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Folding a Letter-size Sheet into 3 x 5 Inch Shape – Single Pocket January 31, 2008

Posted by caveblogem in DIY, filing, H-PDA, Hipster PDA, history, how to, index cards, information management, lifehack, Moleskine, Origami, Other, Wordpress.
8 comments

I was chatting earlier this week with prairieflounder, and I mentioned that WordPress had upped the capacity for individual blogger accounts to three gigabytes. I noted that I had purchased some extra capacity from WordPress last year, because I was moving quickly up towards the limit. Pf pointed out that he hadn’t noticed a lot of pictures here. That’s because there are a couple of different types of people who visit this site. Most of the visitors I get are still people looking at folding diagrams, believe it or not. About 90 percent, on average. And the people who don’t visit for those pics, tend not to even notice them.

And that’s O.K., but here’s another post for the 90 percent.

My first funded year in graduate school I ended up grading papers for a brilliant-if-cranky professor who, despite being only 35ish, still took notes on 3 x 5 cards. I’ve noticed that a lot of the history professors who attended top-ten schools (which he did) do this, and I even know one attending a top-ten school right now, who uses 3 x 5 cards. The guy I worked for would often photocopy articles, however, and cut out the relevant sections, parts of a work that he might later cite or quote in his own work, for example, and tape them to a 3 x 5 card, folding them several times, if need be, so that they would fit in his 3 x 5 file.

Yeah, it didn’t look all that elegant. It was pretty messy, actually. But the guy wasn’t all that elegant himself; he was well-published and highly regarded, however.

It has troubled me for some time that there is no elegant way of folding a normal (in the US) 8.5 x 11 inch piece of paper so that it stays nice and flat and can be filed away with the rest of your 3 x 5 cards.

Until now, that is. This method is so simple that I hesitated to post it. It is based on the simplest and most common letterfold. But I can’t seem to find any posts of it anywhere else, so here you go:

Start with an 8.5 x 11 inch piece of paper (all of the pix below expand into their own, larger, window when you click upon them with a mouse or similar rodent). This is especially nice paper made by Gold Fiber, which is not only a pleasing and frightfully absorbent texture, but has lines on one side and a grid on the other. Notebook paper doesn’t get much nicer than this, I’m afraid.

let1.jpg

Put a 3 x 5 inch index card in the middle of it, roughly, and fold the top down so that it looks like this:

let2.jpg

Then fold the top down, like this:

let3.jpg

You want all of these folds to hug the index card as closely as you can. Next, fold the bottom up like this:

let4.jpg

Then fold one side in over the card like this:

let5.jpg

And then the other, like this:

let6.jpg

Then take the card out and unfold the whole thing so that it looks like this:

let7.jpg

Fold the top and bottom towards the center so that it forms a flattened tube eight and a half inches wide, and then tuck whichever side is smaller into the inside of the tube on the opposite side, which will, presumably, be larger and more accommodating. In this case, the right side was slightly larger. One side always is, for some reason.

let8.jpg

Then, keep sliding it in until the whole thing is flat. If done perfectly, it will be only slightly larger than a 3 x 5 index card, so that not only will it hold index cards itself, it will still fit into files that hold index cards of that size, or even the cool little pocket in a moleskine notebook, like this one.

let9.jpg

Not that this history professor could have been bothered to make things tidy like this. But you like to keep things neat.

Which words do you own?–Moon Topples March 26, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in Blogs and Blogging, history, linguistics, Other, statistical analysis, tagging, vocabulary.
11 comments

[Note: This is part of a continuing series on the actual vocabulary in use in the blogosphere.  Posts on this subject started here and continue even as I type this word.]

Despite Mr. Topples fears of not adding substantially to this database of words in use in the blogosphere, he brought 1,332 new words with his posts–not the record, but damn close.  Here’s a cloud made up of words that he and only he used of the nine blogs I have sampled thus far (click to enlarge image):

cldmt.jpg

And here’s the other cloud diagram that shows, additionally, words that all other blogs so far have used but Mr. Topples did not, as well as words that all nine blogs used and Mr. Topples used more often (also click to enlarge).

mtvenn-pic.jpg

The composition of both of these clouds is, I see, heavily influenced by the short-story contest that he ran, and some of the entries were included, since they were posted in time frame which included the sample.   The word vote is one such.  Words relating to vision, like eyes, and saw are also from that, I think.  I’m interested in the size of the word history, one of the words that everyone but Mr. Topples used.  Does this paint him as a thoroughly post-modern gen-xer?  I wonder.

