17 July 2013: Here comes the congee waggon

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20 minute workout at dawn again (this is getting boring as it should). 200 steps again followed by 75 cycling and pushing moves with weights. Will probably once again do the physio this afternoon consisting of 20 minutes rackety row.

YAPCAB, here comes the congee waggon any minute now will delay posting until we know what it is. OK, it is the best quality white congee with huge grains: I get two bowls and an egg.

Cancer Diets and Reducing Stress, a Personal Take

I can’t be Holy Joe as regards staying away from all cancer-causing and cancer-extending habits and food, but I can listen to Tamara Norris, Zawar Qayyum and Dr Susan Jamieson concerning the acidic alkaline theory and many other useful tips.

Being unconventional and creating art is anti-cancer but so is return to the formal practice of the religion of your childhood, in my experience, without feeling obliged to accept all its beliefs, especially its intolerant beliefs. For behold, I thought as a child…


But I also need to redraw a line concerning chocolate. Note how in the very word there’s a suggestion (late as French “lait”) of additives including milk and sugar to hide the truth of a fearsome xocolatl, a South American word ending not in “lait” but “latl”, and meaning, perhaps, a tree with its seeds outside, deliberately bitter to discourage predators. Like a proud woman she gives of her sweetness only to a man who’s worthy of it. She’s not for sweetening by Cadbury or Hershey.

After my first day off the xocolatl I feel much better as the cancer-worsening sugar in the Snickers and M and Ms washes out. The Snickers and M and Ms were delicious, especially after ten years in which I didn’t eat them, but they soon led to a blessed satiety which made it easy, at least for a day, to stop choco-latl.

Snarf Kamunkle, or, The Great American Disaster

For Americans, the last fifty-odd years have been an experiment, the Great Munch, to see how much of the world’s resources we could snarf…even I who was a great Snarfer in my own right was astonished at the later Snarfing especially circa 2003, when I was struggling to survive and create a business based on my compiler technology. Nobody was interested in the rules, business or otherwise, in Orange County by that time. All that mattered was that every last white person get a house…of course it’s a lie that limited Federal programs for minority lending had much of an impact.

Guy even called me up in 2002, wanted to lend me 50K. Unsecured. Must have been crazy. In that same year was lent 10K for a windows certification class which I hated since I didn’t want to go from software developer to support monkey just because Illinois’ department of employment security thought it was a good idea. Repaid this loan in 2006 primarily because I was so impressed at the diligence of the collections firm in tracking me down in China. And, because I hired the money and I repay debts whenever I can.

The Great American Disaster of affluence commenced in the 1940s. My history mate is reading John Keegan’s World War II which looks quite good. Keegan presents numbers to show that in the 1930s, despite the Depression, the USA had significant underlying economic strengths relative to the rest of the world. New York City was the biggest city in the world and at eight million it was arguably more populated (as several boroughs) than today’s Hong Kong.

Detroit, River Rouge, Akron and Cleveland were even in the Depression bustling and wealthier than today which is why Ohio was hard to call in the 2012 election; the great grandsons of people with homes in Lakewood,Rocky River or Shaker Heights now live impoverished as nerds or hospital clerks in Cleveland; the late Harvey Pekar, who chronicled post affluence Cleveland in the 1980s in American Splendor comics, knew this.

Railways connected everything, my Dad and I took a night train from Chicago to Akron for his brother’s wedding. Cleveland was served by three major passenger railways, the New York Central, a branch of the Pennsylvania and its own “Nickel Plate Road”.

Even in the depression, people trucking around buying donuts, using telephone booths as home offices to start small businesses (see AJ Leibling’s portrayal of “The Telephone Booth Indian”), my grandfather and his sons building homes constituted wealth creation. But the wealth was relatively frozen once it became the profits and other incomes of the elite who wouldn’t invest until forced to invest by World War II and then, following the war, by eight more years of Democrats in the White House.

For many Americans, New York City of the 1930s was as portrayed in both the old and new King Kong movies, a fearsome place of no work. But for foreigners living in London with bad food and no heat, who knew of New York or who like Adorno and Huxley came there as refugees during the 1930s, America was a paradise of hot baths, big cars, and even sandwiches in the Automat, which impressed Mom no end when she escaped rural Massachusetts and her own actual Hunger Games.

