Jim A.

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Everything posted by Jim A.

  1. Back in the 1990's, I believe Richard Ralston, through ARI, brought up the issue and was asking for people to submit to ARI references to page numbers, etc., where various "typos" have occured. I don't know what happened to that campaign. (And, again, the "typos" read to me like someone was taking dictation and did not hear certain words correctly.)
  2. Does anybody know why the "typographical" errors in some of the reprints of Ayn Rand's works, which started appearing on bookstore shelves back in 1992 and published by New American Library (Signet, etc.), were not corrected for recent reprints and special editions? This whole issue really bothers me, and angers me. Some of the 1992 period reprints were truly reprinted, some weren't. But the fact that any works have alterations--due to error--is especially outrageous in a day--and 1992 was part of this day--when a page of text could be scanned by computer and re-fonted. I put "typographical" in quotes because I don't think it was someone's slip of a finger that caused the errors; the way they often read, it sounds like the text was dictated to someone, and the way the words sounded to the typist is the way that typist put them on the page. So, now, when someone new to Ayn Rand picks up one of the newer editions that has the errors, they get things like certain errors in "The Conflicts of Men's Interests" in The Virtue of Selfishness. Just compare that essay in the new paperback to the same essay as printed in The Objectivist Newsletter. I think you will be just as outraged as I am. If you look on page 63 of the reprinted edition, you will read: "He may need clients, but not any particular customer...", and, in the next paragraph: "There is no job so slow that a better, more skillful performance of it would pass unnoticed..." The words "customer" and "slow" are not in the Newsletter text, nor in the original Signet printing, at those points in the essay. In the original version, those words are: "client" and "low". I could go back to the books and compile a list of mistakes. But instead of that, to give you another example, why don't I refer you to one of the errors in the standard sized paperback edition--not the large-sized one--of The Fountainhead. On page 19 of the nineteenth printing of the novel--by Signet--Guy Francon is giving the commencement address to the graduating students of the Stanton Institute of Technology. He brings up the "three eternal entities": "Truth, Love and Beauty". But the second time he brings them up, he makes a slip. He wants to say: "...amed with courage and vision", but he starts to say: "...amed with the three eternal" entities. However--he cuts himself off. He says: "...amed with the three eternal enti--armed with courage and vision..." But in the small edition of The Fountainhead that came out at the same time the 35th anniversary edition of Atlas Shrugged did, that cut-off isn't there; Guy Francon says the complete word "entities". Some people might say that such an error as the one I bring up is unimportant. I disagree 1000%. We're talking about the preservation of the literary legacy of the one person who may--may--in the end, pull our civilization out of the festering mystical-collectivist-altruist quagmire it is in and thereby prevent it's self-destruction. It is therefore critical, in my view, to maintain her works in their original state. In the case of "enti--": I consider a mistake like "entities" to be completely without excuse. The whole point of Ayn Rand writing the word as "enti--" is to show that Guy Francon, famed architect, is not to be taken seriously, and yet he is. He does not really believe the things he's saying; he's only saying them because they will probably enhance his prestige. And while saying them he is only transmitting to another graduating class the stale and false ideas that are destroying not only architecture, but the world. Let's not encourage publishing companies to achieve the same end by making sloppy errors in reproducing the writings of a literary and philosophical giant.
  3. So what do you--or anyone else--think can be done about this situation with what I call the "defective" reprints? Flood the New American Library with letters? Maybe. I wish all those faulty reprints could be "recalled", but of course that isn't possible. The situation really is discouraging (and, as I've said before, I'm angry about it).
  4. "Anything's" possible?

    Wonderful evidence of cause-and-effect!
  5. Movies depicting a malevolent universe?

    Incidentally, regarding Million Dollar Baby: A wonderful antidote to MDB, in my view, is Finding Neverland. There is some mortality in that movie, too (I won't say whose), but instead of the focus being on release from pain, it's focus is on the wonderful fact of our existence on this earth, no matter what its duration. Okay: Here are my nominees for the Malevolent Universe Premise Oscar: Naked Lunch Eraserhead Midnight Cowboy Deliverance 80% of the films of Ingmar Bergman All of Stanley Kubrick's films (except for Spartacus, which really belongs to Howard Fast and Anthony Mann)
  6. This Perfect Day

    I can't quite agree with your evaluation of This Perfect Day. For some reason, it just did not seem to have the "punch" of Anthem or even 1984 (as depressing as that book was). This Perfect Day wasn't bad, but I was disappointed; some things seemed rather drawn-out. Was there something I missed?
  7. Ender's Game

    I thought Ender's Game was almost absolute garbage, though not the worst sci-fi or fantasy novel I've read. The worst ones I've read, all or in part (because I hated one or two of them so much) are: Kurt Vonnegut's The Sirens of Titan, LaHaye and Jenkins' Left Behind (100% garbage), and Solaris by Stanislaw Lem. The reason I didn't like and was bored by Ender's Game was that it was filled with alot of non-essential details. So many times, I found myself asking of the author: Who gives a damn? Also, was there any need for the occasional four-letter word and references to flatulence throughout the book? If Ender's Game is representative of his work, I'd say that Orson Scott Card is a lousy writer.
  8. Starship Troopers

