this week i

browsed as bookworms before soba cafe, hanoian durian popsicles to discuss etymology of year of rabbit vs cat, ox and buffalo another difference

cycled thirty miles to and from the temple of buddhist relics of the red river valley.  prior sketches on pink backsides of while you were out pads.  caravaggio's mom and kid trample snake with grandma slightly better, bauhaus black hole too.  voice to text thought cervantes wrote donkey hotel



 

read the count of monte cristo by alexandre dumas.  he looks a bit like michael richards on stage the night that he cancelled himself

the two lovers went on their way, peaceful and happy, like two of the elect on their way to heaven, while the three men continued their interesting conversation

"has the corsican ogre broken loose?"

 "your life, young man, is far too short to contain anything of importance"

"thank god!" said he.  "at least thou strikest me alone!"

"blood washes out dishonour"

"the count of monte cristo asks permission to call upon you to-morrow morning," continued the servant.  "he will be honoured to know what hour is convenient to you"

"just so.  well, then, supposing the poison were brucine," resumed the count, "and that you took a milligram the first day, two milligrams the second day, and so on progressively.  well, at the end of ten days you would have taken a centigram; at the end of twenty days, by increasing this by another milligram, you would have taken another three centigrams; that is to say, a dose which would be extremely dangerous for any other person who had not taken the same precautions as yourself.  well, then, at the end of the month you would have killed yourself; yet, except for a slight indisposition, you would have no other indication that there was poisonous substance mixed with the water"

a decanter of orangeade, her usual beverage

"i only wish to be on good terms with every one"

"havanas are distasteful to her because she does not like their strong odour, but eastern tobacco is a perfume"

"ali, my pistols inlaid with ivory!"

"demon that you are, you have penetrated the obscurity of my past and have read, by the light of what torch i do not know, every page of my life"

"i am come," said he, "to say to you as the gladiator would say to the roman emperor: 'he who is about to die salutes you'"

  

2/2

this week i

published on the inflation reduction act's effect on medicare beneficiary drug costs

worked on dev branch, 101 datasets to analyze before you die.  [inside a yellow lightning zig-zag explosion cloud]  asdfree: now with more data!

celebrated lunar new year





read maureen dowd's nancy pelosi exit interview

but for four long days - days in which mccarthy was brought low by the ugly forces he had helped unleash - he couldn't get it done.

"well," she observed, popping another chocolate in her mouth, "you do have to know how to count"


impersonated ruffles.  nearby dentist enough flashing neon signage i first thought karaoke till i saw illuminated tooth.  bicycles allowed on highway

 

read lake wobegone summer 1956 by garrison keillor

 a sigh as big as north dakota

ten-thirty was a moral boundary, the time when decent people put on their jammies and brush their teeth and gargle and crawl into bed, and the only reason for staying up later is to do things you wouldn't do if decent people were awake to see you do them

we feed the baby garlic so we can find him in the dark

a bible salesman knocks on the church door.  he is selling bibles bound in black leather, with gold edging, study guide and reference helps, maps of the holy land, and when he sees that she is alone, he says, "i'll give you this one free, darlin, in exchange for some of your sweet lovin," and she screams and he chases her around the church.  as it turns out, she is not alone.  a handsome toad is sitting on a window ledge and sees her predicament and leaps onto the bible salesman's neck and down his shirt collar and terrifies him so that he runs away screaming, and the toad drops out of his shirttails and lands, semi-conscious, on the stone church floor, where he is suddenly transformed into a comely young man.  this often happens to toads who perform heroic deeds with no thought of reward.  she is so grateful, she takes him upstairs, and in no time she is pregnant

she spoke in a hepburn glissando, cool and thrilling - she'd say, "darling, what a day i have had"

taps a
t and then backspaces and taps an f over it.  the superimposed letters make the symbol for the english pound.  "somebody showed me that once," he says.  he smiles at me

