Friday, 22 October 2010

Spring and Fall

Spring and Fall
to a young child

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What héart héard of, ghost guéssed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) was a Victorian poet who achieved post-humous fame in 1918 when his poems were collected and published by his friend, the then poet laureate Robert Bridges. Hopkins was unusually sensitive in nature, and to nature, and displayed these tendencies even as a child. He was very close to his father,which was to pain him all the more when they were later estranged after his conversion to Roman Catholicism. There appears to have been an element of masochism, of pushing things to the extremes in him. Not content with mere conversion, Hopkins took orders as a Jesuit no less. As a schoolboy he abstained from salt for a week and once from water to the point of collapse (his tongue turned black). Astonishingly he burned all his early poems upon deciding to enter the priesthood (an event he later termed "the slaughter of the innocents") from the view that he should submerge his personality henceforth (perhaps akin to the Muslim concept of total submission to Allah?) and devote himself totally to his order. Nevertheless, it didn't bring him much happiness, if there is one word to describe Hopkins its "anguished". A great part of it were sexual hang-ups, there are cryptic entries in his diaries that are interpreted as keeping score of the "sin" of masturbation ("O.H" surmised to stand for Old Habits. This is one habit that must take a lot of hard dying. I believe something similar exists in Pepys' diaries). A deeper thorn in the flesh was his suppressed homosexuality. He had a crush whilst an undergraduate in Oxford on Bridges' younger cousin, Digby Dolben, which appears from the meagre remaining evidence to have been the main emotional event of Hopkins' life. Dolbens death by drowning two years later at the age of 19 seems to have preserved those feelings in amber for the rest of Hopkins' life, providing an endless source of secret joy, self-hating and guilt. In his journals he also noted the appeal to him of the siren call of loitering men and choir boys. It was these urgings, whispered in the bone, that sent him down the path of self-mortification to take up the hair-shirt, scourge, the sore-chain and a form of penance called the"custody of the eyes" where he was not allowed to look up from the ground (presumably in case it should light upon a loiterer!). In one of the Enderby novels, Anthony Burgess makes a scurrilous accusation of pederasty against Hopkins with a choir-boy, however there is no evidence that he ever acted on his impulses. This was after all, an age where people certainly knew all about self-control and denial. Poor Hopkins, he would have been so much happier born in our day and age, but then he would also have lacked the creative tension that fed his muse. I am reminded of the following poem:

The intellect of man is forced to choose
Perfection of the life, or of the work,
And if it take the second must refuse
A heavenly mansion, raging in the dark.

W.B. Yeats "The Choice"

Despite his initial decision, Hopkins resumed writing seven years later after some encouragement from his superior. Nevertheless all of his work was unpublished in his lifetime and was only circulated privately within his small group of acquaintances.

Hopkins died in Dublin, aged 45, of typhoid. He had been depressed for several years due to a sense of growing isolation and health problems. The harrowing poem "I Wake and Feel the Fell of Dark" dates form this period. There may also have been a gnawing realisation of non-achievement, he (who graduated with a First from Oxford) having failed his final theology exam which scuttled his chances for advancement in his order. As a result he was shunted from posting to posting before washing up in Dublin. In spite of everything, his last words were "I am so happy, I am so happy. I loved my life".

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889). Any resemblance to Rodney Trotter is purely coincidental.

"Spring and Fall" achieves the perfection that is only attained in short works. The poet addresses a young girl who is distressed at the dying leaves of autumn and muses that in the way of the world, she will outgrow such childish thoughts and reserve her emotions for weightier (to adults at least) matters. And yet, with the wisdom of babes, the wellsprings of her emotion arise from the tragedy of the human condition, our mortality and sadness at the passing of time and life, even if she is unaware of the deeper significance. I feel there is also an unstated note of regret at the loss of the purity of emotion and expression that a child like Margaret experiences and which she will learn to conceal as she grows older.

An often claimed source of the poem is Millais' painting of a group of young girls heaping a pile of autumn leaves which Hopkins was known to have admired, Margaret may have been based on the youngest, pensive girl. I prefer to think that Hopkins was inspired by watching some unknown child in a park under a soft fall of leaves in the dying sunlight (Goldengrove!). Its nice to imagine the memory of this nameless child fixed forever through the genius of words, better than any photograph ever could.

