tullius22

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Euclid and His Modern Rivals

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Since I must clearly freely admit that I do not have the technical training to assess the truth of the arguments, I must simply follow my custom of stating my reading of the style-- since I am, after all, a Livy fanboy. And, in view of that object, I must say that, despite this book's premise that, since it is by the author of 'Alice', that it is a good book for beginners, I can say with some authority that it is not actually a good book for people who do not know-- i.e., speak-- math to read. Then again, it is always difficult to speak clearly when one's 'room' is simply a space for static. ;)Not strictly relevant, that last sentence, sorry-- it's just that I really tried to get the words just so on those first two, right, what I wanted to say, I mean, and I know that I had it, in my head, but since I scarcely hear myself think, I'm not quite sure that I got it all down right.... I mean, there's little point studying math if I can't have any etiquette from anyone. But that wasn't the point; I apologize..... And anyway, all that I was trying to communicate is that, of what I understand, for example, the idea that this debate, this Victorian debate about education and textbooks and the classics and so on, and this response to it-- and I must say that sometimes the people who write these technical pieces for Barnes & Noble have a rather curious idea of what is and is not 'known outside of academic circles', or however they say it, since, the fact is, that that sort of thing is somewhat broader than that which is literally impossible to obtain unless you work for a university, but which goes into the bibliography anyway, for some reason-- is a necessity for contemporary purposes.... well, it's folly on the face of it now, at a glance, even, I mean.... although I guess that it wasn't last year when I actually got the thing. I don't know, there's no explaining some things. Sometimes you get in five minutes now what you'd not have gotten in five hours before.And, you know, even I, without real specific knowledge of this, can tell that mathematics is so ahistorical that anything just historical is clearly a-mathematical.(I mean, without trying to sound like one of these very confident people, it's still true that I'm not playing for Bazarov's football team-- pardon me the irony, it's just that I'd love to see Bazarov hurt himself trying to run around outside for any length of time-- and so I do believe that there is truth as opposed to what is not truth, and so clearly truth, truth in geometry, for example, does not depend on whether, say, Gladstone, got to be the man in the big hall in London, or the guy in the little house out somewhere reading Homer in the Greek, in any particular year.){"The Baltimore County School Board have decided to expel Dexter from the entire public school system." "Oh, Mr. Kirk, I feel as upset as you do about Dexter's truancy, but surely expulsion is not the answer!" "I'm afraid expulsion is the only answer; it is the opinion of the entire staff that Dexter is criminally insane."} And, for much of the rest of it, as I've tried to say, all that I can really do is refer to that most useful line of Wittgenstein's: "What we cannot speak about, we must pass over in silence." To me, that was always one of those things that never needed to be proved. And, yeah, I know that he's trying to be a bit thespian here, but it comes off as a bit pedantic to me, as though he were Patrick Stewart or somebody.... it sure isn't one of Mozart's operas; I know that much. He just doesn't have that playboy's fire in him. That magic flute. ^^{I tried explaining it on youtube once-- "The Magic Flute", after its premiere, was played for months and months literally every other day on average; it was the *ecstasy* of the 18th century; this was not Papist mumbo-jumbo, lol....}But anyway, all that I need right now is a good Chopin player, not a mathematician, haha. Sorry about that-- hope it didn't come off mean. Pity when they have to bugger me about 'the West', though. 