"you really slept on the fire escape..weren't you afraid you'd fall off?"  /  "no, we were asleep" 

somebody bet him he couldn't throw a baseball across the mississippi and like a fool he tried to do it and he strained his arm..that winter he found out he'd become a father without being aware of it at the time, so he married the girlfriend and settled down and she had that baby and then three more of them nine months and ten minutes apart

all the lake wobegon men who got caught in adultery and never expected to.  one after another, caught at the old game like a weasel in the moonlight, held up, dangling from the leg trap, and people cry shame! shame! and among the shamers is a man thinking, "lucky for me that i covered my tracks.  nobody'll ever find out."  and they sniff him out two weeks later, and tar and feather him and ride him around on a rail, and of the men carrying the rail, one thinks, "good i burned those letters when i did."  two weeks later, they find two unburnt letters addressed to angel eyes, and put him in stocks, and people throw dead fish and used fruit at him and buckets of slime and entrails, and one of the hurlers thinks, "if i'm ever caught, which i won't be, i'll deny everything," and two weeks later, he's caught.  he denies it, but they have found the pink garter, the hotel-room key, and he is made to walk around with a deceased pelican hanging around his neck, and the man who ties the pelican to him thinks, "i'll call her and tell her i can't meet her again until after this all blows over."  and two weeks later, he meets her, and when they are at a high pitch of excitement, suddenly red lights flash and two cops arrest him for gross indecency and drag him downtown, and one cop thinks, "i am the last person anyone would ever suspect of misdeeds."  and two weeks later, he stands up in the hideho, wearing his fake beard and glasses, and he inserts the $10 bill in the dancer's bodice, and feels the hand on his shoulder, and it's his wife's brother, who drags him home, where he sits in the dark basement and weeps for all the pain he has caused, and the wife's brother is thinking, "i'll meet trixie tonight, as planned.  nothing to fear"

the umpire pointed you to the dugout and off you went, carrying the bat like you had never seen one before

if the crowd had not been so scandinavian, they would've leaped up and screamed and gone to pieces, but being the sensible folk they were, they clapped lightly for the principle of modulation, and they waited for the doo dads to finish the song, and then they clapped again, it being the end and the time to applaud

he never sent her money for the kids, though: he always wrote in the letter, 'p.s. i meant to enclose money but i already sealed the envelope'


1/26


this week i

biked past roadside intersection restaurant with yellow beer ha noi business banner where i had seen a woman eat a meal alone more than one hundred months ago, never had a crisp look at her face but still often think about her shadow. weeks ago i had had the courage to approach a black european of indistinguishable (to me) spoken accent with the same abundance of je ne sais quoi and not only did i walk away without offering my number but jyoltsna volunteered the encounter had been published on instagram with all the local tags at the conclusion of a peeping tom sketch artist's short-reel of cartoon caricatures he had surreptitiously drawn of me while i downed honey-dunked pancakes and read the white war in two sanjay's cafe (they really ought to trade for the current name: teapot). this will always be my best 0.5 selfie, illustration, sculpture, or otherwise, nobody else on social media ought to bother. stick to the mirror like the rest of us. and it's smiling eyes, smiling eyes make a woman beautiful, and maybe also this peninsula's corner store boss's pronunciation of snickers with three emphatic syllables: sah-nick-aahhh, maybe she is beautiful too


drank coffee, beer, coffee, beer, coffee, beer, one of those at trúc bạch cộng cà phê.  always a good day that goes that way.  existentialists unite!

 
 
ate bánh cuốn, culinarily all that i do.  maybe headline "the onion replaces newsroom with chatgpt" then just a picture of a piercing blue laserbeam
 

 

hope to live to see china cross one billion.  how would early human societies have differed if lifespans lasted a thousand years?  my nail polish emoji:


read a streetcar named desire by tennessee williams, first directed by elia kazan.  arthur miller introduced: the inhaling of breath across the auditorium when blanche said the "kindness of strangers" line.  when she exited on the arm of the doctor everyone went with her

