Print Story Accentuating the negative
By lm (Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 06:52:04 AM EST) (all tags)
And other adventures most unrelated to negation.

In health news, I continued to increase strength and stamina as last week progressed. Three Mondays ago being the first day I exercised after two weeks off due to illness, I quickly discovered just how much strength I had lost. By Wednesday, I had recovered enough strength to realize how much stamina I had lost. By Friday, my stamina was mostly back. By this week, I'm back to my problem being entirely strength. I'm back up to three sets on the super circuit, but not three full sets. Bench presses and shoulder presses give me the most trouble. I can do three full sets on all of the other parts of the weight circuit.

Since I'm having to build back up anyway, I'm doing the reps slow and focusing on the negatives. Rather than letting the weight mostly fall on the downward motions, I'm trying to bring it down in a deliberate and controlled fashion.

Running wise, it's been hit or miss. Some mornings I clock in the mile at over 9 minutes. Other mornings at under 9 minutes. I've yet to get back under 8.

Pound wise, I'm back into officially-not-fat territory. The most impressive bit was that I didn't gain any weight over the course of the weekend. I thought for certain that I was going to gain weight after dinner two Sunday's ago of deep fried battered pork bathed in sweet and sour sauce. But I didn't.

:: :: :: :: ::

The occasion of that sweet and sour pork was a very small dinner party. A cousin invited herself over for dinner. I invited some old friends over as well. So with my eldest daughter being on a weekend ski trip, that left a dinner party of six. The friends brought wine and Choco-Leibniz. My cousin brought herself. It was a fun time and we all talked far too long and far too late into the night.

It was a nice way to cap off a very pleasant day. After the Liturgy, I'd dropped my youngest daughter and wife off at the local nursing home where they attended a class to prepare them to volunteer. I took the time to collect my pocket watch which I took in for warranty service back in the first week of January. (When the watch place called to inform me to pick it up my youngest daughter took the message. She informed me that somebody had called to tell me that something was ready for me to pick up. Thank goodness for caller-id logs.) After collecting the watch, I started to outline one of the Enneads before heading back to pick up my wife and child.

Once home, I spent most of the time in the kitchen. The full menu was a cucumber salad, french cut green beens, fried rice, naan and the aforementioned sweet and sour pork. I had just enough help in the last half hour to bring everything together at just the right time. The effort was well worth it. The only misstep was trying hulver's patented oven method for cooking the naan. The bottom was burnt on half. I suspect my oven gets hotter than his. I'll try the same method next time but not keep it in the oven quite as long so that it isn't crispy and with a blackened bottom.

:: :: :: ::

Fareed Zakariah made some observations about Canadian banking:  ``The Toronto Dominion Bank, for example, was the 15th-largest bank in North America one year ago. Now it is the fifth-largest. It hasn't grown in size; the others have all shrunk.'' I find it hard to believe that Canada is the land of milk and honey that he describes. Nonetheless, I suspect that there is much that Canada is doing that the US could do well to learn from.

Reuters has a nice interview with Vikas Swarup who wrote the novel Q&A which was optioned and reworked into Slumdog Millionaire. I've been wanting to see this film since it first came out. Part of that is being a Danny Boyle fan. But I'm wary based on what one reviewer called its sleight of hand. It's a movie about gripping poverty and then it just ends in a Bollywood song and dance finale without ever really dealing with the galling poverty of the slums of Bombay. I suspect I might like the novel better.

A mildly humorous look at the truth behind folks like us using Facebook: Facebook Made Me Do It: Seven lies we tell ourselves about social networking.

Atlantis was not found. It's a shame. I saw a link to an article saying it had been found and ...

Krugman speaks truth to power. All these bailout plans are trying give public money to private industry without looking socialist. That's nuts. The banks should write down their losses on mortgages and mortgage derivatives and then the government can buy those obligations and, if the bank would not survive that, be nationalized. It won't be pretty. But what other realistic options are there? As Krugman notes, ``What we have now isn’t private enterprise, it’s lemon socialism: banks get the upside but taxpayers bear the risks. And it’s perpetuating zombie banks, blocking economic recovery.''

