Sunday, 29 December 2013

At another year's closing

To end the year, another unattributed quote. (I have plenty - attributed and unattributed - they just seem to collect.)

"We are on an endless journey into the infinity of God."

The corollary of this is that there can be no end and that simply being on the road should be everything for which one can hope.

when it comes

Monday, 23 December 2013

Merry Christmas
[Visit: TRAP]

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Seeing Right Angles

I saw this in an exhibition in North Wales over a year ago and was then fortunate enough to find it online at the photographer's website. This image, like others produced by the artist Neil Coombs very much appeals to my fascination with right angles and the space they confine. As his other photographs also show, Coombs sees things within the broader canvas of everyday sight and captures those fragments within the confines of an image.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Changing the Universe

The following quote (unattributed) is quite literally true:

"With every thought you have, the universe is a different place."

Everytime you have a thought - everytime something 'crosses your mind' - the universe is changed. The way it is configured, it's internal state is altered in some way. Be it ever so infinitessimal, it is nevertheless different. So each one of us has a bearing on the universe and if the butterfly effect is correct, we may even have an effect.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Split second timing

A  friend shared a page from the eddenya website on Facebook the other day. It's a page of 50 images taken at just that moment when something unexpectedly funny is happening. Sometimes the event occurs only in that split second that the camera's shutter goes and captures what the photographer probably doesn't realise they have got until reviewing the picture afterwards.The image below (from that page) isn't quite in that mode but it made me laugh out loud when I saw what a faux pas Starbucks had performed on itself.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Welcome to the Cruise

I can't say that I'm a fan of Judie Tzuke. Until a few weeks ago, I had only ever heard one of her songs - Stay With Me Till Dawn which I think is excellent for the feelings and atmosphere it evokes. However, I had previously seen this album cover many years ago and when I saw it again recently I was struck by it once again. I can't explain what it is about this image that appeals to me or why it should. It just does.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

The Day JFK Died - Thoughts the day after the 50th Anniversary

It is often said that people can remember where they were when President Kennedy was assassinated. That is not, of course, true in the strictest sense. Rather, they can remember where they were when they heard that President Kennedy had been assassinated. Be that as it may, nobody ever seems to take into account false memories or recollections that are misconstrued in some way.

A friend of mine - who is much the same age as me - tells me that he remembers hearing about the assassination at lunchtime the day it happened from the nuns at his Catholic school. The nuns asked everybody to pause and say a prayer before being allowed to continue with their lunch. My recollection is very different. It was a Friday evening when I heard. Friday night was bath night and so I was sitting in the zinc bath in the living room (there was no bathroom in the house in which we lived). The coal fire was burning to my right and I was watching the television on the sideboard in front of me. Programmes were interrupted to announce Kennedy's assassination, whereupon advertised programming was suspended. Broadcast instead was a man playing sombre music at a grand piano.

So whose recollections are more accurate? Unless my friend had gone to boarding school (which he did not) and was dinning (rather than lunching) quite late in the evening, I would have to go with my version. I recently heard that it was announced that President Kennedy was dead at 1pm Dallas time. Dallas is six hours behind London time. That puts the announcement at 7pm London time (on Friday 22nd November 1963). Then, allowing time for the news to be transmitted over the wires - these being the days before fast internet and satellite communication - a time more in keeping with my usual weekly bath time of around 8pm fits.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

A Philosopher In Meditation

I can across this painting on the web. The title given is A Philosopher In Meditation, although that may not be the subject matter as originally painted. It is purported to be by Rembrandt (1606-1669). I particularly like the twisting staircase which seems to represent the philosopher's convoluted chain of thought. He is concerned with higher things - or at least things that lead to a higher plane - unlike the woman in the corner who busies herself with more mundane matters like keeping warm.

I have subsequently also found on the web the following, very similar painting entitled Philosopher with an Open Book by Salomon Koninck (1609-1656) who was a contemporary and countryman of Rembrandt's and who apparently moved in the same circles. I suspect that copying was done not so much as an act of plagiarism but as a mark of respect.

Monday, 11 November 2013

What are universities for?

In the light of the recent newspaper headlines entitled 'Towering Stupidity' - detailing the indiscretions of a couple of students studying(?) not a million miles paces from here: a story that 'went global' within hours - I have subsequently come across this quote in some notes I made a year ago.

'Universities are for two things: Thinking and Learning.' (David Osler)

I'm not sure which David Osler that is; I can't find the quote attributed anywhere - I am, instead, relying very much on the trustworthiness of a colleague who gave me the quote. However, whoever said it, it provides serious food for thought. How the learning takes place is something open to debate but the requirement for thinking - and by implication deep thinking - is paramount (as events have demonstrated).

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

A Liberal Education

This summer, A.C. Grayling visited Gladstone's Library and delivered the Founder's Day address entitled 'The Necessity of a Liberal Education'.

For a taste of academia as it should be, watch the following video (at YouTube):

Follow this link: Gladstone's Library Founder's Day July 2013
NB The video is unlisted and can be linked to but not embedded.