John Millais (Autumn Leaves).

Why Margaret? Apparently it's the name of a favourite character from Goethe's Faust (a fucking bore-fest so don't ask me to check).

Strangely for such a religious poet, there doesn't seem to be any promise of redemption or any overtly Christian message. Hopkins certainly had the innate sense and good taste not to stridently preach at any opportunity, unlike many current-day evangelicals! The achingly plaintive, elegiac air of resignation in the poem mirrors the mood of autumn evenings perfectly and always reminds me of my first autumn in England (for some reason the chord progression Fmaj7-Cmaj7-Amaj7-Dmaj7 evokes the same feelings in me).

What's in a name?......

That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

Despite Juliet's demurral (with allowances that she was only 13 after all), names are important as signifying something about the giver, its potential effect on the bearer, and the general impression it gives (or is meant to convey) to the world at large.

I get endless entertainment from the modern Chinese practice of tagging on a Western name to a traditional Chinese surname. It has unintended consequences when a grandiloquent name (obviously chosen to impress) is hitched to a commonplace Chinese surname, the sudden descent to bathos is hilarious, all the more so when this is inimical to the bearers intention. Examples I have come across are Cresswell Tan, Rolex Pang and Jenny Poo. The last is funny only when you know that she worked in a multinational fragrance company. American blacks also tend to mangle orthographic convention in bestowing distinctive epithets on their offspring like N'Qesha, D'Zyre and K'Shambia. However, going by the comments in this link, many black people view this with bemusement themselves. I like this, its quite unlike the Chinese who are culturally incapable of being self-deprecating due to the overwhelming concern with preserving "face".

In "Tristram Shandy", his father Walter, who is addicted to abstruse intellectual theorizing, espouses a belief in the momentous importance of selecting the most auspicious name for his yet unchristened son. Having settled, after a convoluted chain of reasoning, on what he considered the optimum choice Trismegistus (after the mythical sage), he was shattered to find his hopes dashed when by a comical sequence of events, his heir and scion was inadvertently christened "Tristram" which according to his logic was the worst choice possible.

"Tristram Shandy" is a unique work and I recommend it highly even if it takes a bit of getting into. While Sterne justifiably poked fun at the foibles of his characters, there may be something yet in this particular hobby horse of Walter Shandy's.

Take for instance the naming of rock bands. Besides musical ability, is there any more important single factor for an upcoming band to establish itself? A carefully selected name projects an image that reflects the musical direction while also announcing the band itself to a selected target audience, thus positioning itself for the notice of a specific sub-culture and to music industry scouts.

A quite successful template in rock is the light-heavy/dark-light combination as in Black Sabbath, Iron Butterfly, Soft Machine, Grateful Dead, etc. The great grand-daddy of them all is naturally Led Zeppelin, a well-nigh perfect name for a hard-rock band, combining as it does the heaviness of lead with a menacing war-like symbol (Germanic moreover, with all the baggage of its recent war past). In addition, I feel that the absence of the soft vowels o, u and a and a certain visual "spikiness" lends a visual/aural dimension to the subliminal impact of the name. Funnily enough, Jimmy Page contemplated naming them Whoopee Cushion early on. I concur with the fictional Mr. Shandy, Whoopee Cushion would have never been a fraction as successful as Led Zeppelin. In fact, I believe a group named Whoopee Cushion would have taken a different musical path more in the direction of a lad-rock band like Mott the Hoople and that the majestic sonority of "Led Zeppelin" was what ensconced Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham firmly in the classic rock mold.

For the life of me, I cannot imagine "Whoopee Cushion" in 30-foot high letters (and the crescendo in "Stairway" wouldn't sound half as orgasmic as well)

Other descriptive names are Pink Floyd which sounds whimsical and surreal and by a happy coincidence (or is it the name's influence manifesting itself?) describes both the Syd Barrett era (whimsical) and the later space-rock period. The name itself could hardly have a more prosaic origin, being parts of the names of two country blues performers that Syd in his random precision combined. Apparently he had never actually heard their music before.

Barrett noticed the names in the liner notes of a 1962 Blind Boy Fuller album (Philips BBL-7512). The text, written by Paul Oliver, read: "Curley Weaver and Fred McMullen, (...) Pink Anderson or Floyd Council - these were a few amongst the many blues singers that were to be heard in the rolling hills of the Piedmont, or meandering with the streams through the wooded valleys."

