Living Wage Calculator – MIT

Families and individuals working in low-wage jobs make insufficient income to meet minimum standards given the local cost of living. We developed a living wage calculator to estimate the cost of living in your community or region based on typical expenses. The tool helps individuals, communities, and employers determine a local wage rate that allows residents to meet minimum standards of living. 

Living Wage for DenverlivingwageDenver

Summertime – The Sundays

Do some people wind up with the one that they adore
In a heart-shaped hotel room it’s what a heart is for
The bubble floats so madly will it stay sky-high?
Hello partner
Kiss your name bye-bye
Sometimes…
Romantic Piscean seeks angel in disguise
Chinese-speaking girlfriend big brown eyes
Liverpudlian lady sophisticated male
Hello partner
Tell me love can’t fail
& it’s you & me in the summertime
We’ll be hand in hand down in the park
With a squeeze & a sigh & that twinkle in your eye
& all the sunshine banishes the dark
Do some people wind up with the one that they abhor
In a distant hell-hole room third world war
But all I see is films where a colourless despair
Meant angry young men with immaculate hair
Sometimes…
Get up a voice inside says there’s no time for looking down
Only a pound a word & you’re talking to the town
But how do you coin the phrase though that will set your soul apart?
Just to touch
A lonely heart
& it’s you & me in the summertime
We’ll be hand in hand down in the park
With a squeeze & a sigh & that twinkle in your eye
& all the sunshine banishes the dark
& it’s you I need in the summertime
As I turn my white skin red
Two peas from the same pod yes we are
Or have I read too much fiction?
Is this how it happens?
David Gavurin / Harriet Wheeler

Prayer of Saint Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.

Bowie in Berlin – Behind the Hero’s vocal.

How did Bowie get that distinctive sound on Heros?

“… Visconti set up three separate microphones around Tonstudio 2. The first was placed where one would expect it to be: six inches or so in front of where Bowie stood to sing. The other two were positioned around 15 and 20 feet further back, in order that they might take advantage of the excellent acoustic properties of the studio itself. Visconti placed noise gates on both of these, setting them so that they would only open – and thus become active – when Bowie’s voice reached a certain volume. The result of this marvellous innovation was that, in a single take, his voice could shift from a warm intimacy to a distant wail. And it is this, alongside the unparalleled power of Bowie’s vocal delivery, which lifted Hero’s up from its status as merely a great song to the realm of all-time classic.”
Thomas Jerome Seabrook

Ode to Failure – Allen Ginsberg

Many prophets have failed, their voices silent
ghost-shouts in basements nobody heard dusty laughter in family attics
nor glanced them on park benches weeping with relief under empty sky
Walt Whitman viva’d local losers——courage to Fat Ladies in the Freak Show!
nervous prisoners whose mustached lips dripped sweat on chow lines——
Mayakovsky cried, Then die! my verse, die like the workers’ rank & file fusilladed in Petersburg!
Prospero burned his Power books & plummeted his magic wand to the bottom of dragon seas
Alexander the Great failed to find more worlds to conquer!
O Failure I chant your terrifying name, accept me your 54 years old Prophet
epicking Eternal Flop! I join your Pantheon of mortal bards, & hasten this ode with high blood pressure
rushing to the top of my skull as I if I wouldn’t last another minute, like the Dying Gaul! to You, Lord of blind Monet, deaf Beethoven, armless Venus de Milo, headless Winged Victory!
I failed to sleep with every bearded rosy-cheeked boy I jacked off over
My tirades destroyed no Intellectual Unions of KGB & CIA in turtlenecks & underpants, their woolen suits and tweeds
I never dissolved Plutonium or dismantled the nuclear Bomb before my skull lost hair
I have not yet stopped the Armies of entire Mankind in their march toward World War III
I never got to Heaven, Nirvana, X, Whatchamacallit, I never left Earth,
I never learned to die.

Allen Ginsberg

Moral Particularism

Jonathan Dancy on Moral Particularism

Is morality simply a matter of applying general principles? Jonathan Dancy thinks not. He is a moral particularist. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast he defends moral particularism in conversation with Nigel Warburton.

Very stimulating intellectual conversation @Philosophy Bites

Unspooled – New Favorite podcast

with Paul Scheer and Amy Nicholson

Paul Scheer is a lifelong movie buff, but he’s never seen many of the all time greats. On Unspooled, his team-up with film critic Amy Nicholson, he’s remedying that by watching the AFI’s top 100 movies of all time, to find out what makes classics like Citizen Kane and Taxi Driver so special. Paul & Amy will dissect iconic scenes, talk to artists and industry experts, and discover just how these films got made.

