Monday, August 28, 2023

tenpo suno pona

See, I don’t pay attention and that’s why I’m just getting around to learning about Toki Pona. That’s a new language invented in 2001 by a Canadian linguist named Sonja Land. At first there were 120 words but in the intervening 22 years that has swollen to 137, which is still pretty manageable as long as they don’t allow it to become the insidious harbinger of a looming tsunami of lexical bloat. And there you see why a language of 137 words is obviously not for me. I’d be repeating myself before I’d even finished my first cup of coffee.

Monday, August 21, 2023

NYU surgeons say what?

When one reads a headline that says “Pig kidney transplant in brain-dead man marks advance, NYU surgeons say,” one must ask oneself, “Advance over what?” Call me overcautious; I’m not at all sure a world that includes pig kidney transplant in brain-dead man is in any sense an advance over one that does not include pig kidney transplant in brain-dead man. I’m sure I speak not only for myself but for a sizable contingent of my fellow citizens when I say that in contemplating the advances we hope for, pig kidney transplant in brain-dead man is not top of mind.

Monday, August 14, 2023

Librorum Prohibitorum

I just read a book about books, and one thing I found out is that in the 16th century, when the Vatican banned certain passages in let’s say a text by Copernicus, some people would draw a line through those parts lightly so that they could still be easily read. That way, you could see what it was that was being forbidden. So maybe libraries should add stickers that identify a book as one somebody wants removed, explaining who they are and their reasons. That seems fair. That’s the difference between a war of ideas and a war on ideas.

Monday, August 7, 2023

Chalk one up for justice

Everybody likes art, I guess, but the world of Fine Art is alien territory for many of us. Inexplicable. For instance, Irv Novick draws a comic book story for whatever the measly page rate was in the ‘50s and then Roy Lichtenstein blows it up big and he’s the celebrated Pop Artist. That’s like taking credit for playing somebody else’s record back but much louder, which I guess is the art of the DJ, also inexplicable to me. I like scenes rendered directly from life. Lately, I’ve been enjoying the work of a few of America’s most talented courtroom sketch artists.