Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bones of giant penguin found...

shock. It seems this penguin was running door security at some bar in Peru 36 million years ago. The penguin's remains, plus jacket were discovered when someone noticed he'd gone missing. By all accounts the 5 foot bird was particularly unpopular at cocaine parties. It's modern descendant survived Darwinian selection by developing more modest drugs practices and moving south where it winters on the frozen tundra of Antarctica. It is also notable that the modern penguin's 5ft forebear was unable to turn it's head without putting someone's eye out, and we are talking serious hazard here.

I mentioned recently Michio Kaku's Parallel Worlds and how modern physics posits a view of the universe that is profoundly strange. For instance rather than there being only one universe there may in fact be as many possible universes as there are possibilities. To quote from the text, "If this interpretation is correct, then at this very instant your body coexists with the wave functions of dinosaurs engaged in mortal combat. Coexisting in the room you are in is the wave function of a world where the Germans won World War II, where aliens from outer space roam, where you were never born and where a 5 ft penguin might be waiting to put your eye out..." (2005: p169)

Now, is that spooky or what? I don't mind Dirk, I named him Dirk as a friendly gesture, in Peru 36 million years ago but in my bedroom? Hmmm. I know, I know, call me old fashioned but I really do think a penguin's place is somewhere else. And besides, if my coke dealer ever catches a glimpse of that bird's conk then its beak won't be the only thing that's inflated. Jeeze, I'm paying through the nose as it is. Urf urf.

Bloody universes, grrrr.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

It has poured with rain...

in the UK for a week or so now. I discovered this photo in a rural paper that covers the quaint Cheshire village of Huge Injection. Cats and dogs have been replaced by elephants, so it was some downpour. Many locals, mostly named Jethro and Caleb were swept away. In my opinion this is no bad thing for they were hirsute, and most probably cousins which I thought added a Darwinian aspect to the tragedy. Mention of this to the grieving families seemed not to help.

In the meanwhile fear stalks Manchester with the first diagnosis of trench head. Now it moves easily among the city, ebbing and flowing, like Poe's Red Death. Excepting it's more fungal. A bit of a worry nevertheless.

Monday, June 18, 2007

I've been looking for...

a summer poem to post because I'm happy. Happy at the summer, even though it has rained, nay, it has pissed down on the UK for a good week or so now. Am I downhearted? I am not!

Here's a bit of Bill Shakespeare. Although the sonnet compares youth to summer and in the comparison finds summer wanting, I like it all the same. Off we go then...

Sonnet XVIII 'Shall I compare thee to a summer's day'

"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee."

Bloody marvelous. Just like summer in fact.

Oh yeah, and here's Pablo Neruda on wine...

Ode To Wine

"Day-colored wine,
night-colored wine,
wine with purple feet
or wine with topaz blood,
starry child
of earth,
wine, smooth
as a golden sword,
as lascivious velvet,
wine, spiral-seashelled
and full of wonder,
never has one goblet contained you,
one song, one man,
you are choral, gregarious,
at the least, you must be shared.
At times
you feed on mortal
your wave carries us
from tomb to tomb,
stonecutter of icy sepulchers,
and we weep
transitory tears;
spring dress
is different,
blood rises through the shoots,
wind incites the day,
nothing is left
of your immutable soul.
stirs the spring, happiness
bursts through the earth like a plant,
walls crumble,
and rocky cliffs,
chasms close,
as song is born.
A jug of wine, and thou beside me
in the wilderness,
sang the ancient poet.
Let the wine pitcher
add to the kiss of love its own.

My darling, suddenly
the line of your hip
becomes the brimming curve
of the wine goblet,
your breast is the grape cluster,
your nipples are the grapes,
the gleam of spirits lights your hair,
and your navel is a chaste seal
stamped on the vessel of your belly,
your love an inexhaustible
cascade of wine,
light that illuminates my senses,
the earthly splendor of life.

But you are more than love,
the fiery kiss,
the heat of fire,
more than the wine of life;
you are
the community of man,
chorus of discipline,
abundance of flowers.
I like on the table,
when we're speaking,
the light of a bottle
of intelligent wine.
Drink it,
and remember in every
drop of gold,
in every topaz glass,
in every purple ladle,
that autumn labored
to fill the vessel with wine;
and in the ritual of his office,
let the simple man remember
to think of the soil and of his duty,
to propagate the canticle of the wine."

For wine drinkers this represents a call to arms. Cheers!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Currently I'm reading...

Michio Kaku's Parallel Worlds (more of which in a mo), William Gay's new novel Twilight, and Paul Auster's The New York Trilogy.

Prof Kaku, a physicist and leading adherent of string theory proposes that there's more to the universe than meets the eye, as I too have noticed. However, string theory also allows for not one universe, i.e. this dusty ol' place of ours but loads of universes and some in which we might even also exist. Now, in purely practical terms I like the idea of also existing elsewhere because at the very least I can read more books and at the very most this multi-verse provides a top excuse to not turn up for things that will be boring.

"Oh, sorry to have missed your party last night but I was elsewhere." Fantastic, and it's not even a lie.

Hmmm, there's a catch though, some of these universes are not like ours. Some are tiny, so tiny they make tiny look the sort that might cause trouble in bars, and some look downright uncomfortable. Indeed, this Calebi-Yau universe appears no fun at all. It's either a tiny place, i.e. the sort that might get caught in your bum when you sit down, or it's huge and the equivalent of existing on a black run at one of those expensive ski resorts.

Now, there's a troubled thought.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The weather...

a British obsession, granted, has been good. So yesterday morning I was up and early for a cycle down't Bridgewater Canal. This photo was taken at approx 8.15 am and I'm facing west so the sun is rising behind me. Hurrah!

In the early hours of this morning some people chose to have an argument in the street below my open bedroom window. Grrrr.

My hanging baskets are coming along beautifully, thank you all for asking.

I'm still working my way through Paul Auster's A New York Trilogy.

I'm gearing up for a a serious return to more regular blogging after a busy time in my life.

Last night I watched, for the umpteenth time Quentin Tarantino's movie Pulp Fiction, which remains rather excellent and in which John Travolta excels.

Being still knackered from broken sleep it is now my intention have a lie down, on my sofa of course and not on the floor, which would be too hard.

Friday's news was full

of stuff about the artist Damien Hirst's latest work, a £50 million diamond encrusted skull. Not so much art as an another example of how obscene wealth can sometimes be. Mind you I think the work reflects very well the political and economic moment of its creation and provides yet another example of art gone to waste. Grrrr.