'The West', and the Archbishop of Salzburg.... and The Mandrake Falls Gazette, hahaha. And Roger Greenberg, from Hollywood, California. Anyway, if he was aiming at being the Livy of geometry, he sure came off as a disappointing mediocrity, in my opinion.And anyway, the idea that you should use a translated Greek text as a learner's textbook is a stupid idea. Although I suppose that this is back when Charles Dickens was still warm in his grave, and people seemed to think that he had some merit as a writer, you know, so who knows what sort of trashy geometry books they had. But to actually state that Euclid's book ought to be given scriptural status no matter what sorta makes you wonder if Lewis here didn't spend rather more time reading 'Pilgrim's Progress', than 'Vanity Fair'. {"With pow'r endued all language to explain/ Of care the loosner, and the source of gain." But, to be honest, I never liked half of that sort of thing.... I never liked Greek letters. Too foreign. After all, when the Gauls were about the City, I don't think that it was the Greeks who saw them off, but Juno's geese....}"There are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen to write." Yes, indeed, I like that Mr Thackeray almost as much as I like Jane. Anyway, I am always trying to write these very brief reviews, you know. But anyway, I can't help but be reminded of 'Mr. Monk and the Garbage Strike', because an hour or two ago or whenever it was, I couldn't hardly write two lines, and now with the quiet (and blessed Amadeus) I've got out into the open, a bit.... and, to be honest, I only even bothered at all because of space requirements, (read: read this and be done), and only didn't put it off till tomorrow, because of time requirements (read: tomorrow the storm god turns off the lights). But let me try to wrap it up for you, at least: I don't want to be unfair and unduly critical, since I don't really know Euclid or geometry. As to its being a delightful read for beginners, 'tisn't. As for being a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a delightful author, 'tisn't. As for being written in some sort of style which isn't dreadful, and which certainly could have been a fair bit worse.... sure, sure. So in the end, it *is* a technical piece-- historians like to call them monographs, ("40 Years 400 Years Ago: An Interesting Time"), which, although it occasionally means 'an interesting episode', and technically can mean that, but in the stupendous majority of cases, means more or less 'bogged down in the most neurotic technicalities'-- and technical pieces, like action movies, ironically enough, tend to not *really* have a good style, and this is, yes, a bit lacking, actually..... And the whole thing just vaguely reminds me of Boethius-- odd, and interesting.... but what a weirdo. And in both cases we have this weird unresolved thingie-- Boethius, in stoic poetry experiment, rags on playwrights.... because that makes sense. And Lewis here, in his geometry play experiment, rags on.... non-traditionalists?(I mean, I thought that he was gonna be doing brain-battle with those trippy 'non-Euclidean' guys who think that circles are rectangles with three points, but only because they have involved proofs of the same.... not, like, ooooh, the Loeb Classical Library is gonna fine yer ass!) *does weird face*And yeah, Jim Parsons could get shitloads of giggles from this shit, yeah. ^^ (7/10)
The Art of Worldly Wisdom

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In a way, I'm glad that I got some of these philosophy books, (what I mean is, that I got some of them, back whenever I got them), although some of them-- like Descartes-- I discarded almost upon opening. (I mean, I was perfectly capable of talking about Descartes 'intelligently' in school-- using Cartesian terms correctly-- but of course in my own home, I could see what a waste it all was.... as though the book itself, when opened, gave off a smell of rotten fish which someone forgot to salt or something.... "To overvalue something is a form of lying." I mean, yeah, like with that video game that I used to think was the best think ever put together by mortal man-- "Wipe this pathetic planet off the face of the galaxy....")And so, here again I have another one of these 17th-century disappointments.... I mean, I hate to make historical comment, but I honestly only mean it in a sociological way, since so many people are all so much the same-- just as the later 19th century had so much, though of all the wrong things, the 17th century had either nothing, or so much, of nothing.... while the 18th was intolerable a mere 19 times out of 20, that's all, ha! So, there's that, I suppose. But at least we have a stupid Spaniard for all those stupid Greeks and Germans.... "We do not destroy religion by destroying superstition." ~ M.T.C. Although we can only guess what the Jesuit would think of my namesake.... {But the fact that Spanish words are vaguely like Latin words will always be a source of endless delight to all thinking people-- although what I really liked (past perfect, hon-hon-hon: I am Swedish!) was something far more