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March 20, 2013


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You forgot the Persian pastries. My favorite part! The kulchen nahod (chick pea cookies), the loze (almond and rosewater pastries) and Persian baklava. Really, no Persian New Year is complete without them!

But more importantly, why is it always your most beautifully written pieces - like this - that people hesitate to comment on?

The beauty of Persian New Year is beauty itself. I always find the cultures that celebrate life and beauty to be the most attractive. Whether it's the dilligent pursuit of beauty of the French and Balinese, or the momentary lapses where people let go of the daily trappings and simply embrace the beauty of the world and life around them - like Persians.

Persians, perhaps more than any culture I've seen - know when to let go and dance. That itself is honoring the divine, celebrating life - it's an art itself.

Make sure to give that to our boy - and he will be in that memory. And he'll understand the fruits and nuts in the rice.

Hi Eric,

It's funny you say that about comments, but my own personal favorite pieces of writing shimmering blue and slender gold didn't receive any comments whatsoever... I just assume it's because some don't appreciate me going on and on about my lover...though the post about my boyfriend is the most accessed page on this blog: sex and the getty bronze (just because the word sex is in the title maybe??)

Delightful and dazzling conversations:
It's rare, I think to meet someone who can converse intelligently but playfully on a variety of topics.... Japanese is better in this sense--as the Japanese education system seems to be less concerned with the imparting of efficiency-based critical thinking *skills* as it is with imparting a shared traditional base of knowledge. Yes, there are all the issues with stressful examinations-- and I know you are going to try and annoy me with talking about patents again-- but, from my point of view (with conversations in mind) the Japanese system overall does a good job to emphasize shared cultural knowledge: they start by singing the same songs, then go on to read the classical books with much more "learning by heart"-- Western critics call this rote memorization but you know how I have always thought this internalization of exemplary models from literature and philosophy, history, etc. to be a really important aspect of education in terms of character-building/moral education/cultural inheritance, etc. (And, its not as if the learning by heart is the end aim of classical education, either-- as in fact creativity/character building and aesthetic/ethical sensibilities are also really encouraged under this type of "classical education", don't you think?)

See: red cliffs: afterward

This is on my mind, by the way, because I am reading Daniel Bell's new book China's New Confucianism and just finished his chapter "Critiquing critical thinking" in which he makes the case (which you know I completely agree with) that higher education should be about more than simply imparting certain skills:

Future political leaders should study the great literary and philosophical texts of the past. That's where they learn about the sorts of ethical virtues--humility, sensitivity, temperance, and genuine concern for the people-- that they ought to exhibit in political action.

I loved his whole chapter on education and it reminded me of our conversation about Plato's idea of the the education of a freeman versus the education of slaves--remember?

Inside a Ding-- part 2

It really does go back to asking what are the metaphysical underpinings of the humanties-- for in fact, as Sam Crane not that long ago pointed out on his blog ( his post is highly recommended
), the moment those in the humanties begin to embrace these contemporary notions of usefulness (Heidegerrean efficiency)-- their days will surely be numbered....

Dream and responsibility.— You are willing to assume responsibility for everything! Except, that is, for your dreams! What miserable weakness, what lack of consistent courage! Nothing is more your own than your dreams! Nothing more your own work! Content, form, duration, performer, spectator—in these comedies you are all of this yourself! And it is precisely here that you rebuff and are ashamed of yourselves, and even Oedipus, the wise Oedipus, derived consolation from the thought that we cannot help what we dream! From this I conclude that the great majority of mankind must be conscious of having abominable dreams. If it were otherwise, how greatly this nocturnal poetizing would have been exploited for the enhancement of human arrogance! —Do I have to add that the wise Oedipus was right, that we really are not responsible for our dreams—but just as little for our waking life, and that the doctrine of freedom of will has human pride and feeling of power for its father and mother? Perhaps I say this too often: but at least that does not make it an error
- Nietzsche, Daybreak (Morgenröte. Gedanken über die moralischen Vorurteile), 1881

I, for one, hesitate to comment on these most beautifully written posts because all too often to comment would be to mar the post's beauty. Somethings should be appreciated in silence.

Chris: Ditto…
Except I inevitably, at some point, hint about lunch.

I just read the Slender Gold piece. It's a sort of a shock because I've studied that era mostly from the Liao-Jurchen-Mongol side of the line. I'm sure that I've read about the conquest of Kaifeng without knowing anything about the Emperor's talents. And I'd seen the calligraphy, disconnected from his imperial career.


What a wonderful birthday treat to hear from you! You know, John, the Emperor is our kind of man...Like Crazy Ludwig he could be the world's most elegant blog persona...if only one had the sensibilities...

One time I was writing our name on the city-authorized trash bags for burnable trash and it is-- I swear-- the perfect place to practice slender gold calligraphy! So I was dashing off some of my best spindly leg characters when my evil co-habiteur walked over and took the pen out of my hand and wrote just above my "slender gold" →金 (ie, 金朝)....I do not know what his point was but he still calls me that...

For more see the category 徽宗帝 My Lover the Emperor...

Some ferns are edible when they first come out, sort of asparagus-like. It's probably worth checking around before trying them, some might be toxic. We had a cow die from eating ferns once. (Tending a hobby farm, I'm no farmer).

Ah, the pleasures of baby fiddlehead ferns. Always a treat in the Springtime. By the way, I am sorry I had that brief fling with Facebook. I hope I am still welcome at Tang Dynasty. Never again will I be tempted by a promiscuous hussy like Facebook who offers her charms to anyone with a user name and a password. I will never stray again, I promise!

Let me add that all the ferns I am aware of are edible when they first emerge in the Spring. They must picked and eaten before they unfurl. There is usually only a two week window in the Spring when they are edible. They can be steamed and then frozen for later use, however. Some adult ferns are indeed poisonous and all should be avoided. Allow me to suggest a simple dressing of olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Don, you are always one of the tang dynasty's most welcome guests!!! But you are always missed on facebook.... I just posted about the surprising amount of Gobi desert sand stuck in my eyelashes today and almost got a tear in my eye at the thought that you wouldn't be reading....!! A promiscuous hussy to be sure.. but you know what they say, there are worse things in life then promiscuous hussies right?

Around here, those baby ferns are friend up as tempura (sometimes served by a friend here with a touch of mattcha tea powder)... they are heavenly really.

Hope the silk road sands skipped Mongolia in their swirling streaming East!

Here's my tentative translation (I didn't see any on your TDT post):

Spring mountains are gently seductive, seeming to smile.
Summer mountains deep green, almost oozing moisture.
Autumn mountains bright and clear, looking well dressed.
Winter mountains dark and gloomy, as though sound asleep.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."
--- Albert Einstein

Fun to see this again, and my original comment, and notice something I hadn't seen (or at least, don't recall seeing) the first time around:

"you know how they are like little coiled springs waiting till it gets to be just the right time to unfurl? "

Called 'koru' where I'm from, and featured, in stylised form, on the tail fins of the planes of our national airline, and symbolise, as I think you can see, new life.

See Nowroz at Chilpak Tower of Silence.


That is all.

From a fellow devotee of picnics.

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