This weeks episode covers The French Connection

Fabula and Syuzhet

Fabula  and Syuzhet are terms originating in  Russian Formalism and employed in narratology that describe narrative construction. Syuzhet is an employment of narrative and Fabula is the chronological order of the events contained in the story. They were first used in this sense by Vladimir Propp and Viktor Shklovsky.

The fabula is “the raw material of a story”, and syuzhet is “the way a story is organized”. Since Aristotle’s Poetics, narrative plots are supposed to have a beginning, middle and end. This is often achieved in film and novels via flashbacks or flashforwards. For example, the film Citizen Kane starts with the death of the main character, and then tells his life through flashbacks interspersed with a journalist’s present-time investigation of Kane’s life. The FABULA of the film is the actual story of Kane’s life the way it happened in chronological order, while the SYUZHET is the way the story is told throughout the movie, including flashbacks.Memento_Timeline

via Wikipedia

Bad Movie Summary Puzzle.

Man killed a dog then died because a woman brought him home.

Genius with superiority complex abandoned job offers to chase some girl he met in a bar.

Middle age man with unorthodox diet help chasing someone obsessed with skincare products.

A son understood his immigrant father more after he went to Europe and fell in love with a girl.

via Stackexchange

Green ideas, though colorless, sleep with fury.

Chomsky writes in his 1957 book Syntactic Structures:

Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.
*Furiously sleep ideas green colorless.

It is fair to assume that neither sentence (1) nor (2) (nor indeed any part of these sentences) has ever occurred in an English discourse. Hence, in any statistical model for grammaticalness, these sentences will be ruled out on identical grounds as equally “remote” from English. Yet (1), though nonsensical, is grammatical, while (2) is not grammatical.[2]

While the meaninglessness of the sentence is often considered fundamental to Chomsky’s point, Chomsky was only relying on the sentences having never been spoken before. Thus, even if one were to ascribe a likely and reasonable meaning to the sentence, the grammaticality of the sentence is concrete despite being the first time a person had ever uttered the statement, or any part thereof in such a combination. This was used then as a counter-example to the idea that the human speech engine was based upon statistical models, such as a Markov chain, or simple statistics of words following others.

via Wikipedia

A small Chinese village called Xiaogang

So, in the winter of 1978, after another terrible harvest, they came up with an idea: Rather than farm as a collective, each family would get to farm its own plot of land. If a family grew a lot of food, that family could keep some of the harvest.

This is an old idea, of course. But in communist China of 1978, it was so dangerous that the farmers had to gather in secret to discuss it.
One evening, they snuck in one by one to a farmer’s home. Like all of the houses in the village, it had dirt floors, mud walls and a straw roof. No plumbing, no electricity.

“Most people said ‘Yes, we want do it,'” says Yen Hongchang, another farmer who was there. “But there were others who said ‘I dont think this will work — this is like high voltage wire.’ Back then, farmers had never seen electricity, but they’d heard about it. They knew if you touched it, you would die.”

Despite the risks, they decided they had to try this experiment — and to write it down as a formal contract, so everyone would be bound to it. By the light of an oil lamp, Yen Hongchang wrote out the contract.

Today, the Chinese government is clearly proud of what happened in Xiaogang. That contract is now in a museum. And the village has become this origin story that kids in China learn about in school.

The Secret Document That Transformed China (via NPR)

Under Their Thumb.

… “He’s vit me!” And it worked. Before I knew it, I was onstage with the Rolling Stones.

Freddy led me to a cubbyhole, right next to the backup singers. It held a dozen or so people and was sort of like a baseball dugout. Jerry Hall was in there, and so was Keith’s dad. We were getting a slightly skewed view

For better or worse, I was seeing what the Stones see. And it helped me understand why rock stars get fucked up. Being in front of 60,000 screaming fans for two hours can be an overwhelming experience. There is no way to healthily match that intensity when the tour is over and you’re home in your slippers eating corn flakes.”
Under Their Thumb, Bill German

