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Cosmic Quote(s) #16// Summer Rerun

“I don’t want to achieve immortality through my works. I want to achieve it through not dying.”–Woody Allen

“I’m very pleased to be here.  Lets face it, at my age, I’m very pleased to be anywhere.”–George Burns

I’ve had enough of it for now.  I’m calling a moratorium on in memoriam memeranda, momentarily.   (Try saying that five times fast.)  So if you are planning on dying, please have the courtesy to hold off for at least a few weeks.  My attention now turns back to the living, at least while I’m still breathing.

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Cosmic Quote(s) #16

“I don’t want to achieve immortality through my works. I want to achieve it through not dying.”–Woody Allen

“I’m very pleased to be here.  Lets face it, at my age, I’m very pleased to be anywhere.”–George Burns

I’ve had enough of it for now.  I’m calling a moratorium on in memoriam memeranda, momentarily.   (Try saying that five times fast.)  So if you are planning on dying, please have the courtesy to hold off for at least a few weeks.  My attention now turns back to the living, at least while I’m still breathing.

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Cosmic Quote #8

“How is it possible to find meaning in a finite world, given my waist and shirt size?”–Woody Allen

(c) 2012 Matthias Giesen. Used by permission. Click image for link.

Physically, I am now back in Connecticut.  Mentally, I am still on vacation in Dubai.  My circadian rhythms?  MIA–but probably floating somewhere north of Saturn and west of Alpha Centauri.  The time difference is 8 hours and we partied way too late every night for old farts of our pre-digital generation.   (We didn’t chose Dubai to vacation, it chose us.  More on that some other time; now back to my day job.)

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Timeout: This is Not a Pipe

“I am two with nature.”–Woody Allen

This is not a pipe

The Treachery of Images, by Rene Magritte, 1928-29
Ceci n’est pas une pipe. This is not a pipe.

René Magritte’s message is rather unambiguous.  An image of a “thing” is not the thing itself.  But don’t worry, I’m not headed toward a heavy ontological discussion here.  I have a simple question which, believe it or not, my overly opinionated philosophical mind has virtually no idea how to answer.   Maybe one of you out there can help.

I love nature photography.  Flowers, birds, wildlife, oceans, lakes, clouds, mountains, landscapes–you name it, I like looking at these images and they are my favorite to photograph.  Good grief, I’ve even photographed mud puddles and insects.  And yet I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, what one would call a nature lover.  I hate gardening and yard work.  I won’t even mow my own lawn as I am allergic to grass pollen. I haven’t been camping in 30 years and only rarely go hiking.  I do spend a good bit of time outdoors, but this is almost entirely involved with playing or watching sports.  It seems that I prefer a well framed image of nature to the actual experience of nature itself.  And to add to the conundrum, this only applies to photographic images.  My preferences in other visual arts tends towards styles or schools–Surrealist (Miró), Social Realist (Hopper), Post-impressionist (Seurat, Rousseau, Van Gogh), Geometric Abstraction (Klee, Mondrian).  (Here is a link to my favorite contemporary artist, Yanick Lapuh.)

I have only just realized this–and really have no strong ideas about why this should be.  A preference for a well-composed image?  Remnants from a childhood anxiety of physical reality?  Or, like Woody, am I just at two with nature?   All you amateur psychologists please provide your opinions by email, snail mail, or pony express.  (Comments herein are OK, too)

Below, three of my personal favorite landscape photographs from my own travels, as well as a couple of representative pieces by Monsieur Lapuh.

(Click on images for full size)

Sideways tree

Sideways Tree. Looking out from the Great Wall of China. Copyright 2006, Mark Sackler

coastline

Costa Rica Coastline. Copyright 2008, Mark Sackler

Loch

A Scottish Loch. Copyright 2010 Mark Sackler

Objection Your Honer, Yanick Lapuh, 1993

Envisioned Solution, Yanick Lapuh, 2006

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Conjecture #2: Inevitability (Part 2)

I Conjecture:  In an infinite multiverse we must exist.

Part Two: The impossibility of non-existance

“Needleman was rarely out of public controversy. He published his famous ‘Non-Existence: What To Do If It Suddenly Strikes You’.”–Woody Allen, ‘Remembering Needleman’ (short story)

Image credit: http://www.savagechickens.com (click image for link)

If you think imagining infinity is difficult,  try imagining nothing.  No, I don’t mean blank your mind.  I mean imagine nothingness.  NO!  I don’t mean a vacuum–empty space with no matter and energy.  I mean absolutely nothing:  no space and no time.  I’m betting you can’t do it, even if you think you can; you’re not, even if you think you are.   I merely conjectured that the concept of infinity could not exist in a finite universe, but I am firmly asserting that a conscious entity is incapable of imagining absolute nothingness.  It’s an oxymoron. By the mere fact of imagining you have to imagine something.  And while it might be pure philosophy to suggest it couldn’t be because we are incapable of imagining it, there is strong scientific argument for the “something out of nothing” impossibility of non-existence.  From Hawking on down, physicists have come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as absolute vacuum, that space is full of quantum foam, seething with instability and particles of energy and matter popping in and out of existence.  If matter plus antimatter equals nothing, than by commutation, nothing equals anti-matter plus matter.  (Yes, I know. The intelligent design crowd will reject this and tell us that it is all too perfect.  God must have done it.  Really? So God can exist out of nothing but the universe can’t?  When they can tell me where god came from and offer some form of empirical evidence, I will consider their arguments; but they can’t, so I won’t.)  Final proof: we do exist. Maybe all other arguments are moot.  And anyway I have an out, as the prerequisite for this conjecture is “in an infinite multiverse.”  Let’s rest our neurons for the next installment: The Conjecture of the Future.

(As an entertaining aside, here is a YouTube video of Neal Degrasse Tyson rambling on some cosmic questions.   It includes his conclusion that intelligent life is inevitable.)

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Introducing: The BLAHS

“What’s with all these awards?  They’re always giving out awards”–Woody Allen as Alvie Singer in “Annie Hall”

Golden Raspberry

The Golden Raspberry Award. Given annually to the worst films, it’s the only Hollywood award I have any respect for. This is probably because my sister Micki has been a presenter at many of their ceremonies.

Woody Allen is famous for his disdain for entertainment industry awards.  But there is, I have discovered, one media cohort that gives out even more awards than Hollywood.  You’re in it right now.  It’s the blogosphere. It seems that every third blog I visit claims to have won a blogging award.  How can this be?  It’s because just about every third blogger gives out awards.  Hell, I’ve even won one already!  And unlike Groucho Marx, I have no problem belonging to a club that has me as a member.  So without further ado, here come the BLAHS.

The BLAHS (BLog Awards Handed out by Sackler)

There are three significant things you should know about the BLAHS.  (That is, if you are interested, which is a dubious assumption on my part).

First, the term “BLAHS,” itself, is in an appropriate-for-this-blog state of superposition.  It is simultaneously singular and plural.

Second, the awards will be quasi-semi-maybe annual.  This means I will give them out whenever I damn well feel like it for whatever I feel like and too whomever I feel like.

Third, I am still working on an actual physical prize.  Trophies are nearly worthless.  I would much prefer to give out something completely worthless.  Like a years’ supply of rutabaga.  And since I don’t know anybody who actually uses rutabaga–or eats it–the  prize would be….nothing!  OK, you say you can think of uses for a rutabaga?  A doorstop? A very small lopsided bowling ball?  A shot put for a 98-pound weakling?  If you can think up 20 more uses then you have less of a life than I do and still won’t win anything.

And now–may we have the envelope and a piccolo trill, please–the winner of the first BLAHS is:

Dave Carlson of The Blog of Funny Names

Ossee SchreckengostBenedict CumberbatchOuterbridge Horsey…if you haven’t heard of these names, well, you have now!  And if you had been following The Blog of Funny Names since it’s debut last December, you would not have needed me to clue you in.  Every weekday Dave and his co-authors present another great name from history, entertainment or current events.  Special features include a weekly Funny Names in the News column.  Oh and of course, they also give out blog awards; they gave me mine.  Here is what they said about me:

Mark Sackler of Millenium Conjectures wins the Rube Waddell Ridiculousness Award. He’s a newer fan of ours who has already earned some notice. He’s an avid baseball fan and a kindred spirit who formerly kept a funny named baseball players list, and prides his blog on the “ridiculous and sublime” – also a good descriptor for Rube Waddell.

Great demented minds are equally demented.  But besides the obvious quid pro quo, there is another great reason I selected Funny Names for the first BLAHS.  It’s my favorite blog–other than my own, of course.

Endnote: if you have any suggestions for a suitable prize for the BLAHS, or a logo for that matter,  please send them to me, or post them herein.

quote

“I’m astounded by people who want to know the Universe when it’s hard enough to find your way around Chinatown.”

–Woody Allen

I’m having a rough enough time just finding the way to my next post, but consider this a preface.

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