Here is a litmus test for cultural intelligence: If you think Bob Dylan can’t sing, you fail. There is singing, and there is singing. Listen to ‘House of the rising Sun’, on his very first album. He really can sing. Malcolm Gladwell speaks of innovators, people who are always different. They wear odd clothes in […]
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“the evidence does cast enormous suspicion on Oswald. . . . leave him looking guilty of something. The evidence does not, on the other hand, put him behind a gun in the sixth-floor window.” Anthony Summers At 11:45 am, Oswald’s co-workers on the sixth floor took the elevator down for lunch and to see the […]
“after all, he seems to have a lot to say about what can’t be said.” Bertrand Russell. Ludwig Wittgenstein came from a very wealthy and talented family of Vienna, in the time before WW I, a family of musicians, professors, and suicides. He went to grammar school with Adolf Hitler. His sister helped Sigmund Freud […]
“I don’t really know what the interior of anybody else is like – I often feel very fragmented, and as if I have a symphony of different voices, and voice overs, and factoids, going on all the time, and digressions on digressions…” David Foster Wallace David Foster Wallace was always Meta-thinking – thinking about […]
Our solar system is not a perfect clock. There have been 16 ice ages in the past million years. “Small variations in the tilt of the Earth on its axis and variations in the planet’s elliptical path around the sun are all that is necessary to plunge the planet in and out of the freezer. […]
Alberto Giacometti lived most of his sculptor life in a Paris apartment/studio, without hot water or a bathroom. Brother Diego was his foundry assistant. He chain-smoked 4 packs a day, and wore the same grey, herring bone suit, 24 hours a day. He would buy a new one – same color, same style – once a year. He went to restaurants for his meals, bistros and clubs for drinks […]
iming is in the brain, it is basic to how it works. Neurons prolong instantaneous stimuli, sending them down axon nerve wires, and releasing them at synapse nodes, in variable lengths requiring variable time, on to other axon network circuits. In this way, the brain creates temporal patterns out of instant sounds, and that is music. The brain is a musical instrument. It is […]
Newton’s first law of motion: an object is either at rest or moves at a constant velocity, unless acted on by an external force. There is no escaping this law. It is true on earth, and it is true in space. George Clooney, in the movie Gravity, knows this, as he unhooks his tether with […]
In 1800, Daniel Steibelt, a celebrated European virtuoso, came to Vienna to duel Beethoven in an ‘improvisation contest’. With great pomp, in the first round, he won. Beethoven was not much interested in trying to impress aristocrats. For the second round, Steibelt was puffed up enough to use Beethoven’s own music in his challenge. This was a. . . mistake. Incensed, […]
On December 13, 1963, Corliss Lamont hosted the 172nd anniversary of the Bill of Rights in Washington D. C., and presented the Thomas Pain Award to . . . Bob Dylan.
Mr. Lamont was the son of a wealthy banker, a graduate of Phillips Academy, Harvard, Oxford, and Columbia. He had a PhD in Philosophy. He celebrated atheism. In 1932, he visited the Soviet Union and found a very promising, enlightened society. The secret police were “courteous and efficient and good natured”. There were hungry people begging for food, but “most of these beggars are people who are too lazy to work, since every Russian can get a job if he wants to”.