:: :: ::

I had an odd dream a few nights ago. In my dream TheophileEscargot called me up in the middle of the night to take issue with something I had said about Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. We talked quite a length at various literary theories about the work with the tone slowly escalating on both sides until we were both quite agitated and irritated at the other.

I don't give much meaning to dreams, but this seems to be part of a trend of my dreams being more vivid. I can still hear the voice that TE had in my head. Other dreams I've had recently have been similarly bizarre. And just as vivid.

:: ::

I'm presently reading an interesting take on Emmanuel Levinas. He was a student of Heidegger who was a student of Husserl. Levinas' work in phenomenology is interesting because he pointed out that Heidegger's misreading of Husserl on the question of time as it pertains to being ends in totalitarianism. I don't know of any other philosopher that predicted National Socialism so clearly. In his view, the ideas of Heidegger (and Hitler) logically end in attempting to make the particular into the universal through violence. Levinas only error seems to have been in failing to see the way that Hitler would attempt to make the particular into the universal, by extermination of all other particulars.

Levinas would later be caught while serving as a soldier in France. As a POW, he was putatively held under the Geneva Conventions and studied Hegel. He certainly lived an interesting life. It's a shame that two names most people associate with phenomenology are Sartre and Heidegger, the one an outspoken Marxist and the other an unrepentant Nazi. Although, to be fair to Sartre, eventually he came to agree with Levinas criticism of Marxism from before the second world war, that it forces the particular to become universal through violence. Yet he did not abandon it.

The most interesting thing to me about Levinas critique is that, aside from strongly opposing state totalitarianism, is that it can be developed into a critique of libertarianism. His critique stems from the unique position of human freedom with regards to time and the way that the human mind experiences the world as a paradox. The world is presented to the mind through the perceptions. The world is also intended by the mind. Consequently, in the terms of Levinas, human freedom depends both on the transcendental reality of both the self and the other. If statism in its various forms errs in neglecting the latter, libertarianism errs in neglecting the former.

Of course, I'm doing a piss-poor job of explaining exactly how this all fits together.


The Atlantic had an interesting piece on Arch-Bishop Rowan Williams and his efforts to hold together the Anglican Communion. The thing that really stuck out at me was his phenomenological defense of same-sex marriage within a Christian context. The article also pointed out Williams' first widely disseminated defense of the subject in The Body's Grace.

The two main sources Williams explicitly draws on are interesting, Thomas Nagel (who is in my opinion one of the best of the present day atheistic philosophers of religion) and Paul Scott (who is a novelist). It's also interesting to me that his approach is very phenomenological, speaking of intelligibility being expressed through both presence and absence and as both private and public.

Obviously the approach Williams took back in the eighties when that talk was first given was required somewhat by the audience that he was addressing. I don't think it incredibly controversial to suggest that his approach to the issue then is not sufficient to address the Anglican Communion as a whole.

I also don't think his presentation is entirely free of flaws. In many ways it reminds me of my largest complaint about taking theology classes at a Jesuit school (Xavier University) where most of what was presented as theology would have been better described as religious humanism. Similarly, Williams begins with the human experience and attempts to draw from that experience what one ought to think in the ways of morality and ethics. And, certainly, if humanity is the final arbiter of right and wrong, he would be correct in doing so. The problem I cannot get over is that it seems to me that this approach usually leaves out the divine bit of humanity. The Second Adam has transformed human nature into something new, a union of humanity and divinity. And I think Williams is addressing the human part in a way that crowds out the divinized part.

Or at least, such is my first impression. I haven't really devoted enough thought to his argument. I should. It's an interesting argument.

< wings night report | If you can't join em, beat em. >
Accentuating the negative | 18 comments (18 topical, 0 hidden)
I need a good naan recipe by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #1 Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 07:42:51 AM EST
One local grocery chain carries a boxed naan mix, which is really good, but the big local chain doesn't, not even in the suburb where I work.

Hulver posted one a while ago by lm (2.00 / 0) #6 Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:02:14 PM EST
This is the recipe I followed for ingredients. But I went with Hulver's method of baking at high heat in the oven instead of digging out my pancake griddle.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
oh, dear me by lm (2.00 / 0) #7 Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:02:43 PM EST
I forgot the link:

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
The Atlantic article by ana (4.00 / 2) #2 Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 08:10:48 AM EST
on Rowan Williams is really quite excellently done. Thanks much for the link.