obscure than Spanish, although windmill-fighter Spanish, ("It's a ceiling fan." "It's a whirling, five-armed monster!") *is* obscure, but *Catalan*, is minoritarian, and only something that a real elitist would have even *heard* of, and what's even better are those tabels, of equivalent words in Romance and Germanic languages, or better yet, one of those tables where the equivalent words descended from one Latin word, like British imperial way-stations, are maped out in, say, five to seven daughter languages, I used to really love that-- hours and hours of delight, just like cribbage, or German whist, which I've discovered (just today) that you can actually play with yourself, just in case it's easier to cobble together patience, than three friends! ^^}Anyway. I'll try not to bore you too much. He wants me to think that he is good for an aphorism, that he, like Nietzsche, has a mind for it, you know, that he has no need for the dross, that he has a sharp mind, and unburdened too, and perhaps with a flash of worldly intuition.... and that he is also wise like Epictetus, ever quiet, and perhaps also sharing a little joke, softly, with his misfortune, without saying hardly anything.... But he is not Nietzsche, and he is not Epictetus, and I actually don't think that he's even so wise as Hoyle. Or, perhaps you would prefer, Wolfgangus Theophilus Amadeus Mozartian. ^^ (Or Mary Bennet, who was wretchedly unhappy because she was unable to play the piano with any kind of skill.... yes, because she could not play the piano and get other people to like her that way, she was, wretchedly unhappy. But.... well, whatever. Who cares. Who cares about that. ^^) To be honest, this is sorta how I feel about Shakespeare-- imagine what a blessing Shakespeare was to the 17th century! After all, it's not as though *they* could go see "The Magic Flute"!.... {And anyway, I didn't find any that I liked so well as-- "What we cannot speak about, we must pass over in silence"!} {To be honest, I was waiting for him to say, 'Vanity and pride are not the same, although the words are used interchangeably.'} {.... "Even God does not tame with a whip, but with time." What does that mean? " 'Lie down on the couch.' 'What does that mean?'..... 'The Baltimore County School Board have decided to expel Dexter from the entire public school system.'.... 'That boy needs therapy.'.... 'This is like free therapy. New York State cares.'} {.... I mean, the guy has a fucking cluttered way of thinking, if you ask me....}{"One who enters the house of fortune through the gate of pleasure leaves it through the (door) of sorrow.".... "Sometimes a parrot talks.".... "Kavorka, Jerry-- the lure of the animal!"} {"Mediocrities are not the subject of applause.... Work with good tools...." Even the king of Finland knows that a hearty breakfast is the most important meal of the day.}{"Good to be a bit vague...." Just bullshit a bit-- it'll be fine....} (7/10)
It Must Be Love

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"Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus." *about five minutes later* "Mężczyżni są Marsa, Kobiety są Wenus." *that took awhile to type* "Book by Crazy Americans" *pauses* No, that has an adjective. {If you try to learn a language, you'll start to know what I mean.} (Play word association with The Google-- American.... Express. American.... Horror Story. Polish.... Women.) Although it's a little odd that "Wenus" is indeclinable, it makes me wonder if I did everything right. Anyway, that's my review. Oh, and he should have used a semi-colon. In the title. Semi-colons are my favorite grammatical.... thingie. I think you're batshit; I'm learning Polish. Hahaha, A-hahahahaha. Yeah. (8/10)
A New Earth: The Opportunity of Our Time

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I think I see where he's trying to go, but sometimes I find it a little dull. (Well, okay, it's *always* a little dull.) Also, although the book is certainly not obese, I think it could have been a bit slimmer. And, I think his outlook would have been better served by a style less terminological (or, terms-and-logic-al, hahaha), and more impressionistic. Also, I think he's trying to practice mysticism (religion-through-feeling), but, I think sometimes he ends up leaning towards a sort of mild asceticism (remember: sit still and don't feel anything). (Well, to the extent that he's not just trying to practice his English.... Which, in his hands, acquires a certain Teutonic ponderousness....)Anyway, I thought that sometimes he could be decently wise, but other times he's just long-winded and trite. If I were his editor, I would have taken the axe to large sections of the book, and assigned him some poetry to read. (BTW, have there ever been any German poets? I know there have been, but it doesn't seem like it, you know?)*shrugs* I guess it all depends on what you want. And I suppose that, if you can laugh off the dross, you might gain something from it....And anyway, here's a factoid for him: in Norwegian, "girl power" is "jentekraft", and "jente" ("girl"), comes to us from the Viking word for "joke". ;) (7/10)