On the other hand, Spandau Ballet, which sounds promisingly hard-core were just a bunch of New Romantic drips.

Spandau Ballet....have reformed and are currently on tour. You were warned.

Jethro Tull is named after an 18th century agriculturalist. I wonder if any 22nd century bands will name themselves after someone obscure from our time such as a Second Division footballer. A Tull offshoot was the intriguingly named Blodwyn Pig.

Jethro Tull, the creative force behind 70s rock band Ian Anderson

The Alan Parsons Project which sounds cold, sterile and clinical is.........cold, sterile and clinical :-)

Many groups have names that advertise their affinities quite transparently: Slayer, Venom, Megadeth and Metallica are clearly not in the business of singing ballads about a swain holding his beloveds hand under a romantic moon (well, not unless he's a necrophile who's disinterred her by the light of a blood-red moon).

A lot of names appear to have been casually chosen at random, perhaps out of desperation, or out of some personal association or liking. Steely Dan is named after the atomic-powered dildo in William Burroughs' "Naked Lunch", Duran Duran is the villain from the cult film "Barbarella", the Rolling Stones were named after a Muddy Waters' number, Marillion is an obvious contraction, 10CC is apparently the average ejaculate volume etc, etc. As expected these give no indication as to what to expect from the band.

However some names are just opaque: Oasis, Rainbow, Police, Queen, Deep Purple, Yes doesn't give the prospective listener a hint (with the possible exception of Queen and Freddy's drama queen theatrics). I suspect that we will not see many more of such simple names in future as the respective domain names will probably already be occupied. New bands (or their record companies) will have to engage branding consultants to select the most suitable monicker for a target demographic, navigate potential brand name conflicts and foresee any cultural confusion or embarrassment. It all seems a far cry from a group of friends gathering in a garage after school with a few beat-up guitars but maybe I'm just being old-fashioned.

On a personal note, if I ever form a band I've already got a couple of names in hand. The first is Pentatonic Acid which incorporates a pun on pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) to reflect my scientific background, and the pentatonic blues scale. "Acid" is a nod to the late 60s acid-rock scene with a sly allusion to lysergic acid. Naturally the music will be Hendrixesque over a solid blues foundation with trippy psychedelic lyrics and imagery ;-)

The other name is Shakyamunimaker. Again this is a pun on the title of Elmore James' blues classic "Shake your Money Maker" which was covered by Fleetwood Mac, and one of the titles of the Buddha (he was from the Shakya tribe). I envisage the music to be acoustic folk-based blues with occasional Eastern influenced passages played on a DADGAD tuned guitar a la Bert Jansch/Davey Graham.

If anybody out there nicks these names for their musical projects just remember to send some groupies my way when you hit it big, OK?

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Orchids III

Our most impressive orchid is a Butterfly orchid (Psychopsis papilio). I was smitten by the beauty and uniqueness of the species and bought one at a Swiss Orchid Society exhibition about ten years ago. The great majority of our orchids unfortunately do not survive past the third year so I was a bit undecided about purchasing one of the show plants costing several hundred francs. In the end I bought an immature specimen without a flower spike for around SFr. 40 but with careful nurturing it started flowering within a year. I can vouch for its hardiness as its survived us thus far(!), but they are also rewarding to cultivate as the spike flowers continuously (10 years now for the first spike) as well as producing additional spikes. Our plant currently has five spikes and I hope to see them all flowering simultaneously someday. Even allowing for a bit of "paternal" pride, its a magnificent specimen. It would probably be worth quite a lot to an orchid fancier but if we ever leave Switzerland I will try to donate it to the Basel Botanical Garden where it would be assured of a good home. It means a lot to us knowing that its in safe hands as this plant signifies a lot to us. My wife, S, made an incredibly beautiful painting of it (it was part of a series that she exhibited in London) that was awarded a Gold medal from the Royal Horticultural Society (wait, did I ever mention before that she is super-talented? Must have slipped my mind :-). We also have memories of our mounting excitement after the first spike sprouted, waiting for it to bloom. It somehow is bound up with the period from our early married life before our son was born, after which everything naturally changed forever.