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

The F-22 article by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #3 Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 08:17:57 AM EST
is stirring things up.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
I thought that was interesting also by lm (4.00 / 1) #8 Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:25:45 PM EST
Albeit in a different way.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
slate rebuttal by garlic (2.00 / 0) #19 Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 08:01:09 AM EST
The rebuttal isn't as interesting by lm (2.00 / 0) #20 Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 02:26:59 PM EST
What makes the Atlantic article interesting is the way that it is a story rather than a collection of facts.

Most of the holes that Slate points out are holes that are pretty obvious to me such as omitting the option of retrofitting older fighters with newer electronics. Without checking back with the article, I think that it even mentioned that other countries were doing that so an astute reader ought to already be asking why the US just doesn't do that.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
It was very rah -- rah. by garlic (4.00 / 2) #16 Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 01:33:42 PM EST
Interesting too.

[ Parent ]
I also thought it was done well by lm (2.00 / 0) #10 Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:30:43 PM EST
But, to be fair, I think that has somewhat more to do with Williams than with the author of the article.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
land of beaver milk and frozen honey by clover kicker (4.00 / 2) #4 Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 08:24:23 AM EST
Here's an interesting comparison of the level of service offered to Canadian banks' US customers versus their Canadian customers...

There's a fair bit of truth in that article, but it mostly boils down to Canadian boringness. Our culture is less risky, from the laws/regulations to the corporations to the citizens. The peak wasn't as high, and so far the trough hasn't been so low, although our economy is ridiculously integrated into the US's and the longer the US suffers the more we'll feel it.

Ouch by duxup (4.00 / 1) #5 Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 11:01:51 AM EST
"But, she said, for only $107.40 a year, TD Canada will allow up to 25 monthly withdrawals before a service charge is tagged on. Unfortunately, though, that only applies to TD Canada's own ATMs. Use a bank machine from a different institution and TD will charge you an extra $1.50 each time."

Holy crap.

[ Parent ]
it's just the way things are by clover kicker (4.00 / 2) #15 Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 01:11:05 PM EST
I only use my own bank's ATM machines, and I withdraw 2 or 3 hundred at a time so I won't be stuck cashless far away from the right ATM.

[ Parent ]
Well, when it comes to the world of finance by lm (2.00 / 0) #9 Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:29:28 PM EST
I want things to be boring. When things get exciting, something usually has gone horribly wrong.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
There's druids and there's druids by lm (2.00 / 0) #12 Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:43:00 PM EST
From what I understand its more of a fraternal organization like the Eagles or the Masons in the states.

Arguably there is some conflict. But I don't think it's as extensive as some would argue.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
I wouldn't argue that it isn't significant by lm (3.00 / 1) #17 Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:45:53 PM EST
My point is more that the problem is chiefly with appearances. The theology of the act is highly disputable no matter which side of the fence one has made one's own. Pick a side of the debate and I'll find you a nuanced treatment from that point of view in the early Church.

And as for the Masons, which level of which rite are speaking of? Some lodges are little more than drinking clubs and good works societies. Others do have something approaching a religion. Others are a pseudo-philosophical bunch of sorts that make members past a certain level invent an original proof of the Pythagorean theorem. All of them, however, are treated as if they were singular and united by certain rabid elements of the religious right that likes to see a demon under every rock. It may very well be that some elements of some Masonic lodges approach that sort of thing, but to project the doings of the few onto Masonry as a whole is ludicrous.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I've never read Jane Eyre by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #13 Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:47:52 PM EST
I could probably argue with you about it anyway though...
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
I don't think so by lm (4.00 / 1) #18 Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:49:17 PM EST
As much as I like arguing, Jane Eyre is one thing I wouldn't argue over. My only reply to someone arguing with me about it would be along the lines of `sure, I can see how you might think that.' And, largely, I'd refuse to take a firm stance on my own views of the work because, well, I don't have really have any strong literary views of it.

But if you ever want to try, I've got a listed phone number. Look me up.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Accentuating the negative | 18 comments (18 topical, 0 hidden)