Ten Thousand Saints: A Novel

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Well, it is very long, (which is not what I like best of all), but here, as in general, I try not to take off for length, as long as the quality remains constant throughout.... and it does. As often as not, at least. And there's certainly alot to work through. (8/10)
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

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It's not that I'm not willing to take children's literature seriously-- although it is true that I do not consider "Grimm's Fairy Tales" to be children's literature, but merely the finest book ever written (since Angela's Ashes is actually written *too* well)-- but I'm not sure that this meandering little adventure deserves to be compared to 'Stuart Little'-- or 'Charlotte's Web', if you like-- although I suppose that, in the field of children's literature, age must be equivalent to innocence. Tolstoy, for example, would have made a fine author of children's literature.... or Charlotte Lucas! (Actually Charlotte Lucas might have done a fine job.) But I suppose that I ought to be fair and admit that this 'Alice' of Lewis here is somewhat of an improvement over *that other Lewis*....Although, fine, full disclosure-- it's a little bit difficult for me to take Mr Lewis seriously after knowing that he wanted to use Euclid's original Greek manuscript as a learner's textbook-- and not just that, but as *the only one*!-- which is a stupid idea, and *not just* a stupid idea. It's as pedantic as possible, and it's the sort of thing that makes me wonder how open he really was to 'persuasion'~~ which in turn makes belief in his 'friendly uncle with small girl-child friend' story seem like a rather credulous sort of thing.... He starts to sound more like "Uncle Jack" from "Meet the Fockers" to me. Those little kids, like frightened little hens, can be so.... credulous. Although I know that all that might come off as being unduly in favor of the little goat-children, hahaha, but....Well, I will say that it is mildly less mildly disturbing than your average Tim Burton movie-- ha! ....But. But even though I thought that it was surely better than Tim Burton or C.S. Lewis, but, then, I saw that it was so boring, that it was.... pretty much the same. I mean, Latin grammar and French history? Really? I mean, is this a book for girls, or bearded old men gone cracked and gone off to climbing trees like boys? I mean, I was waiting for him to start going, 'Fifteen birds in five fir trees....'.... but at least *that* was not put out as being for *girls*! Oh! And chess! Yes, sir!Chess and Mr Collins for Alice! .... God, it almost makes me wish that Dvorak-- I mean, if Euclid's buddy can, then why not.... oh no, wait. 'Stabat Mater'. Never mind. Anyway, it's certainly not happy like Mozart or the Hugh Grant film about the pirates. (7/10)
The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living

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And the Dalai Lama is alright too, or however I should say it. Although I'm not sure that I'd spend this much of my time talking to him. *shrugs*{I mean, it's kinda cool that 2,500 years of Buddhist teachings and two-and-a-half years, or, whatever, of talks between the pope of zen and mister occident-- I mean, it could certainly be worse, as far as all *that* is concerned-- could be re-arranged and re-formated into the whole~ Part 1, Chapter 1, Page 7, sort of thing that the non-fiction folk is so well-adapted to, if you know what I mean.... I don't know. There's nothing so awful or terrible about it. It's just that, you know, well, if they talked in Arizona and India, I'm just kinda curious as to whether or not the place out east was a small town in the north-western corner of India which exists under the near-constant cover of clouds, or not. Or something like that. ("Even the word "happy" is derived from the Icelandic word *happ*, meaning luck or chance." Those plebbish Vikings! What happiness could they have found, worshipping Wodan and Freya? If only they had spent a few years in a university or a monk's cell, *then* they would have found the way to happiness.