Little tatami

From Newsscan, an excerpt on hiaku from author Joshua Cooper Ramo:

“In the middle of the fifteenth century in Japan, a time when the kingdom was both at its most isolated and, to Japanese eyes, most perfect, a strange tradition emerged: composing haiku as you died, at the very moment of death. Perhaps it wasn’t so surprising. Japanese culture had become obsessed with the relationship between life and art. There was an increasing belief that the two should never be separated, that a well-lived life was a work of art. Was it surprising that some Japanese poets wanted to try to weave the two together, to make a little tatami of life and art? What better time than at the moment of death? After a lifetime of study, could you be beautiful in three lines? Could you be perfect? Could you reduce it, all of it, your life, down to seventeen syllables?

Farewell … I
pass as all things do
dew on the grass.

“So it all awaited you. Special inks were mixed. A brush of the rarest hair was prepared and left lying near your bed. The softest rice paper was fetched. All this lay waiting for your last moment. The Zen monks who collected the death poems looked for two virtues, two marks of beauty. The first was awa-re, a sense of the sadness of things passing, the way birds at dawn sing like mourners or cherry blossoms fall like tears in the spring. The second virtue was mi-yabi, an attempt to refine oneself. Everything about the poems — their sound, how they looked on the page — was meant to evoke this attempt at refinement, at compactness.”

Blame Canadaaaa

So far, the Bush administration has tried to defame a “gay and Canadian” reporter, discredit the ambassador that investigated the false Africa is selling uranium to Iraq thing, fire soldiers stationed in Iraq that tell press everything isn’t all rosy, and stonewalling investigations that the government has possibly lied to the world so they can invade Iraq.

It’s just great when a government spends more energy backpedaling and flinging mud at its critics than actually solving the issues at hand, eh? Your tax dollars at work!

Add goodies like Patriot Act II and Pointdexter’s Total Information Awareness program, and it’s no small wonder some Americans want to be called “Canadian” too. Come on up, the beer is better.

White House smears reporter, calls him Canadian

Cause. ABC News reporter writes article about disgruntled soldiers stationed in Iraq (who are still dying one per day)

Effect. White House spokespeople launch smear campaign against said reporter, tipping off Drudge Report that reporter is gay and Canadian. Which he is, which I suppose suggests he is virtually a leftist pinko commie hippie.

Question: Have you ever tried to insult someone by calling them “Canadian”?

Pen vs. sword

I was watching A and E, and a commercial for a prescription medicine for Alzheimer’s came up. For the international crowd, yes, in the good ol’ US of A you can market your prescription drugs on television like candy. The catch is, you must state all your major side effects. Of course, you are free to say them really fast and distract the audience with shots of happy people enjoying stuff. The Viagra commercials are actually well done.

Anyway, in the side effects spiel, they mentioned “being tired” and “not feeling hungry”. Wow, such scientific terms. Why not say “fatigue” and “lack of appetite”? Perhaps they are trying to downplay the side effects. After all, who doesn’t feel tired and not hungry every once and a while?

Words are powerful. Use them well.

Super Jumpman Bros. 3

A list of most popular enemies to shoot at in videogames, in order of most acceptable to least acceptable:

  1. Robots
  2. Manned vehicles (planes, tanks, spaceships)
  3. Hellspawn
  4. Nazis
  5. Alien critters
  6. The undead
  7. Terrorists
  8. Fascist military operatives
  9. Innocent ethnic bystanders
  10. Innocent white bystanders
  11. Crippled children, nuns

On the bookshelf currently: Tad William’s Tailchaser’s Song. A fairly whimsical, if a bit gory animal story. I like how the cats have their own creation myths; the first “M’an” was a disgraced cat that was stretched out and scalped. M’an was then condemned to service the cat race for eternity. Can’t you just see cats thinking something like that?

In the D drive currently: Freelancer, Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory

Class dismissed

Why doesn’t school teach you things you actually need in life? I can integrate
imaginary numbers, but don’t know how to eat healthy. I can plot discrete waveforms but don’t know how to save up for retirement. University should teach courses like:

  1. How not to be a Close-minded Asshole
  2. Balancing your chequebook
  3. Speaking to Others without Pissing Them Off (co-requisite with #1)
  4. Procedures in Renting/Buying a Home
  5. Maintaining a Healthy Equilibrium between Reality and Idealism (mandatory for Arts students)
  6. TV, Nintendo and the Internet Are Not Virtual Babysitters

In the D drive currently: Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project, Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight and Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix. Where is Duke Nukem Forever?