Saturday, December 26, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 257

Strategic Bursts Of Information

My idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.
Jane Austen


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 256

Courageous Learning

Wisdom is like gossip. Except it's the good kind.
Vera Nazarian, 
The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 255

Provocation Rations

Redemption will not be possible until today's heresies coalesce into a new mythos.
John Dunn

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 254

Talking Cure

Collage is the twentieth century's greatest innovation.
Robert Motherwell

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 252

Talk Chops

Popular culture isn't a freeze-frame; it is images zapping by in rapid-fire succession, which is why collage is such an effective way of representing contemporary life. The blur between images creates a kind of motion in the mind.
James Rosenquis

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 251

Disruptive Intelligence

For myself, the only way I know how to make a book is to construct it like a collage: a bit of dialogue here, a scrap of narrative, an isolated description of a common object, an elaborate running metaphor which threads between the sequences and holds different narrative lines together.
Hilary Mantel

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 250

Fishin' In The (Human) Condition

My God! The English language is a form of communication! Conversation isn't just crossfire where you shoot and get shot at! Where you've got to duck for your life and aim to kill! Words aren't only bombs and bullets —no, they're little gifts, containing meanings!
Philip Roth


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 249

Talkstream Takeaways

A written word is the choicest of relics. It is something at once more intimate with us and more universal than any other work of art. It is the work of art nearest to life itself. It may be translated into every language, and not only be read but actually breathed from all human lips; -- not be represented on canvas or in marble only, but be carved out of the breath of life itself.
Henry David Thoreau,

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 248

Defenestrating the Overton Window

For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk and we learned to listen. Speech has allowed the communication of ideas, enabling human beings to work together to build the impossible. Mankind's greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking. It doesn't have to be like this. Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future. With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.
Stephen Hawking

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 247

Field Notes of a Tenured Autodidact

Do I dare set forth here the most important, the most useful rule of all education? It is not to save time, but to squander it.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The salvation of the world lies in the
Martin Luther King, Jr.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 246

Memes in Themes

Drunk on the chill whiskey of words.
Robert Allen
Magellan's Clouds

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 245

THIS and THAT and THE OTHER thing

Jewish mystics used to believe that the world presents innumerable smashed pieces of vessels with divine light clinging to them. It is each individual's responsibility to rescue the captive sparks.
Bonnie Friedman,
Surrendering Oz

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 244

Orchestrated Polyphrenia

Jack is an archetypal Cornish and English hero and stock character appearing in legends, fairy tales, and nursery rhymes, generally portrayed as a young adult. Unlike moralizing fairy heroes, Jack is often portrayed as lazy or foolish, but through the use of cleverness and tricks he usually emerges triumphant. In this way, he may resemble a trickster.

Some of the most famous include "Jack and the Beanstalk", "Jack Frost", "Jack the Giant Killer", "Little Jack Horner" and "This Is the House That Jack Built". While these heroes are not necessarily congruous, their concepts are related and in some instances interchangeable. The notion of "Jack" is closely related and sometimes identical to the English hero John. He also corresponds with the German Hans (or Hänsel) and the Russian Iván.

Another definition of “magic tales” is a type of folktale characterized by its performance aspect. Classically these tales are always told orally, not read from written texts although written forms are part of their history. It is the core of the story that remains the same while the details change based on the time period, the local culture the teller and the audience (Mellor). In his introduction to Jack the Giant Killer, Charles de Lint describes folklore as “a great cauldron of soup into which each generation throws new bits of fancy and history, new imaginings, new ideas, to simmer along with the old. The story-teller is the cook who serves up the common ingredients in his or her own individual way, to suit the tastes of a new audience.”
The Folklore Tradition of Jack Tales

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 243

Small Steps Toward Giant Leaps

I got this image of myself as a flock of sparrows, alighting on the pavement, as though they were cast there like two handfuls of dice, landing in some truly ordered randomness and then hopping their hollow-boned selves from morsel to morsel, pecking at crumbs, coins, cigarette butts, the dried poo of other fowl, their multiple hungers combining to form a single feasting beast.
Daniel Scot Tysdal
Year Zero
The Best Canadian Essays 2014

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 242

Mots, Bon And Otherwise

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Trying improbable and unprecedented
combinations is your specialty right now. You're willing and able to gamble
with blends and juxtapositions that no one else would think of, let alone
propose. Bonus: Extra courage is available for you to call on as you
proceed. In light of this gift, I suggest you brainstorm about all the
unifications that might be possible for you to pull off. What conflicts
would you love to defuse? What inequality or lopsidedness do you want
to fix? Is there a misunderstanding you can heal or a disjunction you can
Rob Brezsny's Astrology Newsletter
September 9, 2015

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 241

(Re)Mixed Messages

And beyond even that - the eerie experience of finally finding in myriad ragtag phenomena an underlying psychic connection, as if I've at last flipped over the fabric that made them appear separate, and discovered long strands of embroidery thread linking one design with the next.
Bonnie Friedman,
Surrendering Oz


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 240

Soundbite Diner

Without this playing with fantasy no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of the imagination is incalculable.
C. G. Jung

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 239

Pieces De Resistance

All this worldly wisdom was once the unamiable heresy of some wise man.
Henry David Thoreau

or woman....