I enjoyed putting together a story for that contest back when I was writing fiction.  I hope to resume doing so again soon.  So I’m now going to restrict these vocabulary of the blogosphere posts to once per week.  I know I said I’d do that before, but not I’m serious.   Really.

In related news, Anxious MoFo has developed a program in Perl now that samples words in a different but also interesting way.  Click here to bug him to reveal his coding secrets.

Finally, I’m still looking for a volunteer for the next sample.   If you’re interested, just let me know in the comment thread (so that others will know as soon as I get one). 

I’m still here March 9, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in bookmooch, Books, Education, history, literature, narrative, Philosophy.
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I’ve been really busy lately.  Our campus has been searching for a new Chancellor, which is what we call our chief executive here.  What with the public meetings, newspaper articles (for one of the top candidates is the Congressman of the Massachusetts Fifth District, the Honorable Martin Meehan, gaining us national attention), and attendent gossip and what if talk, it is awfully hard to get things done and also accomplish my new, and more demanding, position. 

On  a distantly related subject (trust me on this, for now), it occurred to me the other day that I had been unfair to someone in the past that I am building much more respect and admiration for these days.  That person is the new President of Harvard University, Drew Gilpin Faust.  Back in graduate school I had to read her book Southern Stories: Slaveholders in Peace and War, and my review of this book was . . . ungenerous. 

Southern Stories is not only excellent scholarship, it is also good writing and has some interesting things to say about how narrative shapes worldview.  My objection to the book at the time was twofold, I now realize. 

  1. It is about Slaveholders in the Antebellum South (and during the war, too, of course).  Let’s face it, people, I should have studied philosophy.  I would have, too, if there had been a well-funded Ph.D. program at the university where I ended up.  Mostly I didn’t care about history and still don’t.  There are times when it is relevant, deeply relevant and important.  Mostly, though, you can get by without it, I think.
  2. Dr. Faust is one of those scholars who don’t say things that are overtly controversial.  For ADD-related reasons, I found her book difficult to handle.  My usual tactic with reading books that didn’t hold my interest was to attempt to disprove, or at least seriously undermine the author’s main thesis.  This usually didn’t sway the opinion of the professor running the class, mind you.  But that wasn’t the point.  It did accomplish its main goal–proving that I had read and understood the book and that I took it seriously.  This book is a collection of essays, which made it even more difficult to overturn. 

So, let me say, Dr. Faust, I am sorry about what I wrote.  The sheer amount of underlining in my copy (which you, gentle reader, may have, if you request it from my bookmooch or paperbackswap account, for I am done with it now) demonstrates that I found much of interest, but few fat targets.  I think that your diplomatic and reasoned approach to Antebellum scholarship and culture will make you an excellent administrator for America’s oldest University.

For the rest of you, I will make a concerted effort to read your blogs this weekend.  I have been adding subscriptions this week to my bloglines account, because I am losing track of all of you with blogspot addresses, unwittingly dropping discussions on comment threads and all of that.

Pirate Story Story Ends Happily February 27, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in fiction, history, narrative, Other, writing.
6 comments

It took me quite a bit of time to decide whether to put a comma after the word “Ends” in the title above. 

Anyway, I finally came up with a beginning section that made the story work, so I’m sending it in to Shimmer tonight.  I don’t expect it to be published, of course.  But the editors claim that they always comment on submissions.  And then, in a few weeks, I’ll be able to try to rework it for a different market.  

The key, I realized (or probably more accurately my wife realized and then said it in words that even I could understand) late last night, was that I wasn’t having any fun writing it anymore.  No fun for me = no fun for readers.  It’s an ADD thing, I guess.  If I’m not engaged in the story, I just can’t make it work.

I was in school with this guy once who was substantially smarter than me (I was meaner than him, though, so most people never suspected).  When he was having trouble focusing on a paper he would make it intentionally harder on himself.  He would tell himself stuff like: Well, fine and dandy, you need to write a paper on recent holocaust scholarship, which you know like the back of your hand.  Let’s see how quickly you can do it in iambic pentameter.

Once I told myself that I was free to create outrageous, illogical characters, that somehow I’d make the story work anyway, it all just clicked. 

I guess I had some practice, too.  That was the fifth introductory section I had written for the thing.   

