Wednesday, September 2, 2009


When I first heard someone use this image I lost it. I think it is just about perfect. I have spent twenty years getting beat with the lash of my choice between saving my ass and saving my face. It is so often true that I can't save both at the same time that I know I can cut a corner by making it a universal principle. If I say you can't EVER save your ass and your face at the same time, I will not be always right but I will score at least in the high B range. Of course if I was an effing saint, I would always pay exquisite attention and note the exceptions. Then I would only make errors when they were called for.

Errors are after all and in fact sometimes called for. I was taught years ago that Navaho rug weavers will weave quite complex patterns but there will be at least one deliberate subtle error in the pattern.

Pythagoras knew long ago that the real world will always fall short of perfection. This shows up in the perfect tuning cycle of fifths which goes sharp as you go. This fact has forced us to tune musical instruments to a special tuning called tempered tuning. If you want to play in all keys you have to tune slightly flat. We get used to this but sometimes it will stand out in one or another instrument. You can tune perfectly if all you want to do is play in a single one of the twelve keys. That will force certain other keys on your instrument to sound awful. Back before our modern tuning there was another kind of tempered tuning in use and it caused certain keys to sound different from others, brighter or darker. That meant that people composing music would choose their keys for the piece based on the timbre of the key. Sometimes orchestras will tune to the old style in order to play these pieces. Tuning slightly flat is an excellent example of a required deliberate error.


I look so cool, so
unruffled, drifting along
with the gentle flow.
I am one with things
oh yeah, unless you see red
in my eye and look
under the surface
at the furious movement
of little duck feet.

February 10, 2009 10:01 AM

What is really cool, I wrote this as is my practice in Word Pad before I went online tonight. That's when I ran into Woman In a Window's comment on yesterday's post. That was too spooky. Go there. Read it. Remember I wrote this without knowing she had visited.


  1. It is way too much work trying to be an effing saint, huh. THAT"s where I get it from, the Navajos, I myself do not like perfection, hair always in place, plants lined up in a row, bouquets in a perfect symmetry, etc. My daughter makes cards and when she makes them for me she deliberately has something out of alignment because "mom likes it that way".

  2. Perfection? I remind myself daily that only one person was ever perfect. And I'm convinced he has a sense of humor about the rest of us.

  3. Techno, I hope you don't sacrifice your own personal excellence upon the stone of imperfection. It is obvious in this world, that people excel, which in general means that most others can't tell the difference between what they do and perfect. Of course, when you operate at the master levels you also know how far short you come. That changes excellence not a whit. Jazz musicians can't work if they can't also receive their errors and spin them into the musical flow, making it seem that they meant to do that, just like cats will gracefully recover from stupid if they can.

    Karen, if God has no sense of humor I am really screwed.

  4. Teehee! This is a very good image. It takes so much effort to look cool.

  5. It is/was spooky, Christopher, and then to add to that, I just now went back and read your response and realized that the 5/8ths reference came from somewhere other than me. It came to me. I only ever saw a picture, a simple circle with a pie missing from it's head and one dot for an eye. Go to the library and read that book, K? I think you're supposed to.

    Love how cool you are...little duck feet a flutter and all.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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