A picture I nicked off the net (mine are all blurred) showing the butterfly-like features. From the side it resembles a large butterfly with spread wings, body and antennae. As they are perched on long, spindly spikes that sways with the slightest vibration, this really completes the illusion.

Our orchid. When the spike is camouflaged by surrounding vegetation it gives the impression of being suspended in mid-air.

Rather straggly looking but if all spikes are in bloom then this would resemble a flock of hovering butterflies.

The mimicry is more than a passing resemblance. The reproductive structures of the Psychopsis counterfeits an insect body complete with all three bodily segments and tiny knobs at the "head" to simulate mouth parts.

A closer view (also nicked off the web) of the pseudo-body. My camera sucks.

A little known fact is that the Psychopsis was responsible for launching orchidmania in Victorian times. As recounted by Eric Hansen in "Orchid Fever", the 6th Duke of Devonshire, William Cavendish (1790-1858), was so struck by a glimpse of it that he spent a large part of his fortune sponsoring orchid collectors in the tropics and constructing enormous heated greenhouses (imagine the cost of year-round heating to 30° with coal!). This made orchid growing immensely fashionable resulting in the collection and classification of many species. While undoubtedly many wild populations must have been plundered beyond recovery I think one has to take into consideration that habitat degradation would have occurred for other reasons anyway and its a small consolation that many orchid species were saved.

The mimicry is, as in the similar case of the bee orchid, related to pollinization. Using sexual deception, the bee orchid fools a bee into attempted copulation during which the pollen sacs adhere to the dupe which, upon realising its error, pulls up its pants embarrassedly, looks around to see no-one is looking and buzzes off shame-faced. Except of course that it does get fooled again (a possible reason why the mimicry has to be so convincing) thus ensuring successful cross-pollination of the orchid.

Ophrys bombyliflora

A soon to be heart-broken bee (he didn't call, he didn't write,...). Blokes who think they've had it bad being deceived by a Thai lady-boy should imagine what it must feel like to be fooled into fucking a plant.

Interestingly no-one has ever observed a Psychopsis being pollinated in a like manner in the wild, and indeed, as far as I know there aren't even any candidate Lepidopterans resembling the flower that would fit the role. As the species has a wide geographic range (from Trinidad to the northern coast of south America), it obviously gets by somehow but quite possibly the original butterfly on which the mimicry is modeled has become extinct. It seems rather poignant that so much evolution has gone into perfecting a deception that has now become obsolete.

Nonetheless one can still draw inspiration that nothing is ever futile. While the original raison d'etre for the mimicry is no longer functionally required, the beauty accrued by the form in its relentless evolutionary striving allowed it to conquer the hearts of humans, and we expend great investments of time and treasure in their care and propagation, and so long as we as a species exist, so too will they.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Instant Karma

I read on a blog that on Google instant, when "Can I get" is typed in, the user is immediately prompted with the suggestion "Can I get pregnant from a dog".

Well of course, I just HAD to try it out and actually you have to type in "Can I get p" before receiving the canine associated query (Answer: No, not unless you're a bitch). However just typing "Can I get" brings up the equally hilarious "Can I get AIDS from swimming with black people"! Just keying in "black people" prompts "black people stole my car"!

I assume that these suggestion are generated automatically based on previous search queries and logged search usage frequency. This raises the alarming point that there is a sizeable number of people out there capable of using computers who actually entertain the possibility of humans being impregnated by dogs.

All I can say is that when this breaks, I wouldn't be surprised to see groups picketing the Google HQ on the 9 o'clock news demanding mandatory sensitivity training for Google employees.

Search terms: black-toilet-amputee-handjob-porn. The limitless horizon of cyberspace!

Godfather of Rock

Link Wray must be the most unknown, influential figure in modern popular music. Although actively touring until his death in 2005, his major creative years spanned from the mid-50s to mid-60s. A fine guitarist, his output consisted mainly of twangy, reverb-heavy surf music instrumentals. His major contribution was the introduction of the power chord (without which heavy rock would not exist) and the first use of distortion and feedback in recording. Both innovations were introduced in the seminal instrumental "Rumble" in 1958.

