Blood Meridian, Chapter Twelve, Part I: “[F]or what could be said to occur unobserved?”

night desert moonThis chapter begins with the band of scalp-hunters traveling stealthily, only by night, and going to great lengths to cover any tracks (using clay to cover any indication of nail marks in their horses’ hooves, “bur[ying] their stool like cats,” even spitting their tobacco into pouches).  It is unclear whether this is purely done because they do not want their quarry (here, the Gileños) to know they are coming, or because they fear someone (something?) tracking them.  It almost seems like the behavior of the hunted, more than the hunters.  Everyone seems to be haunted in this country. Continue reading

Consider the Lobster- Book Review

Speaking of exceptional essay collections, I found myself in desperate need of a good book recommendation here lately and, as I will often do, I turned to Dunce One.  I have never been so satisfactorily recommended (probably having a great deal to do with the fact that he has impeccable taste in literature and knows me better than (just about) anyone else; probably also not hurting that he is remarkably well-read and deals extensively with books, both professionally and recreationally). Continue reading

Define “dunce”

How do you spell "nihil"?

The second most frequent question we get here at the dunce academy is “how can you become smart if you are dunce?” (for some reason, the first most frequent questions we get are about how to become a csi agent; I don’t know why people keep coming here for those questions; we dunces are nerds, certainly, but not science nerds, and I think that is the number one prerequisite). Continue reading

Mysterious Cicero Dialogue

(In looking through some boxes in my basement, I came across the following, written out in longhand.  While its origins are not clear,  it is abundantly clear that I was both having fun and taking myself very seriously when I wrote this.  Also, it’s pretty freaking awesome.  Enjoy!) Continue reading

Define connotations

What is connotation?  Everyone probably has a pretty good working understanding, but let’s look a little bit deeper, just for fun.

The New Oxford American Dictionary (“NOAD”) defines “connotation” as a noun, meaning “an idea or feeling that a word invokes in addition to its literal meaning.” Continue reading

The Myth of Choice: Book Review

We all believe we have the freedom to make choices.  Our diplomatic and legal systems are founded on that presumption; whole systems of religion and philosophy rely on the concept.  But what if our ability to choose is not completely within our control?  What if there are no real choices?  What if we aren’t as free as we think we are?  These are some of the questions contemplated by Kent Greenfield’s The Myth of Choice. Continue reading

On Love: Book Review

I am in love with On Love by Alain de Botton.  This is de Botton’s first novel, and it may be my new favorite (I make no secret of the fact that I love everything that he writes.  Every time I read one of his books, in fact, it becomes my new favorite.  I don’t know if that is because I am serendipitously reading his books in order of increasing greatness, or I love all his books equally, and my love for the most recently completed book simply has the most pressing position in my consciousness). Continue reading

-The Consolations of Philosophy- by: Alain de Botton

The Consolations of Philosophy was, for me, a fascinating re-introduction to everything I love about philosophy.  In the book, Alain de Botton summarizes the ideologies of 6 great philosophers (Socrates, Epicurus, Seneca, Montaigne, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche) as they apply to modern-day issues: love, popularity, shyness, wealth, and so on.

But it’s much more exciting than that inadequate description makes it sound. Continue reading