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 238

Logos Lego

Borges… like Joyce…used universal culture as an instrument of play.
Umberto Eco
Borges And My Anxiety Of Influence

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 237

Aporetic Tikkun Olam

It is the lucid vertigo of a language that is trying to redefine the world while it redefines itself in the full knowledge that, in an age that is still uncertain, the key to the revelation of the world can be found not in the straight line but only in the labyrinth.
Umberto Eco
A Portrait Of The Artist As Bachelor


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 236

Thought Pivots

A mammal swells and circles and lays him down. You and I have finished swelling; our circling periods are playing out, but we can still leave footprints in a trail whose end we do not know.

Buddhism notes that it is always a mistake to think your soul can go it alone.
Annie Dillard
For The Time Being

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 235

Clips Up For Grabs

There’s something in me that just wants to create dialogue.  
          David Mamet

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 234

Bonbons For Radical Imaginations

The Divine Will in Poetry is Creative, and its inspiration is never single-minded or strait, but creates a field of meanings.
Robert Duncan
The Truth And Life Of Myth

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 233

Reframe By Frame

Choosing one's own curriculum in the jungle of the mass media can constitute an instance of constructing one's own "humanitas." What I mean is that Woody Allen has something to do with "paideia," while John Travolta does not: but we must not be so dogmatic. If I think about my own growth in "humanitas," I would have to put on the list of my Spiritual Sources The Imitation Of Christ, No No Nanette, Dostoyevsky, and Donald Duck.
Umberto Eco
The American Myth In Three Anti-American Generations

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 232

Pieces Of Saying, Playing

Certainly playing creatively with hypertexts - changing old stories and helping create new ones - can be an enthralling activity, a fine exercise to be practiced at school, a new form of writing, very much akin to the jam session. I believe it can be good and even educational to try to modify stories that already exist… This is essentially what great artists have always done.
Umberto Eco
On Some Functions Of Literature

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 231

Plural Mural

Democracy was the politics of the ensemble, as Hegel's was the philosophy of the ensemble, and Whitman saw his Leaves Of Grass as belonging to the poetics of the ensemblist. The word "ensemblist" he italicizes.
Robert Duncan,
Changing Perspectives In Reading Whitman

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 230

Outré Train

The artist who could disentangle the subtle soul of the image from its mesh of defining circumstances most exactly and 're-embody' it in artistic circumstances chosen as the most exact for it in its new office, he [sic] was the supreme artist.
James Joyce,
Stephen Hero

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 229


…not an 'interview' or a 'conversation' -although it has elements of both. It grows in many directions, without an overall ordering principle. To use Deleuze's terms it is the book as war-machine, the book as 'rhizome'. There is no hierarchy of root, trunk and branch, but a multiplicity of interconnected shoots going off in all directions. It is therefore both an explanation and an exemplification of 'Deleuzian pluralism'.
Hugh Tomlinson
Barbara Habberjam
Translator's Introduction
Deleuze, Dialogues II

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 228

A Thing Or Two Besides

Our time is a routine twist of an improbable yarn.
Annie Dillard
For The Time Being

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 227

Advance The Conversation

You know how men [sic] have always hankered after unlawful magic, and you know what a great part in magic words have always played. If you have his name, or the formula of incantation that binds him, you can control the spirit, genie, afrite, or whatever the power may be. Solomon knew the names of all the spirits, and having their names, he held them subject to his will.
William James

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 226

Deep Chitchat

The mainstream is a sideshow. Boredom on steroids.