Funnily enough the backstory on the genesis of "Rumble" is not on wikipedia or anywhere else on the web but I remember reading it in an interview in a guitar magazine about 25 years ago (where the fuck did the time go?). Since, if memory serves me well, these were Link Wray's actual words I guess we have to take them at face value as a primary source.

The story goes that while performing at a dance, there was a clash between rival gangs, (hence the title), where one of the gang members was stomped to death in front of the band. To their distress, the band was forced to keep on playing to prevent a full-scale riot from breaking out. This incident affected Wray deeply and found expression in "Rumble". Unfortunately the primitive amplification/recording techniques of the day were inadequate for him to aurally depict the menacing, brutal impressions that the incident had left on him. In frustration he stabbed the exposed speaker of his amplifier with a pencil and found to his satisfaction that the now heavily distorted sound emanating from the crippled speaker captured his feelings perfectly and thus history was created. "Rumble" was only a minor hit commercially, but as with all good music, it finds its audience and greatly influenced the coming generation of British guitarists who were to write the book on heavy metal/hard rock.

To think, but for this quirk of history, how different life as we know it would be! (No riff from "Smoke on the Water", Jimi Hendrix etc...). But this of course is just the one-dimensional view of history which implicitly assumes the primacy of an individual Great Man in shaping the course of events while playing down the role of social/cultural factors operating discreetly in the background. Given the rapid developments in electronics and amplification technology, someone else would almost certainly have hit on the power chord (which just sounds awesome when highly amplified due to the generation of pleasing harmonics and overtones) and the idea of "painting" soundscapes with distortion and feedback. Which is not to take anything away from Link Wray who realised these possibilities way before everyone else in such a serendipitous and colourful fashion.

Diehard "Pulp Fiction" fans should recognise the tune although it was left out of the soundtrack album for licensing reasons.

Link Wray (1929-2005)
Guitar innovator. He was very proud of his half-Shawnee Indian ancestry

Orchids II

It's been a bumper year for orchids. The hot, dry spell in July-Aug stimulated flowering (I suspect it was more the light intensity rather than temperature that did the trick) and we're still reaping the results. Two other orchids that were induced was the SE Asian slipper orchid (Paphiopedilum, probably a hybrid) and the clamshell orchid.


The Diocentrum flowered twice this year (only the fourth occasion in ten years).
A gorgeous flower spike in full bloom lasting for about two months

Spot the mutant six-petalled flower. It also has fused twin labella

Clamshell orchid (Encyclia cochleata)

Paradoxically, the only orchid that didn't flower was the Phalaenopsis which is reputedly the easiest to cultivate indoors.

Friday, 15 October 2010

The Real Dope

While I was being a bit facetious in the caption in my previous post, this is how a real Master realises the creative potential inherent in tessellation and division of space.

One of my personal favourites is Metamorphose II (below)

I like the way the picture evolves in incremental steps from panel to panel before returning to the beginning. Although I had been aware of both works for ages, it wasn't after a long, long time that I realised that this is a perfect visual counterpart to Bach's C Major prelude from The Well Tempered Clavier which starts off simply enough with an arpeggio based on the C-chord, evolves with a single point mutation from chord shape to chord shape before resolving back satisfactorily into C. I used to think that Douglas Hofstadter's yoking together of the troika in "Gödel, Escher and Bach" was a bit forced, but this made me change my mind somewhat.

Fart & Clit

I've decided to set up a running post on egregious examples of pointless and pretentious Art and Literature. It's kind of my own small version of Private Eye's Pseuds' Corner. Anyway I was prodded into this partly because of my earlier post, and on discovering a real-life example right under my nose. The area behind the institute where I work was the site of a disused prison which was demolished several months ago to make way for a new building to house the institute. The area has been lying idle for some months probably in anticipation for the real heavy digging next spring. Anyway, my colleagues and I were intrigued last week to see the workers constructing a steel-girder walkway cutting diagonally across the area. The installation (!, again) looked rather too flimsy to be an actual scaffold of some sort in relation to any kind of construction related activity and we were speculating that it may be a temporary pedestrian walkway in case the sidewalks were torn up or impeded to public access in the near future, or a stage for a free concert.

