caro thinks

Raspberry and Fudge,
The oingo boingo bears.
Full names:
Raspberry colored eyes
Rocky Road Fudge colored fur
These are just their Ears.
There's more to them.
date 2000-11-04:22:26
wildlife (This was written several days ago, offline, before the summer meeting materials started to arrive, and I just didn't have time to put it here.)

It is a very good thing that I ran on the beach yesterday, becaus e today it is stormy. Curious Frizbee today, as there were no partners available but the wind. It had stormed at sea yesterday morning, and the beach was full of gifts from the ocean. A guy from Scripps was on the sand in a truck collecting samples of all the interesting kinds of algae. A mussel bigger than any I've seen was stranded by the low tide; I decided to be nice to it and walked it back down the exposed intertidal zone to put it back, wondering if the swinging of my arm was making it dizzy.

The seagulls were finding good stuff. The storm must have been pretty rough, because there was a dead cormorant at the edge of the surf. A seagull was attempting to eat it. I didn't know they ate birds! Another had found one of those prize-winning m ussels, and was attempting to crack it open. I'd only seen this once before: she grabbed the mussel, flew straight up into the air about 20 feet, and with a flick of her neck tossed it just a little higher. Then she dropped down to check it. It wasn't ope n, so she did it again, and I watched her toss it a few times more before running on.

The elegant terns are back! I'm sure they just got here, since they weren't there on Tuesday, and they are the most obvious things on the beach. 'Elegant tern' is a good name for them: they are stark white, with a long bright red beak and a stiff black crest that points sharply backward. They stand immobile, all of them facing in the same direction, with their heads drawn back and up like show horses. I first sa w them last year. Walking along reading a book in the waves, I came upon a flock of about 20 of them suddenly. I might have seen one blink, and a feather or two ruffled in the wind. But otherwise they stood as though they didn't care at all. I've always l oved terns, and I don't think I've ever seen one stand still: they are always diving for fish when I spot them. So this was a real treat, though I wasn't certain that these were terns at all given how different they looked. I squatted, and inched toward them so that I could see better and memorize the features of this bird I'd never seen, so that I could look them up when I got home. I perched there among them, my arms dangling across my knees for balance, for a good 10 minutes or so, too charmed by the ir placid elegance to leave once I'd observed enough distinguishing marks. People saw us, and steered clear. Strange flock.

A pair of elegant terns today were bathing elegantly in the surf. One stood in haughty disregard of the water rushing arou nd and under it, while the other one lost all sense of dignity and comportment and ducked fluttering under the foam.

No sharks yesterday. But so many new things! I had begun to believe that sandpipers only come in one size, but a speckly brown mo ther was out with her half-sized downy gray chick teaching it to run the waves for clams. What a cute little thing it was.
music The classical radio station does in fact come in better when the electronic antennae is unplugged and the ac cord is draped across a chair, the tv cable is wrapped around the antennae, and the speaker is on top of the t urntable (which of course creates turntable feedback, but not when the radio is on). Though electrical outlets are plentiful in my home, which, unlike most of my homes, was built some decades after the industrial revolution when it really did seem that e lectrical appliances were not just a fad anymore, still, rearranging furniture in order to listen to the radio in this canyon makes me feel like Lisa Douglas of Green Acres.
fallacies The mp3 version of the "How to Win Arguments" talk is on the web site--or rather on Ted's web site, linked from mine. It's a nice, real way to kick off the Fallacies Project. The great thing about giving it away for fre e is that more people will hear it. Its value, for me, is in its potential to reach a lot of ears, some of which will hear, and some of which latter will contact their brains and advise them to attend.
pornography Interesting! The perennial subject of words that we use without definition was floating around in my mind today, because of a submission to the Dictionary list (on the concept ACHIEVEMENT). And having posted an analysis of that concept and trying to comprehend the kinds of examples that people say are clearly not instances of productive work (such as child-rearing and relationships), it occurred to me that I have never even looked up the word 'pornography' in the dictio nary. We all just know what it is, don't we? You know, dirty pixchers 'n' stuff.

So I made amends just now and looked in Random House, my first source for all words (much more portable and visible than the OED). Here's what it said for the deriva tion:

1840-50; < Gk pornograph(os) writing about harlots (porno-, comb. form of porne harlot + -graphos -GRAPH) + -Y]

I didn't know that! (I say this a lot, don't I. I guess I don't know very much.) Writing about harlots. Of course, now I have to look up 'harlot', which turns out to be very interesting too, in its derivation:

harlot, n. a prostitute; whore. [1175-1225]; ME: young idler, rogue < OF < i>herlot, of obscure orig.]

So pornography is writing, intended to create sexual excitement, about people who expose themselves for money. At least, according to hacked-together definitions from this dictionary.

Wha t is sometimes termed erotica then falls squarely under this concept, if we cut out the bit about "exposing themselves for money". A lot of people, I think, would object to that, saying that there is a difference between pornography and erotica. I' ll have to look on the web for this difference, I suppose. This dictionary says that erotic is writing about sexual love, while it says that pornography is writing intended to create sexual excitement. I suppose the difference is supposed to be that one t ype involves love (i.e., minds), while the other might involve bodies only. But people use 'love' in a very loose way when it comes to sex: does it mean deep desire? Satisfying desire? This is a standard dictionary: does 'love' mean something selfl ess? Pornography is selfish, while erotica is selfless? I'm sure some people think of it that way!

Can't face the OED on this tonight.
reading There's so much to read and write elsewhere, I haven't had time to write here. Lots to do for the summer meeting. November 1st was the first deadline to be met for potential paper presenters, and with that there came a flood of email, attachments, miscommunications, acknowledgements, and all manner of correspondence. With that mostly out of the way now, I can settle down to actually read the submissions, see what I can put on the web site, see what I have to have redone or what I have to reject altogether, and start getting things ready for publication. Then there'll be a little break, before Round Two.

Round Two might be December 1st. The online calendar of philosophy events to which I sent the announcement, wasn't coming out til November. Rather than not list, I let them make the date December 1st. Or, nothing will appear then, and the next round is farther off. And so for now the most pressing things will be the online conference in January, Objectivity< /i> and a pack of little programming projects which I suppose don't count as reading.

And that means that I can move on at last to propositions.
Too much participation on email lists.

Reason Number Five to Live in La Jolla


The very idea that strawberries could be available all year! True, there is a month, maybe two, during which they're harder to get and pretty poor, and during those dark times I have to substitute kiwis and make kiwi shortcake for breakfast instead. But otherwise, La Jolla is the Neverending Strawberry Basket, just one more absurdity that makes life worth living.

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