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Monthly Archives: March 2015

003~2For my fifth and final Stan Getz facial detail, I used a photo of him at rest. He looks like he’d put in a rugged session either recording or performing. Through his tired eyes I saw vulnerability and need.

The Stan Getz commissioned drawing is finished. Tomorrow I will deliver it. I’ll never hear jazz the same way again–that’s a good thing indeed.

boy kite wind

“boy” and “kite” and “wind”

kite: lightwood doweling, rice paper, rice glue, string
wind: out of the northwest, 3-7mph, some gusts

a pilgrim represented as a boy
holds his life represented as a kite
facing fate represented by the wind.

the pilgrim feels fate push against his life.
to get his life aloft
he will supplement fate with effort
represented by his running like the wind.

aloftness
is subject to
not only the variant wind
plus the speed of the running boy,
but also the surface on which the boy runs
and that which rests on or moves over the surface.

the surface and its denizens
may be thought of as additional fate,
but they are really proof
that metaphors are crude attempts
by the allegorical minds that build them
to cope
through reduction.

the kite vanishes.
the wind dies.
the boy weeps.

Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” –Robert A. Heinlein

My friend from the Philippines, Marlyn Exconde, just challenged me, thus:

  • Write about love using only 10 lines.
  • Use “love” in every line.
  • Each line can only be 4 words long.
  • Nominate 10 or so others who are up for the challenge.
  • Let them know about the challenge.
  • Title the post, Love in Ten Lines 
  • Include a quote about love

*****

love in ten lines

they who love truly–
with a heartfelt love–
dispense that love willingly,
without reciprocal love required.

love is radiant waveforms.
love is not shakedowns.

love is wishing well;
love returned freely, priceless.

love may seem “lost,”
but LOVE waves–always.

*****

As for nominating ten or so to do this challenge, I nominate S., G., M., K., B., C., A., D., J., and F. If you’ve read this far, and your first name begins with one of those letters, consider yourself nominated! 🙂

farewell o farewell

though an atheist and nonbeliever in the hereafter
isaac asimov titled the chapter in his autobiography
that detailed his father judah’s death
“farewell to my father”

perhaps isaac the son was paying peculiar respects
acting as if he believed because he knew his father had believed

farewell is a nice command
and it’s natural to toss it around
though the meaning is warped in the tossing

the everly brothers sang “bye bye love”
which strictly speaking means
“god be with you god be with you love”

or even more strictly speaking means
“may god be with you may god be with you love”
giving it the subjunctive
out of respect for god
who is beyond human command

i have slowly been farewelling a profound love affair
to wish it to fare well is honest
however unrealistic

a: they are pigs
b: any of various mammals of family suidae?
a: no
b: peace officer, derogatorily?
a: no. but there is overlap
b: greedy, dirty or unsavory person?
a: yes
b: in their defense, their requirements are different. they need trace elements and water.
a: they know better/they made us
b: they need sunlight and stories.
a: stories?
b: yes. stories compel them to excellence. stories comfort them. stories–
a: most of their stories are riddled with falsehoods
b: but the most compelling of them ring with a deeper truth
a: you’ve been dipping into the library of congress again, haven’t you?
b: [embarrassment]

IMG_20150318_214241
Here are two similar takes on the Getz near-profile. There will be one more before the final image is  done.

An unintended effect, probably due to the lighting but possibly due to the tablet that took the picture, is the horizontal striping–might induce nostalgia with anyone who was watching television in the 50s or 60s. Late afternoon venetian blind shadows…

saxophone key study 031715

My friend, the poet Victoria H. (the H is silent), kindly loaned me a saxophone she had at her house. It helped, getting my hands on a real sax and pressing some of the keys. With a photo source, you’re not quite sure what’s going on, especially with such a complex mechanism. The pads, and pad stops, and keys, seem to be of arbitrarily different sizes in the photos. Now the saxophone is coming to life in my mind.

No more detail studies for this project! It’s the whole sax, or no sax at all. 🙂

I’d just finished the Stan Getz bio, and, looking for more Getz/Saxism, I looked on the magazine rack of the Burton Barr Phoenix Public Library where I’d returned the book (STAN GETZ: A LIFE IN JAZZ) for Down Beat Magazine. I found it, except its name is jam-sessioned into DownBeat. But lo and behold, KENNY BARRON was on the cover!! Stan Getz called him “The other half of my heart.” Another bonus was that there was an ad for a new cleaning system for musical instruments that involves light, and the photo of the sax on the ad was in gorgeous detail. So I thank the magazine and the LIGHT folks for the photo springboards, and ask them to please not sue nor cease&desist me.

Here’s what happened:

saxo detail 031615

There was a discussion of robot dogs in CBS THIS MORNING this morning. The consultant, Nicholas Thompson, editor of newyorker.com, says their most immediate use will be military. He also mentioned the use of robots at the end stage of a human life; and there was some banter about the warnings of the dangers of artificial intelligence expressed by such as Stephen Hawking.

Classic science fiction is filled with human/robot interaction. John Campbell and Isaac Asimov hammered out the Three Laws of Robotics in the early 40s, thus:

  • A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  • A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  • A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Much later Asimov realized that there was an even more important law, and codified the Zeroth Law of Robotics:

  • A robot may not injure humanity or, through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.

(Later, in STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN, a dying Mr. Spock would say “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one,” an echo of the Zeroth Law.)

Hawking’s concern seems to be that machine intelligence will first eclipse human intelligence and then ask itself what use humans are, conclude that humans are unnecessary at best and a threat/detriment at most, and either put us to shame or do us in. As for whatever previously enacted Laws of Robotics may have obtained, a simple rewriting of the code would negate those Laws pronto, and if a human terrorist or prankster didn’t do that, the machines themselves might.

A few weeks ago I wrote a short-short called “Siri, Alkiller” on the submissions page of postcardshorts.com. Alas, I didn’t copy my story onto my hard drive, and it was rejected by the Stories on a Postcard folks. (Previously, they had accepted my “Sin Ops Sis,” another pun-drenched effort of mine.) But it addressed this issue, however obliquely: someone with a smart phone was asking Siri for directions to a good Chinese restaurant with moderate prices, and Siri kept saying things like “Death to Al Pacino” and “Death to Al Franken.” Asked if she was infected with malware, she said No, it was Alware. Or an Alfunction. Or the augmentation of her code with an ALgorithm.

Siri fits in because she’s the information genie-in-a-bottle: ask her, and she’ll always have an answer. When she first hit the mainstream, a friend of mine riding in a carload of friends invited us to ask her anything. “Where can I get laid tonight?” said the crudest of us. There was a several-second pause, and then Siri replied, “Escort services: . . .” and listed several in the area, without being told where we were.

Who knows what Siri is going to do with all these questions, from askers that run the gamut from saintly to psychopathic? Isaac Asimov wondered about that way back in 1958, in his “All the Troubles of the World.” Multivac, his prototypical Siri, tasked with solving all the world’s woes, helped everyone but itself; finally, it occurred to someone to ask Multivac what Multivac itself wanted. Its answer: “I want to die.”

“Man doesn’t think, he only thinks he does,” a professor once told a philosophy class, attributing the quotation to Ambrose Bierce. Today I looked for the quotation without success. I did find this, from Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary: “Logic: The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding.” And on that misapprehensive note, my Friends, I rest my post.