Keegan demonstrates that the USA had megatons of spare capacity which Britain, the Soviet Union, and the Axis countries didn’t have. Hitler had the oilfields of Romania which ran out during the war and which were gleefully bombed, over and over again, by the Allies. The Soviets had Baku, sort of. Britain had India, again, sort of, with Mr. Gandhi, the Bengal famine and the postwar Hindu-Muslim rioting making Britain’s Raj a net loss by 1948. Japan only had a population so deluded by the post-Meiji culture war that it was ready for national suicide.

The end of World War II unleashed the United States’ spare capacity and the result has lasted fifty years, fueling essentially a boom economy world wide. This created my childhood perception that my Dad was filthy rich but the Depression created his perception that the wolf was at the door, leading to a permanent block to communication with him.

By 2003 the economy as a whole was running on “fumes” but of course, you can run on fumes…quite well, for a while. I was naively astonished for at that time I was struggling to pay my rent at the YMCA from book advances and consulting. But I did participate food-wise in the Great Snarf, at Bennison’s and Gigio’s.

Bennison’s Bakery had long johns (oblong donuts of topological order 0, that is, das ist, with no hole) of which I would Snarf two with a black coffee when I could afford this Breakfast of Champions circa 2003 during what was for white married people a prosperous time as their homes increased in value, but for me a continual hustle.

“Long Johns” at Bennison’s Bakery take me back to 1962, innocently eating, Snarfing, two of these “long johns” same as forty years later for the great Snarf was already well under way. In ’62, I’d get my long johns at an upscale grocery store, Smithfield’s, and before Snarfing them, I’d go to early morning Mass and Communion before which one wasn’t supposed eat: walking past, in the freezing winter of 1962, a lurid billboard advertising a movie named “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”.

This was in January of that year in subzero weather but later on in a bust-out glorious spring.

After I’d attended, or as an altar boy served, the 6:30 AM mass I would go to the (warm) cafeteria of my school to drink hot tea and snarf the still warm and delicious buns while reading Shakespeare. After school (which was much better than the school I’d had to attend in Indiana being desegregated even then) I would go to Evanston’s library with its large collection of Shakespeare plays and criticism.

But back, again, to 2003 and Gigio’s, which I discovered in the 1990s, and their mega-snarf which for me was their Italian beef with peppers and cheese and a side of fries. When I returned to Evanston last year, I went back to Gigio’s once but was too demoralized to enjoy it much.

The American mega-snarf has become a world snarf but less mega overall. The potato, like chocolate also from South America, was in 1962 consumed mostly baked and mashed. We kids would clamor for Mom to make French Fries: she had a deep frier: but Mom was concerned about the health issue, being smarter than many mothers and a trained nurse.

My gosh, there are probably kids today that never had mashed potatoes, a staple of the 1950s. Great horned Toad, us kids would make a little “swimming pool” as we called it, in the mound of mashed potatoes and put the Sunday or holiday gravy into the pool.

Today most potatoes are grown to be French Fries. My own kids loved them and as their indulgent father I would always give in to demands for fries. Actually, you cover French fries with gravy they are a meal (for a slob, my own father would say).

Dad always hated street eating, stand-up and more globally, any zombie-like eating in inappropriate places.

In his novel, a young man uncaringly eats from a bag of fries: my father made this part of a picture of madness and isolation as if his doctor-hero lived in a zombie apocalypse, well before today’s popularity of zombie and vampire themes.

Street eating is proletarian, democratic, but for Dad, eating was integrated with the bourgeois idea and fact of being served by another. He didn’t want to go to a “self-service” restaurant, he preferred Italian places like Armando’s near Boul Mich where the headwaiter knew him and you’d order from a proper menu, have a drink, and wait for the meal. For me, the comedy of last summer’s “Chick Fil-a” controversy in which the owners claimed the right to religiously discriminate was obscured by the tragedy that fast food restaurants, with people dully eating with their fingers and staring into space, with the heaviness of the food causing their zombified silence, should so take over, and so infantilize, a public/private space, a space that for me defined what it meant to be a grown up, with bars, smoke shops and bookstores, not fast food places, toy stores and malls. Culminating in Playboy and the Oak Street Beach, upper Boul Mich was my Great Good Place until the mid-1990s, where I first trained myself to run miles.

Taken over last summer by infantilized rubes eating at Chick Fil-A to demonstrate hatred for Obama.

To eat as a grownup, to Dad, you sit down in the hospital cafeteria, you don’t bring pizza into the ER or operating theater.

Food Service at Queen Mary and Grantham

Queen Mary has what appears, and smells, to be a great cafeteria with good Asian dishes but I’ve yet to have a chance to try it. Most other food facilities in Hospital Authority facilities are operated by for-profit third parties, it being Hong Kong’s custom to provide opportunities for private companies to make money in public spaces.