Textbook for the School of Rock-Chapter II, Part B February 9, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in Education, history, Music, Other, Rock.
2 comments

Van Halen came to power in the late 1970s and the first few times I heard the band I was put-off by David Lee Roth’s trademark yodel-howl vocal stylings.  For those of you unfamiliar with this, simply finish each phrase on a rising note, reaching as quickly as possible the highest note your voicebox will accomodate.  Done by somebody like Roth, who could frighten the tiny forest animals from miles away, it was merely odd.  Done by legions of teens and tweens and 20-somethings since, it is flabbergasting.  For those with lower vocal registers every phrase sounds like a question?  It is good to have somebody to blame for this?  And I’m, like, happy that it is David Lee Roth?

After I got past Roth’s eccentricities I was confronted by a guitar sound that some people found difficult.  I don’t mean difficult to mimic, although it was.  (My good friend swore for years that Edward Van Halen’s unbridled velocity came from an effects box, the “echoplex.”  It was only upon seeing them in concert that I realized that he was striking the fretboard with fingers on his left hand and the index finger of his pick hand, enabling him to achive speed which could not be described with standard Italian musical notation. [On the sheet music for "Eruption," for example, it didn't say "Allegro," or "adante," or whatever.  It said in the upper-left hand corner "Play as fast as possible."])  What I mean by difficult is this:

You are a sheltered, self-conscious, suburban teen at your first rock show.  Imagine row upon row of happy forest creatures of different sizes.  They have been selected for their ability to yowl in pain at specific frequencies corresponding, more or less, to the E-Blues scale.  There are little rabbits, field mice, shrews, and birdies for the high notes, muskrats, beavers, hedgehogs, tiny deer, all the way up to the low notes of the grizzly bears and the elk.  Suddenly you hear a rhythmic thudding noise.  Then someone fires up a chainsaw.  From the hills in the distance you hear anti-aircraft fire, coming closer.  Then a group of samurai descend upon the forest tableau, hacking them to bits with short swords, road flares, sporks, jack-hammers, and dental drills, as the stragglers are picked off by automatic weapon fire.  And someone with an odd voice is screaming and howling a song called “Running with the Devil.”  You know fear.  But the cool people next to you seem to be enjoying it, so you chill.

In time, of course, you get used to it, and come to love it, especially the songs where the guitar sound is like all of the cables on the Golden Gate Bridge rhythmically giving way, people, cars, eighteen-wheelers, the entire Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, plunging into the cold water, hundreds of feet below.  How could anyone resist?

I mentioned in the first part of this chapter that there were more ways of coming up with new music than copying songs that had already been performed by others.  Copying would have been easy for Van Halen, because their sound was (at the time) so distinctive, that anything they played would sound completely new.  But Edward also created new riffs and phrases by a second method, which goes like this:

  1. Improvise a solo as quickly as you can, or play a song you don’t know well.
  2. Listen very carefully to the mistakes that you make: remember them.
  3. Adapt those mistakes, turning them into songs and phrases.

Up until the mid 1980s Edward Van Halen used this method very creatively.  But he reached a point that he really should have seen coming, given the amount of time he spent practicing and playing, and his aptitude and talent.  Eventually he made so few mistakes that he ran into a writers block of sorts.  So he started playing keyboards, to free up his creative side, to make the kinds of mistakes that would generate new music.  Unfortunately, Edward and the band made a fatal mistake, they used the keyboards on their next album. 

Why was this a mistake?

It probably would not have been a mistake if “Jump” had not been a huge hit.  “Jump” made lots of people who were not cool at all say “hey, I like Van Halen.”  So Van Halen was no longer cool for rockers.  Which was a shame.  And “Jump” was just weak, dude.

Textbook for the School of Rock-Chapter II February 7, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in DIY, Education, fiction, history, how to, lifehack, Music, Other, postmodernism, Rock, writing.
16 comments

La propriété intellectuelle, c’est le vol!***

The above itself encapsulates a wealth of wisdom about the creative process.  I have stolen the famous words of anarchist Pierre Joseph Proudhon, and added a word.  Now they are my words–see how easy writing is?  Proudhon said “property is theft,” in French, cause he was French.  I have modified this to “intellectual property is theft,” which is the topic of today’s lesson.  Essentially what I mean is if you write (not just music) you steal, whether you realize it or not.  Intellectual property is based on theft of the ideas of others.

