I - Miscellany
Missing Dick ... PKD Android nowhere to be found.
Patsy Ramsey, Aaron Spelling, Anna Nicole Smith's inheritance rival, and Harriet (‘Darwin's tortoise’) all dead ... coincidence, or result of Agassi's decision to retire at the end of the season? I suspect Warren Buffet is to blame. You decide.
Robert Alter's review of Steven B. Smith's Reading Leo Strauss (U of Chicago P, 256pp.) is a fascinating look at Strauss, and one that makes me interested in reading not only Smith's volume, but also some of Strauss' work. The loose connection with Benjamin and other commentators and critics of modernity also interests me. It briefly explores the disconnect between Strauss' work/writings and the neo-cons who claim him as a source/inspiration/intellectual-father.
II - Sunday In Review
2:08 a.m. on Sunday the 26 of June, a drunk German male, age between 20 and 25, short brown or blond hair, stole the “Einbahnstrasse” sign from the corner of Auguststr. and Grosse Hamburgerstr. Asshole. He was in a party of about five.
An hour later another group of drunk males worked long and hard to push over the barrier separating the sidewalk and street—they knocked it over such that it was in the street. During the next fifteen minutes or more a number of taxis slowed and then drove over it on their way down the street, and shortly thereafter another group of passersby reerected it.
I planned on a lazy Sunday. In the early afternoon and after I had consumed a late breakfast, L&M called and asked if I wished to join them for lunch; we met at Rosenthaler Platz, walked past the Germania Apotheke, and down Weinbergsweg to Bistro Viet Nam, where a couple euros gets you a satisfying meal. A couple hungry sparrows lingered, snatching up grains and clumps of rice whenever it suited them.
With forty-five minutes until the game, we paid and walked up the street to and through the Volkspark am Weinberg, which is home to a Heinrich Hein statue as well as plenty of sunbathers enjoying the rather warm summer air. As we walked back down Rosenthalerstr. we were surprised to find an Edeka that was open ... at first I thought it must be a mistake, that someone had broken in or somehow left a door open, but no, they were actually doing business on a Sunday. Amazing.
The cashier indicated that through the World Cup they would be doing so. I picked up some chopped almonds for baking.
And back to L&M's we went, first down Tor Strasse to Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, then past the Erdbeer Bar, and so on. Water, coffee, and beer followed, as did a lame, ugly match between England and Ecuador.
I think Martin and I were of the same opinion: send both teams home and bring back the Ivory Coast. The most gut-splitting-funny moment of the day happened in the 60th minute ... not Beckham's winning goal ... no, but it was tied to that. The digital receiver went on the fritz right then ... the only glitch I have ever experienced at their place, and thus, we missed the only goal of the game. Of course, we got it a few seconds later on replay. And from a reverse angle. And replayed again, and in the highlights.
During the match I browsed through Suhrkamp's Theorien der Kunst, which has a few interesting essays—it is just an anthology, but a rather decent one. After the match I stuck around for a while, and then headed home.
III - Interlude
hi my love
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There is almost something poetic about this incompetence. I am fond of “looking forward to read from you sooner.”
IV - Let the Madness Begin
Less than midway through the second match, I had to give Andrew a call, and I think we spent the rest of the game on the phone ... at 1.2 cents a minute, I cannot complain that much. Others have commented on this already, but I just have to get my own 2 cents (or 1.2) in ... among other things, how much does the Netherlands suck? Have a 11-10 advantage for quite a while, dominate time of possession, and never take advantage of it. Play smart, wear them out, keep your advantage ... or, be stupid, even things out in the red card realm, stop taking smart shots on goal. People can complain about the officials if they wish, and they were clearly not saints, but the reality is, for once, quite simple: the players on both sides were mind-numbingly stupid. It made the Italy-U.S. game seem well-played in comparison.
Neither team deserved to advance (given the circumstances, Portugal ‘deserved’ the win, and Maniche's goal was beautiful), so again: send them both home, and bring back the Ivory Coast.
England-Portugal: England's match to lose.
V - Today
More banana bread ... the bananas I bought on Friday were starting to turn, so baking was (is!) the only option. I had exactly 1 cup of buttermilk left in the container ... that is two loaves. 250g of butter. Melted.
I think I need to go out for a coffee, once the second loaf is finished. Get out, be social, perhaps get some sun. On the one hand I need to stay in, do my ‘work’ and such, but I can always take certain aspects of my work with me.
There is a popular 1954 performance of Goethe's Faust as an “audio book” that I recently acquired. It is considered, in some circles, as the first German audio book, but I digress. The main reason to listen to it is because it features Gustaf Grüdgens as Mephistopheles.
I forgot a few (well, many) lines from the monologue in the tower that in retrospect fit in nicely with the structure of the two prologues.
I may not pretend, aught rightly to know,
I may not pretend, through teaching, to find
A means to improve or convert mankind.
Indeed, two prologues, the first in the theater and the second in heaven. One can take it as a sort of meta-literary nod, parallelism, allegory, etc. What is also worth noting is that these lines relate directly to the second prologue, not just to Faust's despair at the limits and even uselessness of all the (discursive) knowledge he has acquired, insofar as Faust himself conforms to the project of improvement set out by God:
Though in perplexity he serves me now,
I soon will lead him where more light appears;
When buds the sapling, doth the gardener know
That flowers and fruit will deck the coming years.
These are just two of the models for improvement/growth (learning and organic) in the text; the last act of the second part produces a more socially-oriented approach, a utopian project (all centered striving, I must admit).
Goethe's Faust differs from earlier tales in a number of ways, not least of which is its reevaluation of its protagonist's goals and striving for “forbidden” knowledge, and this, too, parallels an Enlightenment reinterpretation of the Fall from Grace (as a good thing). But structurally, as is evidenced by the two prologues, it is also new, for it also sets up Faust's tale and trials as one similar to that of Job (a similar technique was used by Bulgakov, who, instead of Job, chose Jesus). Anyway, this is just rambling.
I HAVE, alas! Philosophy,
Medicine, Jurisprudence too,
And to my cost Theology,
With ardent labour, studied through.
And here I stand, with all my lore,
Poor fool, no wiser than before.
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