View from my office

However, according to a colleague, it is in fact a temporary art installation! (I haven't actually managed to come up with independent confirmation, however, I don't have any reason to doubt his veracity). Apparently there was a competition to instal (Aargh!) an artwork on the temporarily vacant lot and this was selected over the others (I'd love to see what the losing proposals must have looked like!) and cost around SFr 60,000 to erect (60,000 Francs that would have been more productively spent in filling potholes and effacing graffiti). Quite actually what this "work" signifies is unclear. From an aesthetic perspective it doesn't even begin to exist otherwise every bit of scaffolding should belong in a gallery, so it clearly must have some intent or message (contemporary artists are pretty verbose with their manifestos. Whatever happened to letting the art speak for itself?). So what exactly does it signify? The gullibility of art committees, the wastefulness of public funding, the Emperor's New Clothes?.....I confess to being totally baffled on this one.

Taken from the middle facing both ways

While we're on the theme of construction inspired art, I think the city council got off lightly. Carl Andre's pile of bricks must have probably cost the Tate a bomb.

Carl André, Equivalent VIII (don't you just love how the creative poverty is dressed up in a portentous title to acquire some gravitas)

An awe-struck group being enlightened on the creative possibilities inherent in tessellation and filling of Euclidean space

Thursday, 14 October 2010


I just found out by chance that Robert Plant will be playing a concert in Basel next Saturday. It was sold out online so I rushed down to the nearest Ticketcorner booth downtown during my lunchbreak but alas, twas not to be. I saw Page and Plant in London in 1995 but this time 'round, it looks like I won't get to hear Plant croon "Squeeze my lemon baby, 'till the juice runs down my leg".

Robert Plant, proud owner of some ripe lemons

Wednesday, 13 October 2010


This is a concept that has always intrigued me. I think it first occurred to me when I was about 14-15 and was delighted to discover later a fuller exposition in William Poundstone's excellent "Labyrinths of Reason". A concise description of qualia is basically our raw subjective experience of the external world and the impossibility of actually describing this to a second party. I especially like Daniel Dennett's delineation of properties associated with the concept:

1. ineffable; that is, they cannot be communicated, or apprehended by

any other means than direct experience.

2. intrinsic; that is, they are non-relational properties, which do not

change depending on the experience's relation to other things.

3. private; that is, all interpersonal comparisons of qualia are

systematically impossible.

4. directly or immediately apprehensible in consciousness; that is, to experience a quale is to

know one

experiences a quale,

and to know all there is to know about that quale.

A simple example is the inverted spectrum argument (this was actually the thought that struck me in my teens) that was first described by John Locke (I always have a mix of chagrin and pride when I've been anticipated, on the one hand it's a bit deflating but at the same time rather flattering to know that greater minds then yours have had the exact same ideas). This is is a thought experiment which states that, if you were to wake up one morning and all the colours in your visual spectrum were swapped, (i.e. red-to-green and vice versa, yellow-to-blue and v.v.), it would be impossible for you to objectively prove this to an outsider. Theres some quibbling that in the case of a black-to-white inversion or vice versa, this could perhaps be independently verifiable but these not being strictly colours but rather the absence/presence of light (yeah, yeah, gross simplification), its still a valid argument that there is just no way possible in which one could
convey what one experiences by the "blueness" of a blue object and whether or not to someone else that "blue" which we visualise mentally is inverted and experienced as our "red".

“Einstein: The same uncertainty will always be there about everything fundamental in our experience, in our reaction to art, whether in Europe or in Asia. Even the red flower I see before me on your table may not be the same to you and me.”
from a conversation between Einstein and Rabindranath Tagore

This leads to the inescapable conclusion that in a sense we are all prisoners inside our skulls, never to make contact with fellow captives and that in the most fundamental way conceivable, we live out our lives terrifyingly alone.

And yet, and yet....while this may be true for the bedrock experiential datum of our existence, our consciousness takes these raw inputs, these tiny incommunicable building-blocks and out of these flowers all of our art, music and poetry, giving expression to our deepest fears, hopes and dreams. While our personal notion
s of something as simple as "red" are incommensurable, here I am jumping into your head as a little voice behind these words (hi!). This I find almost miraculous, that something (everything, really in terms of human culture) should come from almost nothing.

Tagore and Einstein. Two moustaches, two Nobel prizes. Hmmm, think I'll hang up my razor for a while. (Incidentally, if you disregard the facial hair, don't they look incredibly alike?)