Some of the people who write music are more conscious of theft in the creative process than others.  I grew up near Sacramento, California, where in the late 1970s and early 1980s there was (and for all I know there still is) a local band, Steel Breeze, which had one nation-wide hit song.  In an interview with a local radio station the band described one of the ways in which they wrote music, which was basically this:

  1. They set up their instruments and got ready to play. 
  2. They put on an album made by some other band and played one of the songs.
  3. They turned on a tape recorder and attempted, more or less, to play the song that they had just heard.
  4. They spent a few hours attempting to make the song work.
  5. Then, eventually, they listened to original song again, the one that had sparked their horrible copy, to make sure that their song didn’t sound enough like it to be accused of stealing.
  6. If the new song was recognizably based on the old, they worked on it, making small changes, until it sounded new.

Some writers are not as candid about the creative process.  Kurt Cobain, I believe, was quite conscious of his own creative process.  I think that this is one of the reasons that he was paranoid about others catching on, so paranoid that he hid in a closet in his own home to write music.  I am not the only person to notice the similarities between Boston’s “More than a Feeling and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”** Both were hits.  The hooks are almost exactly the same.  Cobain had heard “More than a Feeling” dozens of times.  Was his copying conscious?  I think so, but I don’t think that this is a bad thing.  Indeed, I think that when this sort of thing is unconscious it can mislead people into all sorts of weird assumptions about human thought. 

So Steel Breeze was pretty conscious of their creative process.  And they never became millionaire superstars with platinum albums, but they did better than the majority of other bands in the world.  While outright, conscious theft is one way of being creative, there is another, which is the topic of the next part of Chapter II: happy accidents.

 To be continued . . .

*A proper discussion of anarchism will have to wait until the chapter, if there is one, on the Punk movement.  What I mean by “intellectual property is theft” is akin to Lucretius’s dictum “there is nothing new under the sun.”  Any time you think you are having an original thought, an inspired epiphany of some sort, what you are probably experiencing is more like this: two old thoughts which you have added together in a way similar to the ways in which you have seen many other ideas added together, but have forgotten that you saw these ideas somewhere else, and that adding them together is a pretty simple thing, after all.  

**See Malcolm Gladwell’s “Something Borrowed” in the November 22, 2004 issue of The New Yorker if you really need proof of this, or a lot of other examples.

***I have not yet read Jonathan Lethem’s article in this month’s Harpers.  Since it is basically a bunch of ideas stolen from others, like this post, what would be the point?  But I hear that it is interesting, so I link to it here.  Christopher Lydon’s Open Source is taping a show on this idea tonight, which has a comment thread running here.  So you could check that out, too. 

Textbook for the School of Rock-Chapter I, Section B January 31, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in history, Japan, Music, Other, postmodernism, Rock.
2 comments

So, what happened to Cheap Trick?

Well, Jimmy (if that is your real name), they put out another album in 1980 that was produced by George Martin, and then appeared on Saturday Night Live, and they did a concert that aired on PBS that rocked so hard I thought I would die.  I watched a videotape of that concert approximately 100 times, something like once every week for a couple of years.  If it hadn’t been on Betamax (ask your grandfather) I’d probably still be watching it. 

All Shook Up (1980) had a lot of really great music on it.  But better than that, the album captured the power and verisimilitude of the band’s stage presence (to the extent possible).  The album’s most famous track “Baby Loves to Rock” was almost punk, but without punk’s anger.  It was based on a firm power chord tripod that even novitiate rockers could play (without any moveable chord forms), Robin Zander’s inimitable howl, a bass sound like an oil tanker slowly running aground, interesting and sometimes cryptic lyrics.  And the album that came after that, One on One, was just as good.  

Unfortunately, it was too late for the band to achieve the kind of stardom they deserved.  They have since written and performed the theme music for dozens of movies, as well as for That 70s Show and The Colbert Report, but their bid for superstardom faltered.

Why? 

By 1980, Cheap Trick’s three disappointing studio albums of the late 1970s had made some of their most promising fans wary of being burned again.  Worse still, the band was simply one of a kind, and thus difficult to understand.  For example, the band was solidly connected, in popular imagination, to Japan, which was already, during the rapidly growing energy crisis years, becoming problematic. 

What do you mean?

Their most famous album began with the words “All Right Tokyo!” They did not look American enough, which was a crime during this era, when Americans were talking about energy independence and bombing Iran (I mean the last time we did this, of course.  I told you this was going to be confusing.)   Since the band didn’t look like anyone else, they must be Japanese, right? 