 [more laughter and shouts of parting come from the men.  stanley throws the screen door of the kitchen open and comes in.  he is of medium height, about five feet eight or nine, and strongly, compactly built.  animal joy in his being is implicit in all his movements and attitudes.  since earliest manhood the center of his life has been pleasure with women, the giving and taking of it, not with weak indulgence, dependently, but with the power and pride of a richly feathered male bird among hens.  branching out from this complete and satisfying center are all the auxiliary channels of his life, such as his heartiness with men, his appreciation of rough humor, his love of good drink and food and games, his car, his radio, everything that is his, that bears his emblem of the gaudy seed-bearer.  he sizes up women at a glance, with sexual classifications, crude images flashing into his mind and determining the way he smiles at them]

 it's a french name.  it means woods and blanche means white, so the two together mean white woods.  like an orchard in spring!  you can remember it by that

[blanche sinks faintly back in her chair with her drink.  eunice shrieks with laughter and runs down the steps.  steve bounds after her with goat-like screeches and chases her around corner.  stanley and stella twine arms as they follow, laughing

by coming suddenly into a room that i thought was empty - which wasn't empty, but had two people in it . . . the boy i had married and an older man who had been his friend for years

the polka music increases

[he hurls a plate to the floor.]  that's how i'll clear the table! [he seizes her arm] don't ever talk that way to me!  "pig - polack - disgusting - vulgar - greasy!" - them kind of words have been on your tongue and your sister's too much around here!  what do you two think you are?  a pair of queens?  remember what huey long said - "every man is a king!"  and i am the king around here, so don't forget it!  [he hurls a cup and a saucer to the floor]  my place is cleared!  you want me to clear up your places?

a moment of silence - no sound but that of stanley steadily shuffling the cards

 

1/19

this week i

flew from the country with the worst traffic to the one with the best, million multiplayer mariokart.  vietnam drives on the right except long bien bridge.  no notification option for daily limit exceeded despite common billing setup in both places, dan savage documented more chatgpt faceplants

 

aspire to see someone taking a photo of something and immediately ask, "this is an incredible place, isn't it?  what do you enjoy most about it?"

 

enjoy rock paper scissors on tinder et al.  this advertisement looks like a stop motion jaws remake with plecostomuses


 
reviewed the maps of the 1870 statistical atlas.  scanning the geological map made me think beautiful the way mavis staples says it in the last waltz.  infant mortality flares each base, smart visualization of insufficient data, impressive inclusion of 1790 center of population (near baltimore)


watched petite maman and the power of the dog



read pattumma's goat by vaikom muhammad basheer

there is my umma; my next younger brother abdulkhadar, his wife kunjanumma, their darling children pattukkutti, arifa and subaida; the next younger brother after abdulkhadar, namely muhammad hanifa, his wife aishomma, their darling children habibu muhammad, laila and muhammad rashid; hanifa's younger sister anumma, her husband sulaiman, their darling child saidu muhammad; and lastly my youngest brother abubakar

a crow alighted on pattumma's goat.  the goat came and stood before me, carrying the crow.  the crow turned its head on one side and looked at me as if to say, "i don't remember having seen you before"

at that time the astrologer was the best physician available

i offered a ten-rupee note to pattumma's goat


read the white war: life and death on the italian front 1915-1919 by mark thompson

no other army routinely punished entire units by 'decimation', executing randomly selected men.  only the italian government treated its captured soldiers as cowards or defectors, blocking the delivery of food and clothing from home.  over 100,000 of the 600,000 italian prisoners of war died in captivity - a rate nine times worse than for habsburg captives in italy.  statistically, it was more dangerous for the infantry to be taken prisoner than to stay alive on the front line

italy's imperial mission in the adriatic basin and beyond..the idea that italy should control the entire dalmatian coast..that austria was crushing italy's 'left lung' - its north-eastern territories

known in english as bangalore torpedoes, the gelignite tubes were iron pipes, around 1.5 metres in length, with gelignite packed in one end.  the wire-cutting party would thrust the explosive end under the wire, then light the long fuse with a sulphur match before retreating.  when they worked, these devices could blast a gap of 3-5 metres in the wire

good illiterate peasants.  i wrote their letters home for them.  oh, you people today don't know how backwards italy was in those times.  they couldn't read or write, but they never complained.  they died in silence

one day, when i'm still young, when i'm walking on the carso and the stones and flowers are telling me things i already know, some slav will hurl an eroded, heavy rock full of sharp edges at me.  and that's where i'll fall, up on the carso.  not in bed, amid tears and stinks and whispers and people walking softly in the room.  i want to die at the height of my life, not down there