^^ I mean, "luck" is just another way of saying "magic", so maybe those Icelanders might understand 'the magic of Macy's' better than these monks, no?){~ And do you know what other word comes to us from the Old Norse? *Cake*! Yes, as in nom-nom-nom, *cake*. Yes, indeed, my friends.]'In the Kailasa Peninsula of northwest Uttar Pradesh, a small town named *coughforkscough* exists under the near-constant cover of clouds'. *chuckles mightily* (It's the same type-- different land. I'm not sure how else to explain it.) I mean, they did a decent job at what they were trying to do; I guess that it just depends on what your opinion is of *that*. ;0So that's my whole angle on it, basically.}[And, to be honest, it's just that-- the whole thing is soaked in a sort of sartorial correctness, but really, it's always flirting with trite-o-crity. (I mean, it gets to the point where, how do you take some of this stuff seriously? It's like a joke."Generally speaking, of course, we do not wish good things for our enemies."*nods seriously* I've noticed that as well.)[~ "If we must fight, then let it be with our enemies, rather than with our own children."]It's the sort of thing to make an epicurean tea garden look like an orgy....And Tony Tanner becomes an epicurean by comparison!....Hell, *Epictetus* becomes an epicurean by comparison! "Remember that thou art an actor in a play, perhaps."][I mean, the real questions, questions like-- "Gone is the summer, what will keep us, warm in the winter?" To which: "The human condition: lost in thought." For you, Eckhart. For you.] [And it is amazing to me, what *hickish little ditzes* these sartorial snobs can be sometimes! (Oh, Tony, you and I are WEWE-- worst enemies without end.... Just like George Wickham, and George Long!) "Modern science" has proven that if you give someone something for free before asking them for money, then they're more likely to give you the money. (".... I had a ton of singles left over from my sister's birthday party....") Well, then, but it's not free, is it? Ah, but such is this magic of Macy's....][~ Oh, and if my manner has been at all reprehensible, then I sincerely apologize, you guys.] (7/10)
To the Stars: The Autobiography of Star Trek's Mr. Sulu

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Full disclosure: not a Trekkie. But I'll take this over some William Shatner novel, sure. Because it is a good memoir, because it gives you his memories; "Memory is a wily keeper of the past...."; "All memories now. All fleeting as the sand blowing past the window. All gone." And although the writing itself isn't unusually good or bad, it is different to see how things end up being "only a collection of memories", when done. (8/10)
The Secret Garden

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I almost didn't write a review of this, but then I figured.... eh, just because I'm not sure I'll take the trick, doesn't mean I can't put my card on the table. Anyway, my brother was in a stage piece of this, (as Mr. Craven) when I was in middle school, I think, {not quite ten years ago, come to think of it-- back when I was a gosling!}, and so I watched every performance they gave-- three, I think-- and I obsessed over the soundtrack for awhile.... I found it all to be wonderfully depressing, which was a sort of grey blessing, since I was absolutely depressed myself at the time.... Anyway, I know that that sort of reflection might be seen as a bit amateurish or something, but theatre can be illuminating.... I saw a stage piece of a Sherlock Holmes a few weeks ago, which helped me realize how much I detest that stupid....Anyway. It can be a bit more grey than green.... And there's an obvious thrust at 'magic', I guess, but it just manages to shy away from total cynicism and doesn't quite.... sometimes it just doesn't.... sometimes you just can't quite feel the magic in the cards, you know.... sometimes children have flowers in their cups, and other times.... they're just a bunch of little.... Six and one, you know.... It might seem a little odd to compare this to 'Pride & Prejudice', (and I care not to know precisely what some of the 1911 crowd thought of dearest Jane), but that is easily explained-- I obsess about P&P, and compare all manner of phenomenon to it. And.... the thing is.... 'tisn't as good, is it.... I mean, I read that once Jane joked that she ought to have written a chapter about Napoleon, you see what I mean, some things are just better avoided.... And while it's certainly easy enough to see the sort of.... craven, application of the ethic of avoidance-- lock up the garden! Never go back in!