a fat person looks like,
but I can hear the words, and I can feel the tears, and I can look at myself in the mirror.

It's not common knowledge, but it sticks.
- Anna

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Islamic Insights

The choice within Islam of Hagar, the independent seer of God, over the docile housewife Sarah, provides the first hint of the insufficiency of the standard notion of Islam, that of an extreme masculine monotheism, a collective of brothers from which women are excluded and have to be veiled, since their "monstration" is as such excessive, disturbing or provocative to men, diverting them from their service to God. Recall the ridiculous Taliban prohibition of metal heels for women -- as if, even when entirely covered with cloth, the clicking sound of their heels would still provoke men... There is, however, a whole series of features which disturb this standard notion,

First, the need to keep women veiled implies an extremely sexualized universe in which the very encounter with a woman is a provocation that no man will be able to resist. Repression has to be so strong because sex itself is so strong -- what kind of a society is this in which the click of metal heels can make men explode with lust? According to a newspaper report a couple of years ago, an unrelated young woman and man were trapped for a couple of hours in a wire-gondola when the machine broke down. Although nothing happened, the woman killed herself afterward: the very fact of being alone with a foreign man for hours rendered the idea that "nothing happened" unthinkable.6 No wonder that, in the course of analyzing the famous "Signorelli" dream in his "Psychopathology of Everyday Life," Freud reports that it was an old Muslim from Bosnia and Herzegovina who imparted to him the "wisdom" of the notion that sex is the only thing that makes life worth living: "Once a man is no longer able to have sex, the only thing that remains is to die."
6 - What seems to characterize the Muslim symbolic space is an immediate conflation of possibility with actuality: what is merely possible is treated (reacted against) as if it actually took place. At the level of sexual interaction, when a man finds himself alone with a woman, it is assumed that the opportunity was taken, that the sexual act took place. At the level of writing, this is why Muslims are prohibited to use toilet paper: it may have been that verses of Qur'an were written or printed on it...

Back to the role of women in the pre-history of Islam and, one should add, the story of Muhammad's own conception, where we stumble again upon the mysterious "between-the-two-women." After working the clay on his land, Abdallah, the father-to-be, went to the house of another woman and made advances to her; she was willing but put him off on account of the clay that was on him. After leaving her and washing himself, he went to his own wife Amina and had intercourse with her -- thus Amina conceived Muhammad. Abdallah then went back to the other woman and asked her if she was still willing; she replied: "No. When you passed by me there was a white light between your eyes. I called to you and you rejected me. You went to Amina and she has taken away the light." The official wife gets the child, the other knows -- she sees in Abdallah more than Abdallah himself, the "light", something he has without knowing it, something that is in him more than himself (the sperm that would beget the Prophet), and it is this objet a that generates her desire. Abdallah's position is like the hero in a detective novel who all of a sudden finds himself persecuted, even threatened with death because he knows something that can put a big criminal in danger, even though he himself (or she -- it is more often a woman) doesn't know what this is. Abdallah, in his narcissism, confuses this objet a in himself with himself (he confuses the 'object' with the 'cause' of the woman's desire), which is why he returns to her afterward, wrongly assuming that she will still desire him.
- Slavoj Zizek, "God in Pain: Inversions of Apocalypse"

Monday, February 3, 2014

Politically Expeditious Inversions?

Socrates was known for his 'irony', Diogenes his 'cynicism'. There was no greater supporter of the Athenian regime than the 'ironic' Socrates. So by Zizekian definition, Socrates was a cynic, and Diogenes an ironist...?
...True Openness is not that of undecidability, but that of living in the aftermath of the Event, of drawing out the consequence -- of what? Precisely of the new space opened up by the Event. The anxiety of which Cereau (1) speaks is the anxiety of the act.

Today's propaganda -- not just in the narrow political sense -- targets the very possibility of all such Openness: it fights against something to which it is structurally blind -- not the actual counter-forces (political opponents), but the possibility (the utopian revolutionary-emancipatory potential) which is immanent to the situation:
The goal of all enemy propaganda is not to annihilate an existing force (this function is generally left to police forces), but rather to annihilate an unnoticed possibility of the situation. This possibility is also unnoticed by those who conduct this propaganda, since its features are to be simultaneously immanent to the situation and not to appear in it, (2)
This is why enemy propaganda against radical emancipatory politics is by definition cynical -- not in the simple sense of not believing its own words, but at a bunch more basic level: it is cynical precisely insofar as it does believe its own words, since its message is a resigned conviction that the world we live in, if not the best of all possible worlds, is the least bad one, so that any radical change can only make it worse.

(1) Patrice Chereau, cited in Patrick Carnegy's "Wagner and the Art of Theatre"
(2) Alain Badiou, "Seminar on Plato's 'Republic', (unpublished), Feb 13, 2008
Zizek & Gunjevic, "God in Pain: Inversions of Apocalypse"

...of course, since Socrates would be the first to state that he in fact "knew nothing" of the subject, would likely exonerate him from the charge.

PS- And shouldn't all "radical revolutionary-emancipatory politics" by Zizekian definition be labelled "cynical"...since they, too, are "structurally blind" and know not either all the "unexamined possibilities" opened up by the revolutionary Event in the firm belief that the ensuing world will be a "better" one?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Halftime on the Road to Planting Gooseberry Bushes

I've been up in the air
Out of my head
Stuck in a moment of emotion I've destroyed.


Up in the air
Chasing a dream
Chasing a dream

_ . . . .
. . _ _ _
_ _ . . .
_ _ . . .

[6-2-7-7 / M-A-R-S]

LOVE/Amor - lust/CTPACTb - FAITH/shinkou - dreams/REVES

Shared Temporal Disjunctions

...Living in the moment (Dasein) or living for tomorrow (pursuing the "dream")