I'm not one to entertain myself reading boring books told by some dodgy loner while I got a DVD player. But this is an intellectual book. It's a story told by an author who's been through a lot, mentally and physically, so what he writes he can back up with experience.The last time I was in Russia, I read Memoirs from the House of the Dead. This freaked out the person who very kindly guided me around Moscow
Thursday, July 20, 2006
I am going to Moscow next week for a physics confernce. One very important question is what to read during the trip. If I can get a copy, I am going to read: The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky. I think I am ready. There is a great review on Amazon that starts:
To win this Templeton prize, I am going to need show some proof that I am a deeply spirtual person. Here are stories of my tangling with religon during my disolute life. When I was young my mum went through a stage where we some of the family were forced to go to church. Something to do with moral devlopment. About the only thing I can remeber about my church going days is a sermon by the priest that goes something like this. Some dude went to church on Sunday and then went for beers in the pub. In the church he put his beer money in the collection pan, and kept his collection money foe the pub. His friends in the pub, after the service , told him he should go back and ask for his money back from the priest. And the guy went "what the church gets, the churchs gets". Even at 12, this sounded like a weird sermon. What was this message. This event was before the time of ATM machines. I have thought about the spirtual meaning of this for many years. As I hit twennty, I realised the real point of the story was that the church will steal money from drunks. I very rarley step inside a church these days. Note that I am pretty sure that this priest went crazy and was kicked out. This didn't seem to trouble anyones faith, but then what would. OK, I can see the Templeton foundation being too happy with the last story' Let me try another slice of my life. I was on a plan in the US. The plan had landed and we were waiting to disembark. A kindly old preit with white hair said to two college girls he had been sitting with, "good luck with your exams". My heart started pounding, and I clenched my fists. The people in fron of me, looked at me in a strange way, as I almost pushed in front of them because I wanted to hit the priest. As I was walking on the runway, on the way to the terminal, in the bright sunshine. my heart rate hit normal and I was calmed by my cold sweat. Where this rage from, I don't know. I am not as rational and in control as I think. Perhaps, my final story will be more suitable. I was at a physics confernce in Durham. This was held in a theology college in the centre of town. I was in a seminat watching a talk. A priest walk in to the room. He was fat and rudy from fine College claret. His study of theology had not diminished his fondness for the meat tray. He stood there for 10 seconds like some confused dim witted peacock, then walked out secure in his faith and stupidity. I thought "what a dick". I had obviously grown as a human being because I didn't want to do him any violence. Umm, ok storty three gives me something to work with. I will have to change the ending though.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
For reasons still unclear to me I stumbled on Steven Jesse Bernstein. Sometimes I find things by reading a review or some bastardised history. In Bernstein's case I just got a tape in a record store because I liked the cover. When I searched on the web and Amazon maybe a year ago, I could find no information about him. Another lost hero. The magic of wikipedia and myspace, his legacy lives on. I have both tapes "a sad bag" and "prison". "A sad bag" is apparently rare. I used to play it a lot late at night, when I was geting depressed enough to sleep. My favourite track is "the man upstairs." I played this to someone I cared about, to their total lack of interest. I guess it is no fun to share your own self inflcted private hell. I like the nerdy picture of Steven on myspace. from wikipedia I learnt that he used to read poetry with a live rodent in his mouth. How cool is that! No wonder he opened for Nirvana.
Monday, July 17, 2006
I see my very good drinking buddy "Sir John Templeton" has written some books. They look a bit like vanity publishing to me. If my spirtual facard is pierced, I may need to do some serious sucking up to get my hands on the prize money. "I really really enjoyed reading your book. I was deeply moved". (This this is just a little white lie -- I don't want to hurt his feelings). Here is what amazon stock. I can get one of his book for 14p. I am not sure I can face reading it though.
I have just finished reading "The Innovators Dilemma" by Clayton Christensen. This is a business book about firms trying to market new technology. Big firms listen to their customers, but miss new markets. The products developed for new markets eventually take over the older established markets and the old companies go bust. The arguments in the book make a lot of sense, but then it is still hard to know what to do about it. That is a being a bit mean to the author, who does offer much sensible advice on how to sell new things.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
I am listening to a new (for me anyway) radio station called resonance FM. There was an article about this station in todays on line gaurdian. There is a jazz show on at the moment. At least I think it is jazz show, some of the tracks are almost white noise. When I lived in Kentucky I used to get a lot of cassette tapes from a label. This was the first time I heard the mountain goats and Simon Joyner. I really liked "paste" who was a guy screaming with a guitar. Either past or one of his buddies would just turn up at gigs and not tune, but scream, rant and power through the set. I thought past were awesome, but he seems to have vanished. Life is so cruel to creative people. Amazon can still sell me some new Simon Joyner CDs.
