Thursday, November 28, 2013

Briefly On The Assassination

     Friday, November 22, 1963.  The circumstances surrounding the death of President Kennedy, fifty years ago, gives rise to a couple of brief thoughts.

     There are two separately interesting things to me -- the crime and the cover-up.  The crime was committed in a few seconds; the cover-up has lasted for fifty years.

     The crime was plotted in secret, but committed in the open air, in broad daylight, with a hundred witnesses, and yet we still can't be sure who did it.

     The cover-up has been orchestrated behind closed doors, but necessarily performed across the media and across the world, by highly visible speakers and writers and actors; there are a billion witnesses to this, and we can watch them do it, still doing it after fifty years.

     Amazing.  How do they pull these things off?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Fred Reed Considers Complexity

     I almost always enjoy reading Reed. (Not always: he is capable of laying the occasional bad egg: but not too often.)

     Why do I enjoy him?  you ask.  I reply, "I give you the following reasons.

     "1.  His point of view is very much his own.  I think that the word I am looking for is, 'idiosyncratic.'

     "2.  He comes up with great turns of phrase, usually witty, and sometimes downright wise.

     "3.  I can think of a bunch more reasons.  In fact, I was just writing them down; but by the magic of word processing, I succeeded in intentionally deleting them.  (No need to thank me.)"

     So, having done with replies, I direct you to a recent post of his -- uncharacteristically long, and uncharacteristically serious -- entitled, with a certain flightiness, "The Bugs Of Darwin."

     Read it through, and you will come upon these bon mots:

     "Stupidity beyond a certain point is intractable."

     "We are not as wise as we think. I reiterate Fred´s Principle: The smartest of a large number of hamsters is still a hamster."

     "When people become accustomed to things that make no sense, they begin to seem to."

     "I can perhaps imagine an Airbus 380 assembling itself. I cannot begin to imagine the foregoing evolving on its own."

     "Descartes famously said, 'Cogito ergo sum.' Ambrose Bierce less famously but more insightfully said, 'Cogito cogito, ergo cogito sum. Cogito.'"

     Ah, you say, now that I have served up the bon-bons, there is no need for eating the rest of what is on the plate, the meat and potatoes of the thing.  If that is what you think, I give you this one of Fred's radishes:

     "You have to be smoking Drano."