Having words for these forms makes the differences between them so much more obvious. With words at your disposal, you can see more clearly. Finding the words is another step in learning to see.
Robin Wall Kimmerer
thanks to Maria Popova

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 225

Off To The Side

Of all the many subdivisions of comedy, he [Stephen Leacock] excelled at the one we call nonsense, although it often seems to pierce through appearances to a finer sort of sense to any we know in the world of everyday. Consider the quotation from Gertrude the Governess, which is the only piece of Leacock to get into both Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, and the Oxford Dictionary Of Quotations:

"Lord Ronald flung himself from the room, flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions."
Robertson Davies
The Funny Professor

Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking.
John Maynard Keynes

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 224

Edge Effects

I like "multi-"...multiplicity, multicultural, multiplication etc. Any contribution to diversification and value augmentation is achievement.
Rossana Condoleo

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 223

And And And

What sets worlds in motion is the interplay of differences, their attractions and repulsions. Life is plurality, death is uniformity. By suppressing differences and peculiarities, by eliminating different civilizations and cultures, progress weakens life and favors death. The ideal of a single civilization for everyone, implicit in the cult of progress and technique, impoverishes and mutilates us.
Octavio Paz

David Francey, Torn Screen Door

The Bills, Nowhere To Be & All Day To Get There 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 222

As We Speak

This is the time for every artist in every genre to do what he or she does loudly and consistently. It doesn't matter to me what your position is. You've got to keep asserting the complexity and the originality of life, and the multiplicity of it, and the facets of it. This is about being a complex human being in the world, not about finding a villain. This is no time for anything else than the best that you've got.
Toni Morrison

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 221

Brief Windows

Let me pry loose old walls.
Let me lift and loosen old foundations.
Carl Sandburg
Prayers of Steel

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 220

Interconnecting ... Dots

The relations ... constitute the essence.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 219

Interesting Times

Perception is to a much greater extent than previously imagined, a function of the linguistic categories available to the perceiver. As we said, reality is a perception located somewhere behind the eyes-- but, "behind the eyes" there is a language process . We know that Nature never repeats or standardizes - we do it. And how we do it depends on the categories and classifications of our language system. It is only a slight exaggeration to say we see with our language.
Postman & Weingartner
Teaching As A Subversive Activity

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 218

Unorthodox Talks

In the language is life.
Hawaiian Proverb

Little by little, one travels far.
J. R. R. Tolkien

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 217


Pasternak is, indeed, the heroic prototype of the literary genius, incapable of conformity, fearless, identifying himself with humanity and not with a country, a political party, or a doctrine. Genius always possesses this indefinite concreteness, this passionate particularity, this piecemeal integrity.
Herbert Read

David Wilcox, Bad Apple

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 216


Many fecund ecosystems are strung along edges like coastlines and forest margins. I fished for these varietous utterances along spoken ecosystems (audio, radio [appealing to the inner rather than the outer eyes] is already "marginal"), but I didn't run a steel hook through the walls of their mouths and out their gills while they goggled in horror, and I didn't club them writhing to stillness.  I re-schooled them, that's all, and it turns out they love to meet and mix with other fish, different fish, and your mind is the speilraum (playroom) play-lake of their mating while they appear to lie discrete, neither touching each other across the purity of the gaps, nor smeared over with any marmalade of music to suggest continuity or coolness. Once they parade past you, this school! Of thoughtfish, they are returned to the grand aquarium excited about other remixes, other relationships, other orgies, other play in the playroom of their sea, other channels, other canals. Your takeaway is both the spirits and souls of the thoughtfish themselves, and whatever offspring is born from their mating, or to use a fancier term, juxtapositions, or, to branch a neologism, juxtaprocesses, in your personal playroom (imagination).
Jack Saturday

…it's a need for less abrasive encounters, a little more space between the wheel and the axle. When the wheel and the axle get too close together, they lose THAT playfulness.  There’s no play left. So they have to have a bit of distancing from each other.
Marshall McLuhan,
Contemplating Me

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 215

Don't You Think We Should Talk This Thing Over?

So the universe has always appeared to the natural mind as a kind of enigma, of which the key must be sought in the shape of some illuminating or power-bringing word or name. That word names the universe's principle and to possess it is after a fashion to possess the universe itself. "God," "Matter," "Reason," "the Absolute," "Energy," are so many solving names. You can rest when you have them. You are at the end of your metaphysical quest. But if you follow the pragmatic method, you cannot look on any such word as closing your quest. You must bring out of each word its practical cash-value, set it at work within the stream of your experience. It appears less as a solution, then, than as a program for more work, and more particularly as an indication of the ways in which existing realities may be changed.

Theories thus become instruments, not answers to enigmas, in which we can rest.
William James

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 214

Relevant Irreverence

The word "and" trails along after every sentence. Something always escapes.
William James

i speak without reservation from what i know and who i am. i do so with the understanding that all people should have the right to offer their voice to the chorus whether the result is harmony or dissonance, the worldsong is a colorless dirge without the differences that distinguish us, and it is that difference which should be celebrated not condemned.
Ani Difranco  

