The flattening of language is a flattening of meaning

I am now reading God’s Secretaries, a great book by Adam Nicolson about the making of the King James Bible. It was a new translation made by a whole team of learned men upon request of King James. This version of the Bible shaped the British history and was shaped by it. Nicolson’s book  is a wonderful reading, but one passage especially attracted my attention as it described what we would call now the workflow of a translation team in the early 17th century England. A copy of a Bible with the translators’ notes and markings was accidentally discovered in a British library.

Here’s an excerpt from Nicolson’s book.

Read the rest of this entry »

Free new books for book lovers – just publish your review afterwards

Do you like to read? Do you spend a ton of money on books? Do you love to share your book opinions with other people? is for you! Just go and select the books. The publisher will even pay for the shipping. The only thing you have to do is to blog about the books you got.
(You have to be in Canada or US. Shipping to other countries may be arranged for some books, but you have to check.)

Malcolm Gladwell presents his new book “Outliers” – Toronto, Dec.1

See the notes and the complete video of the presentation here: Notes from Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” presentation at Rotman School of Business, Toronto, December 1, 2008

Malcolm Gladwell, author of “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” and “The Tipping Point” will make a presentation based on his forthcoming book, “Outliers: The Story of Success” (Little Brown, release date: November 18, 2008). The fee of $31 includes one seat at the presentation and one first-edition copy of “Outliers”.

5:00 sharp – 6:15pm, December 1, Convocation Hall, University of Toronto, 31 King’s College Circle, Toronto

Registration will be available from 4:15 until 5:00. The presentation will begin at 5:00 sharp with introducing the guest speaker, Malcolm Gladwell, Staff Writer, The New Yorker Magazine and Author of “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” and “The Tipping Point”. He’ll make a presentation based on his forthcoming book, “Outliers: The Story of Success” (Little Brown, release date: November 18, 2008). The presentation will adjourn by 6:15.

Prof. Roger Martin, Dean, Rotman School of Management and Author, “The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking” (Harvard Business Press, 2007), will host the session.
TO REGISTER FOR THE SESSION: The fee is $31 per person plus GST. The fee includes one seat at the presentation and one first-edition copy of “Outliers”. Register by noon on December 1 at Questions: e-mail at or call 416-978-4193.

The truth is out there

Entered “The Conscience of a Conservative” into Toronto Public Library catalogue (for this book) and got none of that but three books titled “The Conscience of a Liberal”. Are they trying to tell me something?

Futurama and art as radar

I saw this Futurama series tonight and was astonished by how it fits the current economic situation. See for yourself.

Act I: Everybody’s rich

Earth forces have defeated the Spiderians of Tarantulon 6 and seized plenty of spoils: one trillion dollars in silk and treasure. Richard Nixon’s head, after a consultation with voodoo economists, decides to give every citizen of Earth three hundred dollars.

Act II: Frivolous spending

People spend their money on meaningless things, e.g. Professor Farnsworth gets a treatment that will make him look younger for a very short time. Fry decides to drink 100 cups of coffee. Hermes buys his son Dwight a set of Bamboo Boogie Boot, a kind of powered stilts, which Dwight is not too happy with (he wanted to invest the money). Hermes puts them on and loses control, Dwight tries to save his father but is stuck up the stilts with him, and the two of them roam the city completely out of control.

Act III: The loot! The loot!! The loot is on fire!!!

The reception at the presentation of the National Silk Surplus. Zoidberg wants to buy one of the tapestries, but finds out that it costs $1 billion. He realizes that even with $300 he is still desperately poor and that money brought him no happiness. Bender smokes the Grand Cigar (that cost $10,000). Hermes and Dwight, still on the Bamboo Boogie Boots, crash the reception, the Grand Cigar is dropped and sets fire to the precious silks. Fry, after his 100th cup of coffee, suddenly gains superman powers. He can move so fast that he cannot be seen. He saves everyone at the reception. Hermes gives the penny left from the purchase of the Boogie Boots to Dwight, who decides to invest it in five shares of Richard Nixon’s head is devastated because the budget surplus is gone – burned away in the blink of an eye.

This actually proves the point that I stated here: a real artist does not ape history, he, in fact, foresees it. As Marshall MacLuhan put it,

The power of the arts to anticipate future social and technological developments, by a generation and more, has long been recognized. In this century Ezra Pound called the artist “the antennae of the race.” Art as radar acts as “an early alarm system,” as it were, enabling us to discover social and psychic targets in lots of time to prepare to cope with them. This concept of the art as prophetic contrasts with the popular idea of them as mere self-expression. If art is an “early warning system”, to use the phrase from World War II, when radar was new, art has the utmost relevance not only to media study, but to the development of media controls.

Dan Pink is in town

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Career Management Speaker Series @ Rotman
5:00 sharp-6:15p
TOPIC: “Career Secrets No One Ever Told You”
GUEST SPEAKER: Daniel Pink, Author, “Free Agent Nation: The Future of Working for Yourself”, “A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future” and “The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need”
REGISTRATION FEE: $15.00 per person includes GST (includes 1 copy of “The Adventures of Johnny Bunko”)
LOCATION: Fleck Atrium (ground floor), Rotman School of Management, U of Toronto, 105 St. George St., Toronto

QUESTIONS: or call 416-946-7462


2 of 3 books I ordered on Sunday (decided to go with are already here! That’s free delivery, and it happened within three days. Yay for! They are the fastest!

P.S. I should note they were the most expensive too, about 5% over, even with the iRewards card which by the way I am probably not going to renew (more on that in the next entries). 5%, however, isn’t that much if you are looking at getting your books in 3 days instead of two weeks (or, God forbid, 2.5 months as offers).

UPDATE. The third book arrived 2 days later. Yay indigo!