    I've only read a few works by Heinlein, and here is how I assess him so far. I love his sense-of-life. A contrast to it would be that of Stanislaw Lem--a lousy writer, by the way--whose sense-of-life, if put into words, would be: the Universe is bleak, black and Man has no capacity to see it. Whereas Heinlein's sense-of-life would be something like: the Universe is a brightly lit, fun place to be--a cosmic Disneyland; let's enjoy it! As a story-teller, he's very good; as a writer, he is not so good. He very often throws in non-essentials, such as, in Starship Troopers, after some statement regarding being a sitting duck, there's something like: Do ducks sit? If so, why? That may be just a few words, but it can really hurt the narrative flow. But all in all, if I ever have a kid, I will introduce him or her to Robert A. Heinlein!
  9. I know Nathanael Branden wrote some book on raising one's self-esteem, but I'm dubious about reading that. For myself, I'll put forth an assertion: that a person usually makes better decisions about things in their life when his or her self-esteem is high, even better if it's very high. But if one at present does not have good self-esteem, does that mean he or she is predetermined to make poor decisions? Absolutely not. But there is a cycle that a person can easily fall into: when their self-esteem is low, they make poor decisions; those poor decisions lead to consequences that further lower the person's esteem of himself; then he makes more poor--or poorer--decisions; self-esteem goes down further, and so on. But just as it is safe to say that the person can stop at any time and focus, and, as painful as it may be, make a rational, thought-out decision about something, even if their emotions are tugging at them to do the opposite, is it not also safe to say that the person can take the approach: Act as if you have self-esteem already, and self-esteem will come? Is it not conceivable that one way a person can raise their self-esteem is to take those actions that they would naturally want to take if their self-esteem was high, even though their self-esteem at present would almost seem to make that impossible?
  10. I've written a short story, but not completely to my liking; I have trouble getting myself to be brief and letting the events and characters' actions speak for themselves. But I certainly want to have my fiction express an idea, though, primarily, I want the story to offer an experience that is an "end in itself". What should be my focus in my next piece of writing? Because I want the abstract idea(s) in my stories to be expressed in concrete events, and my concrete events (actions of characters) to not be divorced from the abstract idea. Suggestions?
  11. In listening to music, what do you experience?

    Have you--or anyone--ever researched psychological/emotional states in people after they have listened to certain kinds of music? For instance--if you have two people, in separate rooms, who are in precarious emotional states, and one listens to, say, The Rite of Spring by Stravinsky, and the other listens to the "Emperor" Concerto by Beethoven--what were their reported emotional states afterward? I haven't read all the posts yet; is there a reference anywhere to such an experiment?
  12. Great comment! I myself am obsessively selective--yet decisive--about the food I eat. I am no less selective about any women I may want to date, so even if I were not quite in love with one but still had intimate relations with her, it wouldn't be casual on my part. That's because I consider every minute of my life on this planet to be precious.
  13. One thing I've noticed about the television show 24 is that it illustrates quite well--through potentially national or global crises--the dynamics of the workplace. The people at CTU, despite their differences with each other, have to work together by using their individual, reasoning minds to achieve a goal--in the story, a life-or-death goal. Another piece of work that shows reason in action--again, despite philosophical or political differences between the characters--is the 1971 movie The Andromeda Strain. Four physician-scientists must unite in reasoned action to study and stop a deadly pathogen from outer space. Patterns--originally a Playhouse 90 teleplay by Rod Serling--is also very good; it raises ethical issues about hiring and firing. I also enjoyed Working Girl, from 1987, with Melanie Griffith. And I've heard Executive Suite, from 1951, is very good, as well. Are there some other movies or shows that dramatize work environments and say something important about them?
  14. Up until last week I was seeing a girl for about six weeks. A relationship was starting to develop, almost against my will: she seemed to have alot to offer me, if she would simply give up her "Veganism", her animal rights advocacy, her mysticism, her belief in feelings over thought as a guide to action (one time, early on, she interrupted a probing discussion of beliefs and values and started kissing me; physically wonderful, but--dammit!--I was trying to learn about whether she had any of what Ellen Kenner would call "social diseases", such as altruism), etc., etc. So--I broke it off, and now I'm a free man! What a feeling! (But I live in a small town--now who do I find? Ha!!)
  15. A very good question. I'll attempt a definition here: Just because something is proximal--i.e., nearby--doesn't mean it should be pursued. Just because someone I know has certain charms and attractions, does that mean I should devote even a single precious minute with them? What about my future minutes, ten or twenty or thirty years from now? Will I want to be spending them with that person then? If so, I damned well better be in love with her.
  16. Wise advice. Thanks!
  17. You're absolutely right. And, of course, there is the "sense-of-life" response to someone. On first meeting, that can tell you alot about the fact that you respond to someone. Therefore, if you are drawn to someone because of their sense-of-life--and your own--the attraction warrants further investigation and exploration to learn whether your attraction to the person has justification. This may mean a first "date", or simply walking up and talking to the person, since you may learn quite a bit from a first conversation--the very thing I could have done with the girl I spoke of, but evidently tried to put off (simply did not want to admit to myself that despite all her charms, there was nothing there I could fall in love with. Hopefully, lesson learned!)
  18. Of course, you do know that the animal rights people want to change the wording of the Second Amendment, don't you? They want it to read, not the right to "bear arms", but the right to "arm bears". Watch out!
  19. I forgot about that--references from former boyfriends!!! Yes!!
  20. Well, I don't know...Maybe if I unfused a little "romance" into my writing! My first real attempt at a short story is "The Engine", a link to which is posted in the "For Members, By Members" department of this website. It is pedestrian, plodding, too talky, and--most of all--there is no love story in it! Nevertheless, it is a sincere try, and I hope to get comments on it from people, since they will help me with my next efforts. My main concern is: Do I have a solid plot structure (one that doesn't collapse)? And do I present my philosophical beliefs clearly? (And--hey--should there be a love story in it?! Or is it Romanicism without a romance?) Of course, this all has nothing to do with my "relationship" to that one girl. Although I did give her a copy of the story with the same request of her, for a critique, weeks before I broke things off with her. To my knowledge, she never read it. And whenever I presented my philosophical ideas to her, she would later say things like: "Why do you have to be so serious?", or that what I said made her "feel stupid", even though I was trying to impart to her that, contrary to her belief, she had every right to feel confidence in her own mind. And one time I wanted to know more about her evaluation of her self. I asked her once to say to herself: "I have the right to exist for my own sake" (since most of her actions, as far as I could see, told me she felt the opposite way). Then I asked her how saying that made her feel, and she said it made her feel uneasy and uncomfortable (which was no surprise to me). So--like Oakes was telling me, though with good humor--I will have to start "weeding" someone out, so to speak, much earlier in the game. That would save alot of time, energy, uncertainty, and, oh, yes--dinner money!! And being almost fifty, I especially want to economise on time!! (Not that I'm expecting to die tomorrow, but it's just that the older I get, the more precious my days and minutes are to me.)
  21. No, but I should start!! Seriously; there should actually be certain basic questions one should ask someone before moving on to a second date. At least things like: Do you believe in an objective reality? or do you believe reality is "in the mind"? (This one's critical; if one person believes reality is "out there" and the other believes it is "in the mind", there will be nothing but trouble later on.) Do you believe that the best way to know something about yourself or your life is through your emotions? What if your emotions are wrong? And: Do you believe you have the right to exist for your own sake? Does it make you uncomfortable to say: "I have the right to exist for my own sake"? If so, why? Etc.
  22. When conceptual thinking stops