"where are the trenches?" asked a junior officer, arriving on san michele in november 1915.  "trenches, trenches..." came the wondering reply.  "there aren't any.  we've got holes"

the only distractions were alcohol (the soldiers called it their petrol), authorised brothels (separate for officers and men), and saucy literature

set fire to this world till it becomes a sun

when private mussolini reached the isonzo on 16 september 1915, he recorded the moment for his newspaper,
il popolo d'italia.  'i have never seen bluer waters.  strange!  i bent down over the cold water and drank a mouthful with devotion.  sacred river!

to the austrians, it was the schreckenstein or 'rock of terror'

imagine a campaign to capture a cathedral spire by creeping along its roof-ridge, with 45-degree slopes on either side

13 december 1916, known as white friday, some 10,000 soldiers perished in avalanches

4 tonnes of steel per dead man

around 1980, when the cold war was in full swing, mary kaldor described the 'feats of tremendous ingenuity, talent and organization' needed to produce modern armaments as baroque, meaning essentially decorative rather than functional.  these weapons 'can inflict unimaginable destruction', but 'are incapable of achieving limited military objectives'.  in this sense, the war in the dolomites was baroque

use of the creeping barrage - allowing infantry to advance behind a curtain of artillery file - was standard practice on the western front by the end of 1916.  by march 1917, it was still unknown on the italian front, due to the relative inaccuracy of italian guns and poor co-ordination between infantry and artillery.  the mountainous landscape posed insuperable problems to communications at the front

the frontal attack - the core of the infantry's unspeakable experience, and the reason why their casualty rates over the war were 40 per cent

an army doctor matter-of-factly recorded treating 80 casualties of enemy machine-gun fire, and another 25 shot in the buttocks by the carabinieri

is this a tragedy or an operetta?

 he belonged to a bosnian regiment.  the fez had the same effect on italians that a scottish kilt had on germans: it meant primeval savagery


the twelfth battle was a blitzkrieg before the concept existed..as a fist punching through a barrier, then unclenching to spread its fingers

no quarter for the filthy neutralists, socialists and giolittians

workers were crying for peace, justice and bread..hopes that co-operation with newly independent ukraine would unlock huge imports of grain came to nothing..the men were starving.  bread and polenta were very scarce, and often mixed with sawdust or even sand.  meat practically disappeared.  soldiers stole the prime cuts from horses killed by enemy fire..such was the condition of the men who were sent against the italians in june

italian prisoners of war in austria and german camps.  the 300,000 men taken during the twelfth battle joined the 200,000 or more in camps across the empire.  if these men had known that was more dangerous to be taken prisoner than to serve on the front line, fewer of them would have welcomed their capture.  for the italian government, uniquely, refused to send food parcels to its prisoners of war.  as a result, more than 100,000 of the 600,000 italian prisoners died in captivity - a rate nine times worse than for habsburg captives in italy.  only 550 of these were officers, dying of tuberculosis or wounds; the remainder died directly or indirectly of cold and hunger

provision of food and other aid to prisoners had been accepted practice since the central powers announced in late 1914 that, due to the allied blockade, they would no longer be responsible for feeding and clothing allied prisoners of war.  while britain and france subsidised the aid to their captured soldiers, italy refused to take such measures, or even, except in extreme cases, to allow the exchange of sick prisoners.  fearful that soldiers would desert en masse if they believed they would be safe in captivity, the government treated italian pows as cowards or defectors who should be punished

over time, the war had become a byword for futile sacrifice.  'the first world war was idiotic,' said one, typically.  'it started out idiotic and it stayed idiotic'

the way was clear for victor emanuel to enter the city by royal gondola

 1/12

this week i

celebrated the new year in the crush after roast santa, also by relaxing on the arabian seawall with sometimes-interesting festival catalog

