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Ben St-Pierre
Works at Soeurs de la Charité
Attended University of Quebec
Lives in Montreal, QC, Canada
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Repurposing John Donne - ( #fivedaysquest  no 3).  As promised, dear reader, whoever you are, which includes +Jeni Ong, who challenged me for this quest, you will see below the Sailor Fude in action, featuring an excerpt from a swooning meditation by John Donne:

> All mankind is of one author, and is one volume [...]

I came upon this quote when a friend sent me this wonderful essay by Jonathan Lethem, entitled The Ecstasy of Influence. Lethem begins his essay by telling  some anecdotes on the theme of plagiarism, and then switches to the story of his quest to find Donne's real quote, an experience by which he came to realize that originality and appropriation may be artfully intertwined:

> I realized this forcefully when one day I went looking for the John Donne passage quoted above. I know the lines, I confess, not from a college course but from the movie version of 84, Charing Cross Road with Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft. I checked out 84, Charing Cross Road from the library in the hope of finding the Donne passage, but it wasn’t in the book. It’s alluded to in the play that was adapted from the book, but it isn’t reprinted. So I rented the movie again, and there was the passage, read in voice-over by Anthony Hopkins but without attribution. Unfortunately, the line was also abridged so that, when I finally turned to the Web, I found myself searching for the line “all mankind is of one volume” instead of “all mankind is of one author, and is one volume.”

http://harpers.org/archive/2007/02/the-ecstasy-of-influence/

The whole essay is worth reading.  I might be biased, as it corresponds to my overall take on art, and most importantly justifies my #PFFF  project.  It also confirms that my idea of writing quotes like the one below may have some independent merit too, although I have no intention to follow any calligra-fu style, like "Spencerian" +Cheri Tsuzuri, whom I thereby tag and challenge to take the #fivedayquest , does.  I can't dream to have her talent anyway.

* * *

By some serendipity, the content of the partial quote is also related to a discussion I was having with +Joerg Fliege (whom is also challenged for the #fivedayquest !) about the need to revise our citation practices:

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JoergFliege/posts/eNPbjFvgC5A

This post refers to this article, by an author that does not seem to be easily identified:

https://medium.com/advice-and-help-in-authoring-a-phd-or-non-fiction/6eb2e4a44846

My own take on this is even more radical that the one offered: I was suggesting we dispense ourselves of citing pages, and keep to citing elements that has some conceptual relevance, like chapter, section, and paragraph.  A small revolution, but one I held dear when I was teaching methodology.

In a way, I believe that John Donne is on my side.  Quite easy to say, you might contest, since my main idea was to repurpose John Donne all along.  To which I can only reply: don't blame me, blame my Sailor Fude.

May your inner zombie rejoice in chocolate overload,

Ben

#PFFF  
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Being, Eating, Earning - (PFFF ! no 20140419) After discovering that we are what we eat and that we eat what we earn, informal logicians suggest that we are what we earn.

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-11-12/you-are-what-you-eat-and-you-eat-what-you-earn

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How Much Fun Can One Have in 3 1/2 Minutes? - (PFFF ! no 20140418) More than you think:

Source: http://openinkstand.tumblr.com/post/82998283345/i-dont-know-who-made-this-but-it-was-in-the

Image: http://www.iampeth.com/books/gems_of_penmanship/gems_page32.html

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*Hmmm, Donuts* - (PFFF ! no 20140417) Diabetes specialists confer with colleagues about the effect of sugary breakfast on their own bodies. 

http://www.dietdoctor.com/breakfast-europes-biggest-diabetes-conference

#PFFF  
Judging from the breakfast served, the solution to the diabetes epidemic doesn't seem to be at the EASD, Europe's biggest diabetes conference. The problem, on the other hand, seems to be everywhere. More Today at the European Nutrition Conference in Leipzig Why Are Most Chinese People Heading Towards Diabetes? Coca Cola Sponsors Brazilian Obesity Conference Failed Attempt to Cure Diabetes at Subway Insulin, the Obesity Epidemic and a Giant Germa...
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The Milkshake Experiment - (PFFF ! no 20140414) A researcher discovered that food labels modified the beliefs we have about what we are eating, beliefs which in turn may influence our metabolisms.