To win the Templeton prize, I think I need some kind of spirtual laser. I am not really so sure how to build one, but I have a plan. I am pretty sure that when you meet a bishop you are meant to kiss the ring on their hand. Either, you have to kiss the ring of a bishop or you have to kiss the ring of the mafia chief. I always get those two mixed up. The plan is this. I will meet a bishop, perhaps in Marks and Spencers buying some salad. I will pretend to kiss the ring on his hand. As I put my lips on the ring, I will clench the finger in my mouth and suck the ring down to my stomach. My hope is that bishops have better things to do than stand around waiting for me to crap out his ring. Given the decline of christanity in this country, he is not going to send round some goon soldier priests with rubber gloves to watch me as I take a dump. The rubies and diamonds fom the rings will help me create the sprirtual laser. At this point I get a bit stuck. Perhaps, I will shine a torch on them, or hit them with a hammer. A spirtual laser would help me see other worlds or even the goodness in bad church going folk. Google didn't give me any information about to make a spirtual laser. Perhaps, I will just sell the rings. I worry more that I get so excited that I bite the bishops finger off, and run around the store while chewing it.
Friday, July 14, 2006
I have found that I need to talk a lot less, now that I have this BLOG. I no longer need to talk to my coworkers about beheadings. That part of my personality is chained safely within the confinds of the blogosphere. I have started to tell people about some adventure. Such as "well there were 5 of them with guns and machetes, and all I had was a can of iron bru, but did I waste those f*ckers". I usually get as far as "there were 5.." and then the other person says "read about it in you BLOG". I no longer need to say anything. My valuable breath is saved. (Ok, this has probably happened twice) Soon, I will not need to speak at all. If people are not interested in my views, they can simply rip the wireless keyboard from my rotten fingers. Did I Ever tell you about the man who taught his asshole to talk?
Thursday, July 13, 2006
One neat thing about Glasgow is that is different to many places in England. It is just the little things, like wondering down a street and seeing so many people drnking iron bru. I also like the nice friendly can of tennents lager. It is all very tastfull, a yellow can with a frindly big red letter T on the front. It is brewed in Glasgow. Not so strong, a mere 4%, but this is Scotland, if you want extra kick, then you drink your beer with a whisky chaser. Umm, the letter T, what does it make you think of? Originally, I though of T as in "The", but now I think T as in Templeton. It is a good omen for my quest to win the Templeton prize. Perhaps, the brewery would like to sponsor me.
I finally found the king tuts venue in Glasgow. This was my third attempt to find the place. I was getting ready to a get a GPS on ebay. Now I just need to see a gig there. I would like to go and see Lach play on the 23rd of July, but I am going to a conference then.