 

 

recognized al swearengen, he happily agreed my phone at that moment? his mirror, dank mode.  then skink between tails outside quotidian detritus

 

delayed decision between bookdown, pagedown, blogdown, jekyll, quarto.  airtel wanted money, foreign card failure, google pay failure, amazon pay failure, uber to airtel store: looks closed since the pandemic.  i found a barefoot man sitting on a rug in an unlit bodega, detergent packets hanging over him unlike bats.  he nodded violently that i could recharge there for four dollars, triple-checked my number.  thanks, no change from this five


 

notice a winner among each day's quotes.  "would i say that he starts off with one foot on a banana? absolutely," mr. issa said.  though the onion wins hourly.  runner up: ukranians ask santa for victory.  and not because chatgpt passed the turing test but because many of their students cannot either

 

cycle through three dinners: new, spicy beef pizza, this shrimp thali: the lazy susan of indian meals.  teapot cafe non-frozen vegetable mornings

 

concluded atlanta.  better than pea soup coming to a furious boil and somewhere nearer to peak simpsons (here, on soccer)

are you here for blueblood?// yeah, yeah, is he performing? // uh, no, he's dead.  is that news to you?

aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhi'm fine.  grits don't work on me.  i've developed a tolerance over the years

oh boy this is bad.  you got feral hogs.  // okay, so what i need, hog repellant or something? // no, it's not as simple as that.  here.  gimme that.  let me see.  yeah, shit.  you can thank the explorer hernan de soto for this bullshit.  were the turds wet or dry?  //  i do not know.  //  well did they crumble in your hand?


read the short essay how to read mathematics by shai simonson and fernando gouvea

a math article tells a story.  try to see what the story is before you delve into the details.  you can go in for a closer look once you have built a framework of understanding.  do this just as you might reread a novel

when you add consecutive numbers starting with 1, and the number of numbers you add is odd, the result is equal to the product of the middle number among them times the last number

in my class with 30 students, there's a pretty good chance that at least two students have the same birthday

the chance that there are no two people with the same birthday is the number of possible sets of
n birthdays without a duplicate divided by the total number of possible sets of n birthdays

 

read the unbearable lightness of being by milan kundera, about our inability to randomized control trial our lives.  randy newman inspired sabina?

 while they slept, she held him as on the first night, keeping a firm grip on wrist, finger, or ankle.  if he wanted to move without waking her, he had to resort to artifice.  after freeing his finger (wrist, ankle) from her clutches, a process which, since she guarded him carefully even in her sleep, never failed to rouse her partially, he would calm her by slipping an object into her hand (a rolled-up pajama top, a slipper, a book), which she then gripped as tightly as if it were a part of his body

 any schoolboy can do experiments in the physics laboratory to test various scientific hypotheses.  but man, because he as only one life to live, cannot conduct experiments to test whether to follow his passion (compassion) or not

he gently took the brim of the bowler hat between two fingers, lifted it off sabina's head with a smile, and laid it back on the wig stand.  it was as though he were erasing the mustache a naughty child had drawn on a picture of the virgin mary

seeing is limited by two borders: strong light, which blinds, and total darkness

if you're looking for infinity, just close your eyes

he told his wife about nonexistent congresses in amsterdam and lectures in madrid; he was afraid to walk with sabina through the streets of geneva.  and he enjoyed the lying and hiding: it was all so new to him.  he was as excited as a teacher's pet who has plucked up the courage to play truant

they walked back to the hotel through the streets of rome.  because the italians around them were making a racket, shouting and gesticulating, they could walk along in silence without hearing their silence

because franz was so afraid of being found out, he had never asked for any of sabina's paintings or drawings or even a snapshot of her.  as a result, she disappeared from his life without a trace.  there was not a scrap of tangible evidence to show that he had spent the most wonderful year of his life with her