#PFFF  
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fascinating.
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Bourbaki's Theorem - (PFFF ! no 20140412) In 1923, an obscure Scandinavian mathematician presents a lecture to newly minted mathematicians from the candid École Normale Supérieure. While some students claim afterwards to have understood the lecture from its beginning to its culminating point, which was the Bourbaki theorem, the whole performance was mathematical gibberish presented by Raoul Husson, who hid under a false beard.  The name of the famous group of French mathematicians thus comes from a prank.

http://www.significancemagazine.org/details/webexclusive/5321881/Bourbakis-theorem---a-hoax-math-lecture.html

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A Pen Day - ( #fivedayquest  no 2)

So here's my second episode of my my #fivedayquest , because +Jeni Ong makes me do it.

Most of my day was spent around fountain pens.  Just love fountain pens.  They love me too, as I take care of them and find them homes.  There's a website dedicated to pen nuts like me called the Fountain Pen Network:

http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/

Today was my first gathering of pen nuts in Montreal.  It was in a very cool café called Le Café l'Artère:

http://artere.coop/

We were three.  A lawyer, who has more than 20 Pelikans, a psychiatrist, who brought a boatload of magnificent pens in her sexy Franklin-Christoph pen pouch.  A day where you get to try a 1950 Pelikan 400 NN, three different Nakayas, some of which ground by John Mottishaw, a Lamy Persona, and  three Heritage 823 is a good day.

I myself brought some pens with me.  A Visconti Maxi, which always go in my Circa Junior notebook; a Sheaffer Targa and a Pelikan M200, two pens I wish to trade or sale; a Wing Sung, a replica of the Sheaffer Triumph, and a Jin Hao 599, in my opinion a better Lamy Al Star.  

I also had with me the pens I always carry in my messenger bag: a Sailor Fude, which you will see in action tomorrow; a Waterman Kultur, my favorite note taker; a Pelikan M400 oblique medium, generous and smooth.  Of course I also had my Pilot Fermo, which I use on Exacompta index cards for my Pocket Briefcase and carry in my shirt pocket, and my Stipula Passaporto, if I ever need a pen.  

Never quite get why the Nakayas were so highly praised.  Many pen nuts will tell that these are what we call grail pens, i.e. pens you seek to buy one day, and then you'll be happy to die.  After this after noon, I have a better idea why.

These are wonderful pens to hold.  The nib is fantastic, both sharp and smooth.  Artful, minimal design.  It's like holding the essence of life into your hands.  Holding such a pen gives your soul a purpose: to become a pen holder.  The Heritages were not bad either.  Come on, Ben: they were amazing.  The one with the soft Falcon nib was quite impressive.  This nib is not really flex, but softer than the usual nibs.  It has an expressivity and an elegance that I truly want in my life.

* * *

So this was my afternoon.  This evening, at work, I spent my time looking for how to grind nibs.  I think I want to become a nibmeister. Or a nibpatzer.  Whatever.  To be able not only to smooth nibs, but to create italic nibs, stub nibs, to unbend nibs, to do all the things a nibmeister do.  Competition will be fierce, though.  There's not a single one in Canada. 

Just now, a friend just gave me a small token of appreciation because I helped him manage an online crisis.  So I sent another pen nut if his MontBlanc Monte Rosa was still for sale.  And soon the Edison Collier will come by mail.

Life is good to me.  Not as much as life is good to +Rachel Martin , because she just has been poked for the five days quest.  But still, life is good.  So here's a video of a Nakaya in action.  Please do not mind the libertarian crap.  Or do, and join the online fight against what has become today's marxism.

Happy Easter, 

Ben

#PFFF  
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egad, another beautiful post.  thank you.  and cool shout out to Howard Roark on the clip.
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#fivedayquest  no. 1 - And then +Jeni Ong tagged me to follow up on her astronautical take on this exercise, an exercise in which I'm supposed to tell you about my daily quests.  

Don't know why I accepted this quest.  I don't like to talk about me much.  So I won't.  Picture me as a good Samaritan.  There does not seem to be much Samaritans left: around 800, if we believe thy Wiki [1].  So I guess we're screwed.

Meanwhile, I don't feel bad about the fact that we're basically screwed.  As if we were supposed to live forever and ever and to reach for the stars or something.  Mammals, we're mostly mammals.  That and fruit flies, I've been told, a species that like a banana more than time, which is more like an arrow. 

I like telling jokes that are not really funny.  And to tell them over and over again.  Here, in Québec, we have this very old joke: a guy walks on a bridge and meets another man; that man had long hair, but it did not bothered him.  