The employee “cafeteria” at Grantham is operated by the Cafe de Coral chain but it’s not as nice as a “real” Cafe de Coral, where CDC is a chain of Asian food restaurants. The Grantham Café de Coral cafeteria is in an old 1950s building and it’s dark and dreary.

At Queen Mary itself most patients, visitors and some staff gravitate towards an absurdly small but somehow not overburdened “Deli France” as I did when first diagnosed with cancer, to listen to their Edith Piaf tape loop: non je ne regrette rien. It’s in the direct path of Crazy Minibus Fumes but somehow like most absurd things in Hong Kong, it works, For example: you always will get a table despite the size of the Deli France, and, the coffee is great, almost (but of course not quite) as good as it is in Paris.

Well, God bless our parents who provided this bounty “through Christ our Lord, Amen” and staved off Jose-Maria Ibanez’ Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as my former wife and I tried, invisibly, to do so whilst putting our love and pain into deep storage.

Kant Study

Finished my forced march re-read of Guyer’s essay on the Metaphysical and the Transcendental deduction of the categories.

I feel Kant should have generalized a bit more. Not “the” categories, just “categories” or, even more generally, “some categories”.

Do this on the model of non-determinism in automata theory and math: the NDFA (non-deterministic Finite Automaton) only at the last minute decides which state to enter (out of a selection of possible states for previous state and current symbol) and which of a set of symbols to print.

I still need to theoretically unify the Turing Machine but as generalized by me to non-denumerable as well as non-deterministic “ultra” or “strange” TMs, with my picture of what I think Kant was trying to do. Kant lived well before the 20th century discovery that non-determinism and fuzziness could be useful in their own right, but Kant’s preference, natural on the face of it, for precision produced its opposite for within the Critique as elsewhere,

Words strain,
Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,
Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,
Will not stay still.

T. S. Eliot, Burnt Norton

Precision becomes missing the target by a precise number of miles, or like those two airplanes that, according to William Langieweische, the aviation writer, crashed precisely into each other over Brazil owing to a software and data error creating precisely the wrong assignment of air-space.

Whereas imprecision, “fault tolerance” in philosophy allows us to get started…to avoid that feeling of many philosophy tyros that philosophy never got started at all.

For Kant, drawing the line is knowing the line, an admirable view. One never learns Euclid without making geometrical constructions, drawing the line. By the same token, visual models of what we think Kant was thinking, like our manifold of the Evil clown, allow us to evolve quickly when we see, as Strawson and philosophers may have never seen, that intuition involves far more than apperception. We actively participate in perception far more than just saying to ourselves “I am having a perception”. Having struggled several times through Guyer’s essay for the Cambridge Companion and through the Metaphysical and Transcendental deductions in the Critique we at least know that there’s far more going on in intuition.

Again parenthetically, I’ll give that Henrich essay I copy and pasted from JSTOR not a seven times reread but a one time shot because in terms of Kant studies, 1969 was too early.

Kant probably struggled with his own thoughts in the same way we struggle with them, because those thoughts weren’t “his” insofar as they are worthwhile. So let’s take the activity involved in a complete “perception” as opposed to a raw “sensation” further, and say that the tourist gazing upon a sea-scape, and the painter, painting the sea-scape, are both engaged in perception, only the painter’s has to be that much more active because he’s recording his perception. More of the painter’s perception can be put by him into words but not all.

Another consideration might have occured to Adorno, and in his lectures on the Critique he hints at it: Kant may be excessively concerned with an active perception that actively discovers all sorts of things in a sensory field (what is the sensory field of pain, Professor? Let me get back to you on that!) but doesn’t change anything, a characteristic of German philosophy before 1848. Recall Marx’s famous aphorism in response to post-Hegelian, post-Kantian dreams of change in German statelets: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it”.

Which is why I need to analyze thru an essay the relationship if any between Kant’s model(s) and Turing Machines, for Turing Machines can alter their world (the TM tape). The TM tape suitably generalized (Hopcroft and Ullman 1972 showed how flexible the Turing Machine, and other automata, can be) can constitute a one dimensional, two dimensional or n-dimensional world.


Hopcroft/Ullman 1972. Jeffrey Hopcroft and Jeffrey Ullman 1972, “Programming Languages and their Relation to Automata” Addison-Wesley.


One Response to “17 July 2013: Here comes the congee waggon”

  1. Many thanks for the update and shout out.

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