It was confusing.  Look, “Elo Kiddies” was a song off their first album that the Japanese schoolgirls seemed to really take to.  How this tune transmuted into the Hello Kitty phenomenon is a dark and frightening story that is not appropriate to tell here in this public space.  (N.B.: I was not able to link to Sanrio’s Hello Kitty, because it makes me ill to even think about doing that.  And I couldn’t use a picture, because it is trademarked, so the link goes to Hello Cthulhu, a cartoon that gives you the general idea of Hello Kitty from the appropriate perspective of ironic mockery.)  All I can do is point out the clash of the two cultures, the huge gulf between interpretive frames of reference.

Compare the song’s refrain . . .

So you missed some school,
they say school’s for fools,
today money rules,
and everybody steals it.
You lead a life of crime,
you gotta go unwind,
you haven’t got much time,
because they’re out to get you.

. . . to the Hello Kitty icon that began to appear about the same time.  Extra credit for any of you who can make even a tiny bit of sense out of that. 

They seemed to delight in confounding all of the dominant stereotypes of the era.  This was especially so in the case of lead guitarist Rick Nielsen, running around on stage wearing checkered tights and a baseball cap (hey, those Japanese are playing baseball now, too).  He looked, quite intentionally, like a cartoon character.  In contrast, Robin Zander, the lead singer, was attractive and graceful, an ex-dance instructor, with long, golden hair.  Then there was Bun E. Carlos, the band’s hard-rockin,’ chain-smokin’ drummer, who looked and dressed like a despirited, pot-bellied, balding, accounts receivable clerk.  The bassist was probably even more attractive than Zander.  It was just too large an interpretive disjuncture for the average rock fan to navigate.  

Conversation overheard in record store (Tower Records, Sunrise Blvd., Sacramento, California) between typical rocker and store employee, circa 1980:

“What does it all mean, record dude?” 
“I don’t know.”
“Oh.  Um, you got any Journey?”
“S’under “J.” [Points]
“Jay?  No, Journey.  Are you making fun of me?”

It was too easy to come to the conclusion the band was making fun of its audience.  That was a dangerous game, far too dangerous for the Reagan era, and one most simply avoided taking part in.

Textbook for the School of Rock-Chapter I January 30, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in history, Japan, Music, Other, Rock.
12 comments

Part A
Isn’t it a Shame?

During the Scientific Revolution, so-called “Natural Philosophers” often collected anomolies to help them understand the truth.  What could a two-headed sheep tell them about the natural world?*  It could tell them more, they figured, than looking at a thousand “normal” sheep, because it explored the limits of “sheepness.”  Figuring out why nature has gone awry helped them to figure out how it goes right.  We study the abnormal to examine the boundaries of normalcy.  For these reasons, this chapter examines Cheap Trick.

In the late 1970s Cheap Trick rocketed to stardom on the success of a live album that also predicted their downfall.  That album, Cheap Trick: Live at Budokan, was recorded in Tokyo, Japan, and kept the band on rock radio through the mid-1980s.  A string of hits including “I Want You to Want Me,” “Surrender,” and others should have tipped the band off to the secret of their success. 

What did the album’s success say about the band?  It said this: These guys know how to get an audience of Japanese schoolgirls cheering at a frequency about six octaves above middle “C.”  These guys know how to rock. 

How does one rock?

Well, there are lots of ways.  One is by working hard at being the best/loudest/fastest/strongest band you can be–being extreme.  Tom Petersson, the band’s bassist, had a twelve-string bass, the world’s first, specially constructed at around this time.  The company initially made him a ten-string bass because they didn’t think that the instrument’s neck would stand up to the strain of twelve bass strings.  Travelling to my cousin’s house one Thanksgiving I found that he had gotten a bass guitar, an Ibanez, and I spent much of the day sequestered in his room, trying to play the bass part to “Gonna Raise Hell,” by Cheap Trick.  But I eventually had to stop, because I didn’t want to get blood on his new guitar.  Bass strings are like round files, people.  You must have a grip of steel and a quarter-inch of callous to survive playing one for the length of a concert.  Flea, the bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers often had to superglue parts of his thumb together to finish a set.  Yet here was Petersson, demanding three times the number of cheese-grating, garroting wires with which to flay his left hand.  And that was pretty much all he played, eight and twelve-string basses.  And the bassists who followed him in the band after he left, Pete Comita, Jon Brandt, and others, played these things, too.  That’s rock, friends, pain in the service of power and a unique sound.  Pushing your own limits, and upping the ante, too, forcing others to put up or shut up.