I wnt to see the French film District 13 at Glasgow cineworld. When I got the ticket, it took me a while to understand what the woman at the till asked. I finally worked out that she was asking "do you know this film is subtitles?" What was she trying to insuate, that IU can't read, or I am just some kind of dumb guy who just watches action movies (OK that part is true). This was a film, where hearing the actors talk was not so important. There was a lot of really cool jumping off buildings and jumping downstairs and over cars. Lots of shooting too! It is good to see a good foreign film. I feel sophisticated. Poor Jackie Chan is no longer the master of running and jumping
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
So Syd Barrett is dead. Another hero gone. Kevin Coyne died recently. Only one of my heroes on myspace is still alive. Like many people my age I got into Pink Floyd from "the wall", but as I got older and things seem to get stranger, I was more and more drawn to Barrett. When I was growing I spent my first (and last) clothes allowance on buying the two solo albums of Barrett. There is something about the voice. Perhaps, I am another loser, who worships the myth of insanity. Oh well, I still need a copy of syd playing "Vegetable Man". The Jesus and Mary chain version is not enough. I once heard a radio interview by Malcolm MacLaren who wanted Barrett to produce the sex pistols. When Syd replied the radio went shhhshhshs, so I never got to hear what he said. On some other radio show they interviewed his brother in law who had power of attorney for him. I once heard a song where they go round for tea at Syd Barrets house. Part of lyric goes "hw was very famous once". Syd is still famous among the few that know.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
For a mere 22 pounds I can buy "a bible cake" from Greggs on Byers Rd. This may be worth the cost, but my body rejected the shiny white cake, even as I queuned up for my morning bacon roll. I hope that when I win the Templeton prize, I am not served "Bible cake", because they may have to force me to eat it and then I would puke it back up. This would not be so good at a fancy prize awarding cermony. Even in these times when the church is slowly sinking into the swamp of oblivion, I find my repulsion for all christian things somehwat excessive. Perhaps, I am possessed by a minor demon. That would make some sort of sense. I don't see this as an obstacle to winning the Templeton prize for joining science and spirituality. Still the explanation is too common place.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
I am not totally sure that I always need to record every CD I buy, or DVD I watch in this BLOG. On the other hand, when I win the "Templeton prize", someone may want to write my biography. This online diary will be a useful resource. I can't decide who the best person would be to write my biography. I was thinking of asking Harold Pinter. Or perhaps, Salmon Rushdie would be the man to write my life history.
I watched the DVD "good night and good luck" last night. This was the back and white film about a TV journalist who went after Joseph McCarthy. It was a very clever film with some mighty fine acting. I never felt that the top journalist was ever in any danger of being smeared and destroyed. Although the lesser people around him were in danger of losing everything. At the end of the film, Munro gave a speech about how mindless entertainment on TV wsa kiliing the medium. I even thought about this as I watched a documentary abot Gram Parsons, who was one the first country rock people. When he died, two of his drinking buddies stole his body and set fire to it in the desert. After that I watched the avengers, that show is being repeated using the magic of additional digital channels. This evening I am going to watch "dead or alive" a DVD directed by Takashi Miike. So I have learnt nothing from watching "good night and good luck".
Thursday, July 06, 2006
To try and improve my blogging I am reading "Franz Kafka: Letters to Milena". before BLOGS, there were letters. I still remember when I found Franz Kafka's "america" in the local library in Knutsford. I was hoping that my writing would turn more outwards, rather this strange and crazy persuit of inner sanity. Kafka is fairly self obsessed. He is writing to woman, but it is clear that Kafka is shielded from normal emotion by a wall of words. Here is a quote from a letter by Kafka
Writing letters .. means to denude oneself before the ghosts, something for which they greadily wait. Written kisses don't reach their destination, rather they are drunk on the way by the ghosts.Cool, eh.. I was going to look up what "denude" means, but as I copied the lines from the book, it became clear. If at work I write "unquench", then perhaps I am allowed to use denude at home. I am losing faith in myself, I will look up up "denode" later.. Kafka says
It occurs to me that I can't remember your face in any precise detail. Only how you finally walked away between the tables of the coffee-house, your figure, your dress, these I can still see.Kafka dude, you are telling the chick she has an ugly face. Also, what is this "finally" word telling her. Gosh, if I could spin and weave these words into mighty tales, perhaps I too could be arrogant and rude.
I did plan to go to King Tuts (music venue) after the film last night. However, I couldn't find the place. I had sketched out a little map, but somehow I couldn't find the street to turn off. This is the second time that I have failed to find this venue. One of the particular joys of Glasgow is that the same street will change its name. Of course I could have taken an AZ to the gig, but frankly that wouldn't be too cool. One day I will find tbis mythical venue. The sound of roaring guitars will meet me and I will know I have arrived to where the sound is.
I wnt out to see the film "fearless" with Jet Li at the Glasgow cini-world Wednesday evening. I would like to point out that, that I had a piece of dust in my eye at the end of the film. I was definetly not crying. This was a peroid piece film set in 1910. Jet Li was a Wushu (kung fu) fighter who by arrgogance ended up killing a master. He hies in the country and comes back to help fight for Chinese honour. I am no expert on this, but it was like a slightly lower budget version of "once upon a time in china". In fact he may have been playing the same person "Wong Fei Hung". It was much better than Jet Li's western films. As I got home they were showing "the one" on channel 5. This did nothing for me when I saw it at the cinema. Too much wire and CGI.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
After a wee search I have found another internet radio station. This is one is called radio magnet. It is based in Glasgow and has a number of DJ based shows in different styles. I started listening to the indie show. The DJ managed to last one track before he played local Glasgow favourites: Camera Obscura. I would enjoy looking for new stations more if "real player" sort of did what it was supposed to do. I shpuld never have upgraded. Perhapsm I should read the help file.