there was nothing to be heard but the singing of birds: the rifle was equipped with a silencing device.  there was nothing to be seen but the collapse of the man who had been leaning against the maple

the invisible venice of shit underlying our bathrooms, bedrooms, dance halls, and parliaments

 it is a tragicomic fact that our proper upbringing has become an ally of the secret police.  we do not know how to lie.  the "tell the truth!" imperative drummed into us by our mamas and papas functions so automatically that we feel ashamed of lying even to a secret policeman during an interrogation.  it is simpler for us to argue with him or insult him (which makes no sense whatever) than to lie to his face (which is the only thing to do)

in kant's language, even "good morning," suitably pronounced, can take the shape of a metaphysical thesis

even though, as i have pointed out, he had known approximately two hundred women (plus the considerable lot that had accrued during his days as a window washer), he had yet to be faced with a woman who was taller than he was, squinted at him, and fingered his anus.  to overcome his embarrassment, he forced her down on the bed

someone had sent her downstream in a bulrush basket

the famous myth from plato's symposium: people were hermaphrodites until god split them in two, and now all the halves wander the world over seeking one another.  love is the longing for the half of ourselves we have lost

so the twenty americans on the podium looked once more with smiles full of good will, many nodding agreement.  one of them even lifted his fist in the air because he knew europeans liked to raise their fists in times of collective euphoria

calm, guileless, and sometimes childishly animated, they looked like fat fifty-year-olds pretending they were fourteen.  there was nothing more touching than cows at play.  tereza took pleasure in their antics and could not help thinking..that man is as much a parasite on the cow as the tapeworm is on a man: we have sucked their udders like leeches.  "man the cow parasite" is probably how non-man defines man in his zoology books

who would wind the clock of their days

happiness is the longing for repetition

nocturnal butterfly

 

1/5

this week i

opened christmassy biennale: gandhi's letter to hitler and much much more.  old man enjoying himself #2 transports peep-dyed live chicks in far cage
























read the big short: inside the doomsday machine by michael lewis

 

who else studies the talmud so that they can find the mistakes?

 

writing a check separates a commitment from a conversation  -warren buffett

 

fedex couldn't get its night shift to finish on time; they tried everything to speed it up but nothing worked - until they stopped paying night shift workers by the hour and started to pay them by the shift

 

munger also has a fake eye

 

it was as if you could buy flood insurance on the house in the valley for the same price as flood insurance on the house on the mountaintop

 

in the early 2000s, the financial markets performed this fantastic bait and switch, in two stages.  stage one was to apply a formula that had been dreamed up to cope with corporate credit risk to consumer credit risk.  the banks that used aig fp to insure piles of loans to ibm and ge now came to it to insure much messier piles, which included credit card debt, student loans, auto loans prime mortgages, aircraft leases, and just about anything else that generated a cash flow.  as there were many different sorts of loans, to different sorts of people, the logic that had applied to corporate loans seemed to apply to them, too: they were sufficiently diverse that they were unlikely all to go bad at once

 stage two, beginning at the end of 2004, was to replace the student loans and the auto loans and the rest with bigger piles consisting of nothing but u.s. subprime mortgage loans.  "the problem," as one aig fp trader put it, "is that something else came along that we thought was the same thing as what we'd been doing."  the "consumer loan" piles that wall street firms, led by goldman sachs, asked aig fp to insure went from being 2 percent subprime mortgages to being 95 percent subprime mortgages

 

if it's such a great idea, why are you giving it away to us?

i'm not giving anything away.  the supply is infinite

 

in bakersfield, california, a mexican strawberry picker with an income of $14,000 and no english was lent every penny he needed to buy a house for $724,000

 

guys who can't get a job on wall street get a job at moody's

 

subprime borrowers tended to be one broken refrigerator away from default

 

subprime mortgage bond traders were long and wrong

 

those are big fat tail risks that caught us hard

 

alan greenspan will go down as the worst chairman of the federal reserve in history

 

on wall street, the lawyers play the same role as medics in war: they come in after the shooting is over to clean up the mess 


12/29