Monday, May 30, 2016

Miscellaneous Notes, Scraps, Odds & Ends -- A Baker's Dozen

I'm currently reading Frederick Forsyth's fascinating memoir The Outsider: My Life In Intrigue. Forsyth is yet another Brit writer who used his literary cred as a cover for secret service work. The success of his first novel Day of the Jackal provided him the means to follow his passion and make a living as a writer.

To fellow writers I recommend at least his intro to the book in which he talks about the writing life, and how the character of a writer is formed. At least in his case.

The following is an anecdote that caught my attention, the story of a plane lost in a dense fog. The pilot and co-pilot were being guided in by the control tower because they had zero visibility. They believed they were fling at 12,000 feet and gave this information to the tower. They had misread their altimeter and were actually flying at an altitude of 2,000 feet. This proved a fatal mistake because there was a 3,000 foot peak between them and the airstrip. The lesson here is that when we misread a signal there can be unexpected consequences.

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Yesterday Duluth Dylan Fest finished with a brunch at Zeitgeist in which friends old and new were able to say farewell for another year and let the dust from this whirlwind week begin to settle. I doubt anyone got a suitable amount of sleep the past few days, but no one seemed to mind. My first serious jobs afterwards including getting the lawn mowed and pilfering notes from the scraps of paper on my desk, integrating "to do" lists and sorting. Saturday night's concert featured songs from the Basement Tapes which included a rousing rendition of Odds & Ends by one set of performers.

SO, without further ado, here are some odds and ends from my now discarded notes.

1) Natural Reader... software that reads the written text of a website or your own files.

2) Why do we always measure things?

3) Miscellaneous topics that noodle the mind.

How can we tell whether our feelings are real or just a result of the way we've been programmed by DNA and our socializing experiences while growing up?

4) The Problem of Image Management

5) Metaphor of the Blacksmith Forge
First the piece of steel is placed in the fire until malleable enough to be shaped, then it is removed from the fire and hammered, then placed back into the fire till malleable, and then hammered again. This is the process of creating something useful out of the original block of steel.

It could also be used as a metaphor for life: Either you're going back into the fire or being hammered. It takes a lot of time to make us truly useful.

[This latter observation took place at the Armory Annex, where the Dylan Postal Stamp Cancellation took place. Dawn Hulmer, an official from the U.S. Postal Service, came to the Armory Annex to stamp stamps with the official dedicated stamp. I learned that the John Beargrease sled dog races do this every year as a fund raiser. The stamp is valid for cancellations for the next six months.]

6)  Fierce Pajamas

7) Social Intelligence

8) Dialogue for future story:
"Is that a word?"
"I wouldn't have made it up if it wasn't."

(Deadline: June 4)

10) Infographic -- Five Dylan Facts

11) Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize-winning economist, observed a phenomenon he called "the illusion of validity." People have a tendency "to view their own beliefs as reality."

We observe phenomenon selectively. We live in an uncertain world and to fail to have all the facts, yet make illusory correlations.

12) "What the righteous desire will be granted."

13) Four Fish Four Seasons -- Lac Courte Oreilles Elder

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It's been a crazy busy week for some folk. Slow down if you can and catch your breath.

Meantime, life goes on all around you. 

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