Always on the Side of the Egg

Five years ago, I couldn’t have told you anything about Haruki Murakami. While I was familiar with the titles of his most well-known novels, I had absolutely no knowledge of the author. I couldn’t tell you that Norwegian Wood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle or Kafka on the Shore were Japanese language novels, or even that they shared the same person.

Then, at some point, I stumbled onto the transcription of a speech he gave in acceptance of the Jerusalem Prize called Always on the Side of the Egg.. And text captured me like nothing else I had ever read. It continued to stick with me days, weeks later — bother me, even.

When a few months later I heard that his three-volume 1Q84 was being released in English as one massive 1,000 page tome, read it immediately. I devoured the book, and don’t think I had ever read anything so long so quickly. It was a dream-like experience with one foot in reality, and the other just outside of explanation.

Like his speech, 1Q84 continued to stick with me. I’ve seen excepts of the speech republished here and there online, but I think the entire text is worth reading. I’m also afraid that the original page will disappear some day, so I wanted to share the speech in its entirety:

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Diggin Up Videos

Every once in a while I’ll randomly come across a video on YouTube that strikes a cord in me, and I’ll end up coming back to it again once or twice a year. This cover of Randy Travis’s Diggin up Bones by YouTube performer (and probably dad) Kevindad123 is one of those videos. Something about it always stuck with me, and every repeat viewing seemed to confirm to me that there’s something special about this video.

Kevin’s performance is incredibly earnest, and one that’s pitch-perfect from start to finish. The tinny lo-fi digital recording setup and sparse lighting only enhance the effect the song’s “recent broken home.”

Star Warigami

Originami X-Wing

I hadn’t considered how just how perfect the Star Wars universe is for exploring origami design until I stumbled onto this collection of Star Wars origami tutorials 1.

Starwarigami has many more designs, though most of them are diagrams only — not fold-by-fold instructions.

  1. I love that the real-life Space Shuttle made the cut. 

That time Kenny Powers warned us about Pokemon

“Ex-satanist” turned “businessman” Stephen Dollins is one of those Magic is real and D&D is Satan types that take advantage of the ignorant. And he’s connecting all the dots here — from Pikachu’s satanic Z shaped tail to his discovery that the Pokemon trading card game is a product of actual wizards. Cool!

The Pokemon trading card game is a new collectible card game that is made and distributed by Wizards of the Coast. What is a Wizard? A male practitioner of black magic.

Pokemon bashing begins at 1:55:15.

Paul Dirac on religion


Mathematician Paul Dirac on religion:

If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination. It is quite understandable why primitive people, who were so much more exposed to the overpowering forces of nature than we are today, should have personified these forces in fear and trembling. But nowadays, when we understand so many natural processes, we have no need for such solutions. I can’t for the life of me see how the postulate of an Almighty God helps us in any way. What I do see is that this assumption leads to such unproductive questions as why God allows so much misery and injustice, the exploitation of the poor by the rich and all the other horrors He might have prevented.

If religion is still being taught, it is by no means because its ideas still convince us, but simply because some of us want to keep the lower classes quiet. Quiet people are much easier to govern than clamorous and dissatisfied ones. They are also much easier to exploit. Religion is a kind of opium that allows a nation to lull itself into wishful dreams and so forget the injustices that are being perpetrated against the people. Hence the close alliance between those two great political forces, the State and the Church. Both need the illusion that a kindly God rewards—in heaven if not on earth—all those who have not risen up against injustice, who have done their duty quietly and uncomplainingly. That is precisely why the honest assertion that God is a mere product of the human imagination is branded as the worst of all mortal sins.

Don’t hold back on us, Paul — tell us how you really feel.