Me and one my my best buddies (let's call him Chris Mess because we can) have imagined that all the good stories ever told had the same structure.  So we tried to transpose everything in it.  It works, at least insofar as people remain interested in the idea.  And even when they don't, it still works for me.  

One day, I might very well write a whole book with short stories about a guy who walks to a bridge.  For now I was supposed to write about my passion for fountain pens and calligraphy.  I even found this very cool quote by The Dude:

> Hey, careful man. There's a beverage here.

Unsurprisingly, The Dude has long hair.  Not that I mind.  But speaking of a great mind, here's +Ralph Stoever, which I believe will not mind me tagging him to do that #fivedayquest , and to whom I say ICH LIEBE DICH, TABARNAK [2]!

Let's just hope the One Who Does Not Play Dice kept a good reboot backup.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samaritans

[2] V. PFFF ! no 20140402 
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+BenStPierre/posts/6pjHpyGqmvM

Photo: http://openinkstand.tumblr.com/post/80679894726/yeah-well-you-know-thats-just-like-your
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Jeni Ong's profile photoBen St-Pierre's profile photoRalph Stoever's profile photo
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Everything can be marvellous....out of context
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Chess Discussion  - 
 
Kings and Queens are misplaced, but we should be lenient on super creatures that may smash us on a whim.
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But gotta give em a little credit. They did manage to get the white square on the bottom right haha. 
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Rush - (PFFF ! no 20140413) Researchers discovered that Oreos could be as addictive to rats and me than cocaine.

http://youtu.be/DB4gwgtad5g

#PFFF  
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People
Have them in circles
2,661 people
Work
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Puppet of many masters.
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Reads, writes, executes, archives.
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Pfff!
Introduction
Lovely You,

This G+ stream mostly contains the English version of a project called PFFF!, a French interjection akin to "pfft". The name is also an acronym which stands either for Paquet de Faits, de Figures et de Formules, i.e. "a bunch of facts, figures, and formulas" or Pensées sous Forme de Fiches Futiles, i.e. "thoughts under the form of futile entries". You can sift through them by searching with the tag #PFFF.

The project started as a mailing list sent to close friends, est. 2006. My original intent was to do something with the ideas I collected through the years on index cards and in notebooks: anecdotes, quotes, factoids, etc. I may have more now than I ever had.

***

To know if we share some affinities, here's a list of what I believe are my interests and disinterests.

Primary interests -- cognition, metaphilosophy, poetry, rhetoric, social justice.

Secondary interests -- economy, ethology, psychology, typography.

Tertiary interests -- anthropology, biology, communication, logic, theology.

Desinterests -- lol catz, business talk, gamer's games, synthetic photography, indulging self-help, unelegant self-promotion, tech news.

* * *

The mailing list format means I post once a day, perhaps twice when I absolutely must reshare a post. I suggest you do the same: tweet like you would be tweeted, plus like you would be plussed, or else I might not follow you. 

This project also implies I do exactly the opposite of what Guy Kawasaki [1] says we should, which is to provide free, original content. If everyone but me followed Guy's suggestion, you'd be all posting my PFFFs.  

If you prefer to receive a PFFF ! in your inbox from 3 to 6 times a week, please send me a private message.

* * *

My personal archives contain thousands of entries, most of which have not being published on my G+ stream. I don't know how many  there are actually. The numbering system does not help me count them, as it follows an ISO dating scheme for the purported shipping date. 

I don't care much to count the PFFFs as the project seeks to become a kind of Book of sand:

> A fictionalized version of Borges himself meets an elderly Scottish Bible seller, who hands him a cloth-bound book that he bought in India called The Book of Sand, "because neither the book nor the sand has any beginning or end". Upon opening the book, Borges is shocked to discover that the book, which is written in an unknown language and occasionally punctuated by illustrations, is in fact infinite: if one turns the pages, more pages seem to grow out of the book.


***

Once upon a time, I built a Posterous for the project, but got tired of editing the Markdown carriage returns. Then I built a tumblog, but got tired of the strange Tumblr URLS. Then I built a Wordpress site, which was becoming kinda neat, but got tired of rebuilding the database after the site got hacked.

So here I am, on G+. 

---

[1] To whom I wish Guy all the happiness offshore paradises can provide:

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A good Samaritan (photo by Philippe Ducros). A decent conversationalist. Taurus ASC Sagitarius. Fierce ISTP. Dude since 2013-12-01. Member of the G Peace Circle.
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  • University of Quebec
    philosophy, cognitive sciences, 2013
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Benoit
Ben St-Pierre's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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