Bruce's Blog

Strongman Arguments

We have all heard of a straw-man argument: represent your opponents case as weakly as possible, then knock it down.

I'm now a big fan of strongman arguments: start any argument by representing your opponent as strongly as you can. The first thing it says is you take your opponent seriously. And that you take your own thoughts on the matter seriously, too. You have thought it over deeply, looked sharply at both sides, and have cogent and expressible reasons why you believe as you do. It lifts the argument, and creates a aura of respect sorely lacking in ideological arguments these days.

Doki Doki

I have a game called Doki Doki Universe. It's about a robot trying to learn to be huan so it won't be melted down. A red balloon loves him.

Part of the game is a personality quiz. I just played it agian, and here is the result for me:

(Extreme) Casual: You prefer small casual groups to big ones. You have close friends.

(Extreme) Leader: You are feeling in charge. You are used to being a leader.

(Very) Baby secure: You are comfortable and secure with babies and family.

(Very) Sensitive: You're naturally empathetic and understand the feelings of others.

Romantic: You're looking for love, and attracted to the inner qualities of others.

Culture lover: You like foreign culture, and stories about people.

59% Yin (gentle and loving, creative and artistic), 41% yang (powerful and confident, analytical and logical)

5/6 Free spirit, 2/6 Realist: Artist Type, You prefer open-ended experiences to highly structured ones. Your creative mind makes you a natural artist.

4/6 Adventurous, 3/6 Careful: Energetic Adventurer, you dive right into new situations with energy and enthusiasm. You make decisions quickly and intuitively. You're a natural traveler. 

4/6 Playful, 3/6 Responsible: Shy Comedian, You have a great sense of humor but you're a bit shy and only share it with your friends. Others don't know how funny you are.

5/6 Gentle, 2/6 Strong: Gentle Giant, You are gentle and easy-going and you avoid conflict. Most others don't realize that you have unusual power.

6/6 Sweet, 1/6 Tough: Sweetheart Angel, You are truely a saint.  You're sweet and caring and nothing seems to upset you. You live to love, and you love everyone.

4/6 Confident, 3/6 Humble: Well-adjusted Ego, you are blessed with a well-balanced ego. This makes you well-suited to teaching.  Your friendships last a long time.

5/6 Romantic, 2/6  Shy: Flirtatious type, you flirt without even realizing that's what you're doing. People get crushes on you and you don't even know it.

4/6 Mellow, 3/6 Hyper: Good Listener, you can jam when you need to but mostly you move at a thoughtful pace. You are a very good listener.

6/6 Satisfied, 1/6 Rebellious: Dependable, you are very consitent and dependable. You are a rock of stability. You have a clear sense of purpose.

5/6 Extrovert, 2/6 Introvert: Outgoing, You're comfortable in groups and meet new people easily. Your  positive energy often makes you the center of attention.

6/6 Sensitive, 1/6 Celebrity: Empathetic Genius, you're highly tuned into the feelings of others. You may even be somewhat psychic. You would make an excellent counselor.

Vandalism or Art?

I was out for a walk to day and came across this stencil in Lion's Park, Grandview neighborhood, in Provo. I liked finding it here.

But I recognize it's a form of vandalism. I once found a chalk picture of van Gogh's Starry Night on a bridge next to Provo River. I liked that, too. I think I'm struggling with the difference between vandalism, which I really don't like, and these sorts of honest efforts to add beauty to the urban landscape. undefined

With the stencil, I should say that if the stencil were created by the one who applied it, I think of it as art. If it was purchased, then it's graffiti. Strange, what a small difference might mean.



Koyaanisquatsi (1982) is a film. It's also an experience, and an album, and a study in photography.

I watched Koyaanisquatsi again yesterday. It is as fresh an experience as when I first saw it on PBS back in 1984 or so. It was shown on American Experience, I think. I only saw the last half of the movie, but the effect on me was profound and mesmerizing. My mind lit up. It met some need in me to see the world differently.

The film is images and music. Nothing else. There is no narration, no plot (other than the ebb and flow of nature and humanity). The beauty of nature. The destruction of nature by man, which is also beautiful.  The magnificent beauty of man. It's all there for you to find. You won't be told what to think. Even in the editing there is no poltical statement or meaning. It presents mankind to you. To admire, or to despise, as you wish.

During production Francis Ford Coppola asked to see the film. The producers showed it to him, and he said it was a film which needed to be made. I saw it the same way that day. It needed to be made. Nothing like it was attempted since Charles and Ray Eames film work in the 1960's and 1970's, but this was done perfectly, It was done right. The Eames work, like "Powers of Ten" hints at the greatness which is possible on film, but doesn't quite deliver. In Koyaanisquatsi the director, Godfrey Reggio, and the cinematographer/cameraman, Ron Fricke, pull it off. The feeling is right, and the footage is interesting, astounding (United Boeing 747's anyone?), meaningful. Seriously, I still cheer during the film. At many spots. The tilt shot of the keystoned glass wall of a building as clouds roll by in its windows. The full moon moving behind a modern skyscraper. The tops of clouds rolling like waves through a mountain pass. All the wonderful nighttime footage of cities in motion.

And the music! Philip Glass writes minimalistic orchestrations, repeating phrases, simple melodies, which perfectly accent the images. I can listen to his music driving through the southwest and it's like I'm in a second version of the film. One of the most remarkable experiences I've had while driving the going south on US 666 to Gallup, New Mexico, driving past the barren desert last the lone and symmetric power lines, while listening to Glass' music as the afternoon sun brought a golden glow to the landscape. It was a perfect moment.

If you get a chance to watch Koyaanisquatsi on a quiet afternoon, please do. And invite me over. And if you want to see it, invite yourself over to my house. I'd love to watch it with you.








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