-- still.... still.... I mean, this book itself isn't quite needing of avoidance, it's like *that*.... but almost, almost, at times..... I mean, to be rather cruel about it-- Kitty and Lydia die in a flood, Mary hates everyone, and Lizzie goes off and jumps in the mud with the goats and kids from the.... from the lanes, almost! I mean, I hate to be brusque about it-- since it's almost become my cardinal sin!-- but you can do that with anything, I mean, with girls.... I mean, I've sorta come to think that there are only five girls in the world, although unfortunately there are just too many times when it's like, Where's Jane? What did you *do* with her? (I mean, and.... I *hesitate* to call Mrs. Bennet a 'girl'; she's the Queen of Spades!) So, there's that. I mean, you can see, obviously, how it's not quite as bad, well, not nearly as bad, as it obviously could have been, so there's that.... I mean, thank merciful Juno that there are no bloody suffragette riots, and no Irish thugs {and my family comes from, Suffolk, by and by, just like all of the Keatings} to crack Sybil's head against the pavement-- that, I suppose, would be one of the cardinal benefits of living in what might be loosely denominated as 'the middle of nowhere', a sort of English Appalachia, where people still (1911) are to be heard uttering variations of "thou", such as "tha'" and so on-- but I mean.... "You come along back to your own nursery or I'll box your ears." I mean, I haven't read all of the novels, but I'd imitate my Irish ancestors and 'bet the dole', so to speak, that *nothing* like that, ever, ever, *ever*.... I mean, I don't think you could get Lady Austen to put a sentence like that in print, if you offered to pay her all the muslin in India.... Not if offered to celebrate *her* birthday, the way that we celebrate that of *Dickens*.... and I suppose, that that's why we *don't*. "I am just a poor boy and my story's seldom told." Shut, up! Wow, I really wasn't going to do that. You follow it though, don't you?.... Do you knit, no, Do you sew, no, Do you read, Yes, why..... "Vanity and pride are different things...." You know, *sometimes*, they are pretty much the same.... I mean, I honestly didn't want to snap my fingers like this.... It's feelings about magic aren't as obnoxiously and nauseatingly and stupidly insincere as something like C.S. Lewis ("Mere Christianity"-- yes, *mere*, christianity, indeed!), or Lewis Carroll ("Euclid and his Modern Rivals"-- damn Anglophones! *Teach them in Greek!*) might write.... or something that *Wickham* might say.... And, yes, I do hiss, I hiss at the very name, at very *shadow* of that name.... I am a little mean sometimes, though.... the girl is the one who stands out, hahaha..... Although not here.... I mean, at least it's England, not Narnia.... or Kandahar.... .... Just because you dine at Pemberley, doesn't mean that you're stupid.... Just because you're not in one of those real Clint Eastwood movies, you know, looking the gritty truth of the world in eye, just like.... (Look the cold truth in the eye! Stare into the abyss!) I mean, like, it's not that hard to figure out what the orphans of the British Army are like, is it? It's not as though you've got to read "The River War", do you.... *or even this book*! I mean, if Mr. Bennet, *acting as though he wouldn't* go call on Bingely is bad, very bad, even, then how bad is it, if he *never* does, because.... he's not, *anywhere*? Very Bad Indeed, I should say.... Say, what would happen, were I to drink from that poisoned well? ~Well, that would be, Very Bad Indeed. ~Ah. I see. What more? What more is there? I mean, I do hope that my manner hasn't gone ill with anyone, and I am sure that just because I have alot to say-- more than I really meant to-- doesn't mean that I've balanced every word just so, the way that I might like.... But, anyway, it could surely have been worse-- and that is something, that is surely something....Although Mary could have played cribbage with Martha, and I'm sure they both could have gotten something out of that.... not that I dislike Martha, not at all.(It's just that she's not a girl; she's a servant. Did you ever read "And Then There Were None"? Another one of these lovely post-Victorian pieces-- see, I told you it could be *worse*! Anyway, "the women" always meant the two women, not the two women and the servant's wife.... Such bitter business, though-- better not to think on it....) Anyway. It need not really be marked for avoidance, though it does have a little grey in it. There's just better and worse, that's all. (8/10)
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