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 213

I Hear Voices

It is a feature of twenty first century modernity that the tenets around which society is built and organized exist unchallenged. When there is only one cultural perspective and no alternative story, where is the judgment about the worth of the existing regime meant to come from? The left-right political dichotomy serves liberalism by not challenging it. Democracy sustains the status quo by offering the illusion of choice with no choice. Genuine opposition can only emerge if there is an alternative story with which to counter the current mythos. And how that mythos is maintained! By the great world enterprise, with its digital mountain of media propaganda, Hollywood-fashioned histories, global corporate HR masquerading as an education system and pseudo-religious convictions riddled with liberal ethics. Against this multi-billion dollar programme of maintenance, a few mere words could hardly be said to endanger the global regime. Yet John Dunn contends that the weakness of liberalism lies in the shallowness of its roots. The belief in its apparent virtues can only be sustained by lies, and even these cannot disguise liberalism's materialistic origins and sustaining raison d'être. Those who live under its all-seeing eye are left either consciously bereft of meaning or deluded into laughing despair. The world state cannot be opposed from outside. There is no longer any outside. Yet the opposition that must come from within is fragmented. Redemption will not be possible until today's heresies coalesce into a new mythos. Enough of scholarship therefore, original work is needed to expose the essential wheel in the working of things, the eternal struggle between good and evil. Only then will moral choice be clear and a meaningful political dichotomy emerge, with sufficient distance to make liberalism the other.
blurb about
Traditionalism: the Only Radicalism, by John Dunn

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 212

No Ladder, Sideways Moves

"Everyone carries with them at least one piece to someone else's puzzle."
Lawrence Kushner 
Honey from the Rock
thanks to Rob Brezsny

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 211

Folks, This Ain't Normal

It should be noted that the seeds of wisdom that are to bear fruit in the intellect are sown less by critical studies and learned monographs than by insights, broad impressions, and flashes of intuition.
Carl von Clausewitz

Without an element of the obscene there can be no true and deep aesthetic or moral conception of life... It is only the great men [sic] who are truly obscene.  If they had not dared to be obscene they could never have dared to be great.
Havelock Ellis

Allen Bell

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 210

Sideways To The News

Every construction we make of the world is, or should be, hypothetical. It is a story we tell ourselves. Being hypothetical, it is also at best falsifiable. We believe we understand someone; we find we've been wrong when we hurt them or they hurt us. We think we know how we are perceived and valued, and learn that those around us have quite another view of us, far better or far worse. I might suggest that we are sane in the degree that out our internal narrative retains the character of hypothesis, permitting editing, necessary adjustment, the assimilation of new understanding. Fictional narratives consistently employ surprise, reversal, irony, hidden identity. The wandering Ulysses is continually confronted with prodigies that alter the effective terms of survival. Only his shrewdness, his ability to respond to urgencies that constantly change, allows him to return alive to Ithaca. Disrupted hypothesis is structured into fiction of all kinds, from Don Quixote to "Casey at the Bat."
On "Beauty"
By Marilynne Robinson
From Tin House
Pushcart Prize XXXVII
Best Of The Small Presses

Trigger warning:

Roy Rogers's horse might not like some parts of this podcast.

Also, this podcast occasionally lapses into blasphemy

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 209

More Can Be Said

A flowing, funning dance of both sacred and profane, both living and dying, both immanence and transcendence, both depth and breadth, both inner and outer, both male and female, both concrete and abstract, is how Jesus characterized the Kingdom in the Gospel of St. Thomas.
Steindl-Rast, 1984
Buzz O’Connell

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 208

From A Dot-Connection Collection

Not Everyone has given up on indie, however. As a character in the online comic strip Cat and Girl noted, "Imperfect is the new desirable!" the latest tactic involves a return to the "rougher sounds and images" described by Shields, despite technology that can autotune or auto correct your deficiencies. "We live in a time of ragged edges," proclaims the friend of Girl. Or, as Marginally Mediocre Blogger Tully Mills (who is actually quite a good Blogger despite the name of his blog) asked in March of this year, "Why does my generation try to make everything look like it's straight out of one of my Dad's shitty photo albums from the '70s?"

While our comic strip heroine Girl agrees ("Not everything needs a poorly silk-screened drawing of a bird on it") her friend gets the last word: "If you need me I will be listening to tape hiss in my room."
Indie Won. Now What?
Ryan Bigge
The Best Canadian Essays 2012

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 207

Heretick Talk vs Tick-Tock

Too long have I longed and looked into the distance. Too long have I belonged to loneliness;  thus I have forgotten how to be silent. Mouth have I become through and through, and the roaring of a stream from towering cliffs:  I want to plunge my speech down into the valleys. Let the river of my love plunge where there is no way! How could a river fail to find its way to the sea?
Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Extraordinary Discourse 206


Conspiracy nut, leftist, madman. These are terms of dismissal so you don’t have to listen to the argument. It would be healthier and more fun to hear what someone has to say.
Oliver Stone 

Our hope of salvation lies in our being surprised by the other.
Ivan Illich