Monday, July 03, 2006
Now that the goal of my life is winning the templeton prize, I can finally enjoy watching the "supernatural" TV program. It is not mindless entertainment, but actually useful background viewing for some top quality essay for the Templeton prize. Umm, while I think about it, there were many x-files episodes that I missed as well.
I think my relations with the opposite sex would improve if I was more sensitive. So I read the SCUM manifesto by Valerie Solanas. Valarie is famous for shooting Andy Warhol. I think it is fair to say that Valarie hates men. SCUM stands for the Society for Cutting Up Men. I am always disapointed that this type writing is not crazy enough. Here is a quote:
The male is completly egocentric, trapped inside himself, incapable of emphasising or identifying with others, of love, friendship, affection or tenderness. He is a completed isolated unit incapble of rapport with anyone. His responses are entirely visceral, not cerebral; his intelligence is a mere tool in the service of his drives and needsAs I told you not so mad. If only Valerie had seen the football players in the English team crying on Saturday, then perhaps she might have changed her mind.....
I spent Saturday night in Aberdeen. In the room, after doing important Saturday night things like watch Dr Who, I thought I should do thinking about quest for the Templeton prize. If I want that cheque for a million dollars in my pocket then I am going to have to focus many of my waking hours on becoming spirtual. Since I was in a hotel room I thought I would look at the bible. I saw a black leather book on a bookshelf in the room. This is meant to comfort people in some way that is apparentlt better than providing free shots of whisky. As I moved towards the bible I started sweating and limbs felt numb. I just couldn't get close enough to pick it up. I felt a deep revulsion to the leather bound book. I didn't try very hard. About twenty years ago, I stopped going into churches and cathedrals. Obviosuly, before that I never used to actually go to any religous service. I am talking about entering a church as a tourist. I don't feel well going into churches. Luckily the hotel room had many mirrors, and I could check that my reflection was still. I don't think I have been bitten on the neck recently, so I am safe on that front. I could just be mildly christianity. I don't think I am any kind of Damion like figure. Dogs either bark at me or come up wag their tail and lick my hand.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
While in Aberdeen I picked up "the virago book of spirituality" and a book of pictures about the freemasons. I am not totally clear in my mind, how reading a book on the freemasons will help me win the Templeton prize, but it has some coll pictures. The book on spirituality is probably more useful. It is a collection of articles about inner peace. I may actually finsih this book, because it is not so dull. I might have to some candle staring to fins some kind of inner peace that I can market as an "experience" profound enough to win the Templeton money. In the same bargain bookstore I can get books on magic and the occult. I may have to face the possiblity of casting spells or a hex on some of the other people going after the prize money. I don't see anything in the rules of the Templeton foundation that does not allow the use of black magic. Anyway I am sure that will not mind if I help my case with the black arts -- as long as no one finds out about it
I have been feeling more and more burnt during the last few weeks. I needed a break, but the Russian's have my passport, so I took Friday off. On Friday I went to see Lake Lomond. This involved getting a train to Balloch. Many times when I have visited Glasgow, someone always end up going to see Lake Lomond. So I decided it was my turn to view Lake Lomond. Given the hight cost of trains and hotels in the UK, I have been going to Europe for a holidays. However, as I got off the train, I rembered another a reason that I don't take many holidays in the UK. Rain. It was raining when I got off the train. It wasn't raining too hard so I thought I would trudge on. I usually don't bother with any of this map business, so I wondered around for a bit and found some water. Thedn I saw a cruise ship set off, so I followed that for a bit along some path. The rain was getting heavier, but I thought I would press on follwoing the path by the lake shore. The countryside is very different to the city. There are no coffee shops where a person can have a breather. In fact I hardly saw anyone at all. More rain fell. After a while, I got bored and turned around back to the station. I saw some map and to my relief found that I had indeed been walking around Lake Lomond. So another box ticked, and I headed back to the city for some Japense food and a flask of warm sake. In Glasgow the sun shone on, as the city welcomed me back in my wet and dirty country clothes