    My goodness; I didn't expect to get nine replies to one post in only one day! Did I make an assertion on a fundamental level? Regarding small pox: I don't know if that is a virus, I'll have to study up on it. But if it is, and if it in fact was "cured" (actually, a patient is cured, not a disease pathogen)--i.e., destroyed, eliminated--then that "cure" would apply, on the basic level, to every other virus; the only thing that would have to be done with any other particular virus is to "customize" or adapt the "cure" to it. Obviously, there are things that are different about each kind of virus. But the basic solution to how to destroy viruses is the primary thing one would have to use. The same approach would apply to different cancers. First find the "cure" for cancer, and then apply that to each particular cancer. Some adaptations and adjustments would have to be made, but primarily the same solution to how to stop the cancer spread is what would be applied. I agree with Maarten regarding the "vaccine" for cervical cancer. Cancer is one of the results of the pappiloma virus, so the vaccine is actually a weapon against that virus, not the cancer, about which it has been said can result from other causes as well. And, though I am not a physician, or even biologically-knowledgeable, I think that "Paul's here" has the start of the right approach to finding a way to destroy viruses. He addresses the ability of a virus to infect the host, as if it is one of the fundamental characteristics of a virus, and says that if you can destroy that capability of a virus, than you can destroy any particular virus. That is the conceptual approach I am talking about, regarding both viruses and cancer: cut off the head of the octopus, like Gilliatt does in Hugo's book; attack these plagues of Man at the fundamental level, not on the level of accidents or particular incidents. And in regard to viruses, I've often asked myself what might be their fundamental nature. Is it their ability to infect a host cell, to "latch on" to host cells? Is it their mutability, their ability to mutate into more survival forms of themselves? Or is it something at the root of both capacities? I'd really like to hear from a physician on this, one who is really interested in finding a solution to the problem of viruses, per se.
  23. I'm late in expressing this, but nevertheless: Congratulations, Quent and Linda!! --Jim Ashley
  24. Utopia

    Have you considered turning "Utopia" into a screenplay? Something along the lines of the 1936 film THINGS TO COME, but with the Fabian Socialism replaced by glorification of capitalism? I think audiences would respond, and possibly think: Why can't we go THERE?! Good job!
  25. The Engine

    This is my first "formal" attempt at a short story, ever. But it is still writing practice for me, so, please, if you wish to make comments, don't be gentle--be brutally honest! (Or gentle if you please. ) The theme I am trying to express in this piece is what it is that the cultural and technological progress of any civilization depends on. Here is the link: http://docs.google.com/View?docid=dgjr99hw_0s8cp3. Thank you for your input!