DUFL Doggerel

[As always, apologies in advance]

Aught for naught is dearly bought, 

What’s lost is sought but can’t be caught, 

With coins or barter, sweat or tears, 

enjoined, you can’t pay past arrears. 

No free lunch, accounts come due, 

You conscience will always haunt you.  

Sayings of the Buddha and the Gospels

So I recently started reading some of the sayings of the Buddha because, really, what else do I have to do?

I was struck by how similar his sayings are to the sayings of Jesus in the Gospels.  Take, for example, one of the most troubling parts of the New Testament for many people, Jesus’s warning that we have to hate our family (In Luke 14:25 et seq, for example).  There are all kinds of readings of this, one of the most common is that it’s a test of our faith.
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All Your Philosophical Problems are Belong to Us: Wittgenstein Shows Philosophy the Door

So, I’ve been a bit obsessed with Wittgenstein lately.  Once you understand the guy’s arguments, though, it’s pretty hard to shake them.  There are no philosophical problems, we find, only empirical, aesthetic/moral (not moral philosophy, mind you), and logical ones.

The gist of his thinking is that the meaning of most words are determined by human behavior.  Some words are not.  We are tempted into believe that words that are determined by human behavior are like those words that are not.  Take, for example, the classic “is my color red the same as your color red” problem.  He shows us that the phrase “my color red” is nonsense, as in it doesn’t mean anything, like the word shnibble.  The concept is simply not something that we can speak about, as “my experience of the color red” has no shared referant to ground the communication.  We fall victim to the illusion because the grammar of the word “red” is like the word “chair,” but, alas, common grammar means nothing for our purposes.  For more, check the Mark Alford website (a physicist whose website I have been reading compulsively in a desparate attempt to understand quantum mechanics) out or this alternately annoying and hilarious (as per the usual) David Foster Wallace essay.
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First thing I noticed was the seagulls.

Fatter, stronger, etc., than any seagull I’m used to!

You’d think they get self-conscious or cocky about it or something, but then you remember that they’re just seagulls, so they probably don’t think about these things too much.

It also rains a lot. I also noticed that. I think the seagulls notice it too since they fly around and kind of hide in window ledges looking inside with cocked heads to see what we’re up to, like “what are you doing in there?”

When the sun comes out, the sky is gold and red and rainbows from all of the rain. I also think the seagulls notice this. They start hopping around on the edges of buildings more and flying and peeking in windows less. They probably figure it’s going to rain any minute, so I had better get my hops in while I can.

Old Philosophers Would have Known Ryan Leaf was a Bust or Ryan Leaf and the Marshmallow Test

Ryan Leaf Midway Through the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment

What could be a better measure of a man’s virtue than his quarterbacking ability? A quarterback has to exercise several kinds of intelligence, lead in the face of well-trained and motivated opposition, and appease a widely varied group of people off of the field. By comparing Ryan Leaf and Peyton Manning, we see many of the ways that western philosophers have been right about the characteristics necessary to be good quarterbacks and, by extension, good humans.
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Dispatch from Yap: Nightfishing and the Rule of Threes (2)

Continued from Part 1.

My mind alternated between stoic acceptance of my (presumably inevitable) fate and disbelief. Sog was a nice enough guy, he wouldn’t avenge my disrespect by engineering my death from beyond the grave, would he? The rule of three had been satisfied, right? Well-loved dogs have to count. How did all of these deaths happen? I concentrated on the road for the rest of the drive to change the subject.

Things grew calm as I drove into Ron’s driveway, Tomil’s red clay dirt blanketing the ground. His younger brother, Sean, greeted me and offered a betel nut. I accepted and we had a chew in Ron’s outdoor living room.

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Interludes from Yap: A Dog Owner’s Dilemma


A Dog Owner’s Dilemma

My Lemon is an island mutt.

Platonic form of dog, sure, but

Accustomed to the Yap milieu,

I worry I can’t bring her to

A city in a colder clime

Where she won’t have as good a time
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