Monday, May 31, 2004

Book Reports

Elegance by Kathleen Tessaro

This is a paperback book that I picked up in the Jacksonville Airport. Beth was going to be late and I needed something to read before she picked me up.

The premise is that Louise's life in London has not gone at all the way she had hoped. She finds a 1960's book Elegance by Madam Antoine Dariaux and begins living a new life based on the advice in the book.

I bought the novel because I own this book, or used to own it since I have not been able to find it. OBviously it did not change my life but I enjoyed reading about how women in Paris should dress.

The novel Elegance turned out to be a waste of time.

Wittgenstein's Poker:The Story of a Ten-Minute Argument Between Two Great Philosophers by David Edmonds and John Eidinow

Karl Popper and Ludwig Wittgenstein met only once in their lives. It was at a meeting of the Moral Science Club of Cambridge University on October 25, 1946.

These philosophers and the others there that night had devoted their lives to finding the truth, but later there was disagreement over the elementary question of what really happened during that ten minutes.

Did Wittgenstein harass Popper with a fireplace poker? Did Wittgenstein ask Popper to name a moral rule and Popper replied: Not to threaten visiting professors with pokers. Did Bertrand Russell, who was present, argue on the side of Popper?

I once took a course in philosophy and made an A or a B in it, but I understood very little in it. I remember that in idealism I am a little blip on an ocean; I rise up for a while and then settle back in the ocean. That meant nothing to me.

However, I did write a paper on Pragmatism in the Moral Philosophy of Cotton Mather. My professor asked to keep the paper because he thought it was so good and brought out new ideas on Mather. He wanted to think about it over the summer. I was stunned because I did not understand anything I had written. Probably the reason he liked it is that he had studied under Dewey at the University of Chicago.

In the book Wittgenstein's Poker there is a lot of talk about what is the essence of things. For example, a square has corners with right angles, regardless of our observation. However, it is only red because we look at it and see red. If you understand that, you are a better man than I am, Gunga Din.

I tend to be on Popper's side, but only because he once taught in the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, as George Rodney once did.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Florida Trip

On Friday, I flew down to Jacksonville to visit Beth and be with the Hendersons. It is so easy and convenient for me to fly down there. From Nashville on Southwest I can fly cheaply and nonstop. This time the airfare was the cheapest ever, less than $100. The flight is only an hour and a half. Thanks you, Southwest.

Beth picked me up at the airport. She looked cute and professional in her cardigan set, flowered skirt, and heels. Friday is her delivery day so I rode with her the rest of the afternoon as she delivered papers to various advertisers and we got in some good conversation.

This trip we stayed at Days Inn Oceanview. I had a room on the 8th floor and the view was terrific. Richard and Carol Henderson were on the 2nd floor and were unhappy with their room. They thought it smelled. They looked into other possibilities but nothing panned out so they reluctantly stayed.

Friday night we went to eat at the Lighthouse Grille. Last trip I had eaten there with Beth, Laura Henderson, and their friend Meredith. It was dark then but this time closer to summer it was light outside and we got to see the intercoastal waterway.

Richard spent a large part of the weekend working on putting shelves up in Laura's and Beth's garages. They had been putting all their junk in Laura's garage which rendered it too small for her car, but with summer coming on, she needed to be able to get her car in there.

The girls cleared out some junk. Richard built a lot of high shelves and the problem was solved. Or maybe it will be. Currently they have 4 bicycles living with them. Beth's garage does not hold as much because they have couches there and without the car they use it as an outdoor living room.

Saturday morning Beth and I went to garage sales. It was not a good morning; we only bought one thing but it was a spectacular bargain: a Hartman leather pullman bag, perfect condition, for $3.

Saturday night Beth and Laura cooked for us. Supper was delicious. We had Hawaiian burgers, salad, and chips. I should have bought a birthday cake since Beth's birthday is in two weeks.

Sunday we went to St. Augustine. We stopped at an outlet mall so Carol could get a certain kind of vegetable peeler. She bought three and then had to check her bag going back because they were afraid the security people would not let her carry it on.

In St. Augustine we ate lunch at Scarlett's (Gone with the Wind theme) and shopped for a bit. Richard found a "salad shop" so called because it is really a fudge shop but Carol disapproves. We all got fudge anyway.

We took the ocean road going back and passed through the ritzy town of Ponte Vedra, where Beth works.

After naps, we were joined by Steve and Jonathan with his daughter Sidney for an outdoor concert by the beach by the First Coast Wind Ensemble.

We all hated to have to go home but, on Monday morning, Laura took us to the airport anyway.

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