Poe – Desultory Notes on Cats

“Cats were first invented in the garden of Eden. According to the Rabbins, Eve had a pet cat, called Pusey, and from that circumstance arose a sect of cat-worshippers among the Eastern nations, called Puseyites, a sect which, it is said, is still in existence somewhere. When rats began to be troublesome, Adam gave the first pair of cats six lessons in the art of catching them; and since then the knowledge has been retained. The Greeks spelled cat with a k, and the French put an h into it; the pure English scholar will not heed such ignorance, but will keep to the right orthography. In the time of Chaucer, cataract was spelt caterect; but what analogy there is between a cat getting up in the world and water falling down in it, it is difficult to say. The introduction of the cat into cat-aplasm, cat-egory, &c., is unauthorized; it is without the knowledge or consent of the parties, and has no meaning. Cat-nip, on the contrary, has a signification; it bears the same relation to the animal economy of the cat that Pease’s hoarhound candy does to that of the animal economy of man. It is mentioned that a gentleman in the pursuit of knowledge under difficulties, wishes to know what is the reason that cats which have that within them which contains such divine melody, should make such execrable music themselves? The answer to this, perhaps, is simple. Cats are modest. They make no show of accomplishments. You never hear of a learned cat. Learned pigs, bears and dogs, who can tell what time of day it is, and how many spectators are present (which last is easily told, to the sorrow of the showman,) are common. But who ever heard of a learned cat? A cat pretends to no knowledge, not even to that of the piano and singing. If you kill her you may prepare a physical essence, so to speak, which, if stretched and relined, may have a divine effect. It is probably the departed spirit refined down to a single string, and making simple melody, whereas, in the original, the strings were interlinked and confused, so that they produced necessarily discordant sounds; to say nothing of their being vulgarly alive, and in a raw state of nature.

This explanation seems clear. A young cat or kitten is graceful; her chief occupation is chasing her tail, but her tail will not stay chased. Very little children adore very little cats. But when the children, if boys, grow bigger, and learn the humanities at school, all about Draco, Alexander and Cæsar, they change towards cats, and kill them whenever sport prompts them to do so. Among the saws, is one that persecution makes that thrive which it seeks to subdue. This is a slight mistake. In the case of rats, which cats persecute, persecution ever thins their numbers. It is only when persecution is half way, or has a spice of charity, that it does what the saw says. Not only in the case of rats, but of Indians, is this shown to be a false saw. The Indians have been persecuted with fire, whiskey and sword, and they are nearly exterminated. It is only when the cat is in love that she makes a fool of herself. It is then, that, forgetting all other considerations in the fullness of her heart, the cat plays, unconsciously, the troubadour. (We apply the feminine gender and pronoun to cats, because all cats are she; in the same way that all sluts and mares are called he, a peculiar beauty of the English language.) The serenading cat makes a noise like an infant with the cholic, for which it is often mistaken. Both sexes of cats sport whiskers and moustaches; whether the actual she cats will ever change the fashion, as it applies to them, after it has so long prevailed, is doubtful. One of the brightest pages in English Annals, is the History of Whittington and his Cat. We know a boy, who has a cat, and says he intends hereafter to be Mayor of Philadelphia. Not the slightest objection to it. ”

Edgar Allan Poe.

Flagstaff over Hollywood? Things could have been different.

“In 1913 Cecil B. DeMille was looking for a place to shoot a western, The Squaw Man. He was living in New York City, so he boarded a train heading west and got off at Flagstaff, Arizona. Surprisingly, the weather was bad there. He sent a telegram to his partners back east, Jessy Lasky and Sam Goldfish (later Goldwyn): “Flagstaff no good. Want authority to rent barn for $75 a month in place called Hollywood.” The yellow barn was at Selma and Vine streets and was still being used for horses. The Squaw Man was released a year later, and is one of the first full-length films made in Hollywood. It was certainly the most successful. In 1926 the barn was moved to the United Studios on Marathon and Van Ness Streets, which soon became the home of Paramount Pictures.

If the weather in Flagstaff hadn’t been bad, if the barn in Hollywood hadn’t been for rent, if The Squaw Man had not been a hit, there wouldn’t have been a Hollywood. In later years the old weather-beaten barn in which The Squaw Man was photographed was converted into a gymnasium on the Paramount lot, equipped with weights, mats, rings, chin-up bars, and, most important: the best steam room in Los Angeles. From the time of its reincarnation as the Paramount gym, the man who ran it was a short, bald, good-natured fellow named Orlando Perry, or Perry Orlando – not even he was sure of which was correct. I got to know Perry and his gym when I was directing Good Times on the Paramount lot. I remained a regular for sixteen years, until the old barn was designated a landmark, moved off the lot, and relocated opposite the Hollywood Bowl, where it is now the Hollywood Heritage Museum.”

Friedkin, William. The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir.