DISTRACTION – So coin! Much gender. Wow

Ah Bitcoin, you reminder that cognitive dissonance and random hope are the fundamental drivers of human culture.

Let us draw two circles, let us create a Venn diagram of two sets. One being those who “mine” the Bitcoin, the other being women. And the intersection of the two, the common members of both sets? I strongly suspect that it will be zero, a null set.

Has currency, the concept of money, always been gendered? Has Bitcoin merely thrown a light on something that always was there, obscured by time and common practice? I reach for my Delphy.

Let us draw another circle, this time let it be made up of those who complain about “fiat currency”, those who demand that money be based on something that has intrinsic value.

Which is of course an absurdity, anything and everything is only worth what someone is willing to give in return for it. And that applies to the medium of exchange like everything else. But I still remember the shock in my classmate’s voices when, as mere cubs, we were told the truth about money. That it is an agreed collective delusion. Like everything else we call culture or human nature.

Now let us look at the circle of true money believers and the Bitcoin “miners” (so macho, much struggle, wow). I suspect that this time the intersection is not empty and that the two groups overlap to a marked extent. Despite, no, of course, because Bitcoin is a delusion based on bits, on the hum of the machine. Boil the oceans so that we may be journey deeper into the Bank of Babel.

Bitcoin is Tlön. An answer to an obscure trivia question in 2021. It is not caek.

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Forgotten

It would be easier if we either remembered things or just simply forgot them. But sometimes things just do not enter our minds.

If memory is one and forgetting minus one, then there is a zero. A nothingness of things that neither are nor are not.

Sometimes a thought trips over a nothingness and we feel a moment of unease, like but not like the sensation we have when we think we have forgotten something.

For that sensation still has an echo of the object, whilst this is wholly of the void. No matter how much we strain we can never find the lost memory, it never existed in the first place.

What is is but an infinitesimal in what is not.

And that is why your birthday card is still sitting on my mantelpiece.

Bringing dragons into the enterprise

I am currently playing Ni No Kuni and enjoying the excellent art work and well written script.

One of the grimmest neologisms of recent times is “gamification”. The concept that adding elements for gaming into, usually drudge, work will make us happier and more productive.

So we have seen attempts to combine role playing games with housework so you gain points for mopping the floor. For me this seems a bizarre hybrid of grinding and drudge work.

But playing Ni No Kuni I am reminded of something games do very well, guide the user through a world upskilling the player as they go. You start with a simple stick and seamlessly you are guided to a point where you are flying a dragon, commanding a ship, crafting items and performing magic.

Compare this with the grey, grim world of Enterprise IT with “Press F1 for help” that seldom ever helps, “wizards” that are never going to open the pod bay doors, and training courses that vanish from memory the instant one leaves the room.

Why can’t we replace that with the organic learning we find in Ni No Kuni?

In the beginning

After a pleasant lunch – scallopine alla limone, if you are interested – I popped into the Wallace Collection.

I find the Watteau’s to be painful but the corners of the House are full of odd and wonderful curios, as well as a perfect Rembrandt.

As I wandered around the House my eye was caught by the paintings of animals – mostly dogs, some horses, and one lone cat on a tapestry. I found myself wondering, “Which animal was painted first? The dog or the cat?”

Did we first paint the hunter’s companion or the deity? Man’s best friend or the enemy of mice?

Rover or Tiddles?

A machine for poets

Musing on Oulipo I propose the following attack on poetry –

TITAN! to whose immortal eyes
The sufferings of mort lity,
Seen in their s d re lity,
Were not s things th t gods despise;
Wh t w s thy pity’s recompense?
sil nt suff ring, nd int ns ;
Th ro k, th vultur , nd th h in,
ll th t th proud n f l o p in,
T ony t y o not s ow,
T suffo t n s ns o wo ,
W sp ks ut n ts lon l n ss,
n t n s lous l st t s y
S ou v st n r, nor w s
Unt ts vo s o ss.

Hello World – An epic poem in 4500 stanzas

Hello new followers, lured here by the power of poetry.

I fear I may disappoint you as I do not post that many poems. For obvious reasons 🙂

Like most people my first real encounter with poetry was at school. The classics seemed shrouded in an impermeable patina of age and respectability.  They felt like punishment, not illumination.

But there were some poems that were different – the syllabus included an Ogden Nash poem, e.e. cummings, Randall Jarrell.

These poems were chewable, they filled the mouth and challenged the mind.

Then I discovered Mayakovsky and everything changed. Poetry was no longer an abstract concept, locked on the page, it was an active engagement with the world.

Alphaville introduced me to Paul Eluard. A girlfriend to Martin Espada. Chance to Fernando Pessoa. My past to Yeats and Heaney. Through Mayakovsky to Akhmatova to Mandelstam.

Random browsing of Penguin classics brought me Li Bao and Tu Fu. Random reading of NYRB and LRB brought me Weldon Kees and Amy Clampitt.

Poetry went from being something trapped behind a glaze of worthiness to being something core, an essential thing.

That is the thing about poetry. It sneaks up on you, taking no prisoners.

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