Additionally, in order to rock, you have to be real.**  You cannot depend upon re-recording take after take in a studio, only releasing the dolbyized, computer-smoothed, noise-reduced, effects-laden pap that the producer decides is best.  To rock you have to be able to play it live, and not with keyboardists and extra vocalists hidden behind the curtains to help you out.  This band rocked so hard in concert that they could turn an old Pat Boone song (“Ain’t That a Shame,” written by Fats Domino, but recorded by Boone, who wanted to change its title to “Isn’t that a Shame”) into a hit in 1978.  Pat freakin’ Boone. 

Unfortunately, the band missed an important warning signal from the success of Budokan:  “Surrender” had already been released on a previous album, In Color and Black and White.  But radio stations never played that version.  Why?  Because the overproduced tune had no freakin’ teeth, no edge.  The band later blamed the dullness of that album on their producer, saying that it sounded like it was recorded in a cardboard box.

People, rock fans, want to believe that the people they see are actually producing the music they hear on the radio.  With Budokan there was no doubt.  This band made noise, interacted with the audience.  The audience loved them, worshipped them.  You could hear that.  Three of their crucial studio albums, In Color and Black and White, Heaven Tonight, and Dream Police, though sweet, carefully written, masterfully played, with brilliant harmony, could have been played by paid studio musicians. 

Hundreds of rock bands in the 1970s and 1980s would use technological fixes and careful editing to make themselves sound like they could really rock, only to disappoint any relatively sober rock fans that happened to show up for their live performances.  MTV amplified this problem ten-fold by adding visual elements to the fakery, which culminated, eventually, in a backlash known as “Grunge.”  But Cheap Trick was that most tragic of anomolies–a true rock band that sounded fake on many of their albums.

To be continued . . .

*Textbook for the School of Rock originated in conversations with my son on the morning school commute.  Thus, it seems to be unfolding in a Socratic presentation style. 

**Not real, in the sense of being essential, of course, but real in the sense of performing your own music, or adding a whole new dimension to somebody else’s.  In the sense of doing your own stunts, not taking orders from The Man.

Ken Stein’s anti-Carter Phlegm January 26, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in Books, history, Israel, Jimmy Carter, Logic, narrative, Other.
2 comments

I was listening on the way into work today to an interview with Ken Stein about his reaction to Jimmy Carter’s new book and I have to say that I don’t really care for him.  I have not the expertise to really talk constructively about the disagreements between Carter and Stein, unfortunately, much less the Israelis and Palastinians, and I probably never will.  I’ve never read any of his books, including the one he wrote with Carter back in the 1980s.  But if the imprecise language and odd, traditional dualist logic of his interview persona is any indication, I would find them a trial.  Two quick examples:

1)  He believes that Carter is characterizing the bad situation in the Occupied Territories as entirely the fault of Israel.  And he claims, simultaneously that (and I’m paraphrasing a little here on this one because I couldn’t write it down while driving–not in Lowell, not during the commute time of the morning) if you tell this story, you can’t “unpack it” in such a way that one side is at fault.  Note: that is exactly what he accuses Carter of doing–unpacking it in such a way that it shows that Israel is at fault. 

Perhaps he meant to say that one shouldn’t.  Such statements require a different mode, a subjunctive one, which is used in English to indicate value judgements like this, among other things.  Perhaps Stein didn’t want his statement to sound like a value judgement.  Perhaps he wanted it to sound like a statement of fact. . . .

2)  This one is a direct quote, because I had reached the frigid wasteland of the faculty/staff parking lot by this point in time. 

“History always tells us the truth is somewhere in-between.”

Not to pick nits, here, Dr. Stein, but it tells us nothing of the sort.  Perhaps the ones that you write tell us this.  I have read many histories that do not simplistically group conflicts into two opposing sides and then claim that the truth is in-between. 

Is the glass half empty?  Is it half full?  To Dr. Stein, the glass is three-quarters full, or something close to that.

New Short Story–”Atomic Punk” January 10, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in history, Other, writing.
2 comments

Yesterday I wrote a short story for the contest over at The Clarity of Night.  So you could look at it while you peruse the forty or so other flash fiction pieces entered so far by writers as illustrious as stugglingwriter.

Mine is entry number 36, which you can get to by clicking here.

Now I am working on refinements and extensions to the discussion that SilverTiger and I are conducting on epistemological matters.  I will have more to offer on that front soon.

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