Monday, July 14, 2014

Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

Since high school, Madame Bovary has been a continued source of admiration; not for the story itself─a sordid story of adultery in stagnant French provincial life─but for the author’s technical effort.

Flaubert was a daring experimenter.

Being a perfectionist in his use of language, Flaubert wasn’t happy until he presented us with a panoply of literary techniques. Similes, Zeugmas, quoted monologues, interior monologues, indirect free speech, and so forth.

But what is most fascinating to me is his invention of the literary collage. The scene of the agricultural show broke new ground and became the pattern for other novelists to pick up and perfect. Herman Broch, Virgnia Woolf, and Vargas Llosa, come to mind.

In this famous scene the reader is treated to a narration--a quartet of harmonic oscillation and titillation--in four voices─violin, viola, cello, and base: Rodolphe and Emma; the councilor; Homais; and the hum of the multitude.

Enchanted by the technique, I would pay less attention to the plot and the characters. But the creative genius he was, Flaubert prods the readers to immerse themselves in the characters and “to see” them and listen to them. In the end, we come away with a clear picture of Charles and Emma, Homais, Leon, Rodolphe, Justin, and others.

Who can forget such a languid and charistmatic adulterer? “She (Emma) corrupted him (Charles Bovary) beyond the grave."

The writing techniques I employ in this article are all explained in Mary Duffy's writing manual:

Toolbox for Writers.

Augustine, City of God
Austen J, Pride and Prejudice
Austen J, "Marriage Proposals and Me"
Austen J, Emma
Borges, The Aleph
C. Bronte, Jane Eyre
Burroughs E,Tarzan
Cervantes, Don Quijote
Chaucer, Wife of Bath
Coelho P,The Alchemist
Coyle H, They Are Soldiers
Dante, New Life
Dickens C, David Copperfield
Dostoevsky, Crime&Punishment
ConanDoyle,Hound of Baskervilles
Dubner S, Superfreakonomics

DuMaurier D, Rebecca
Ellis B. E. American Psycho
Fitzgerald S, Great Gatsby
Flaubert G, Madame Bovary
Fleming I,Doctor No
Freud S, Leonardo Da Vinci
Friedan B, Feminine Mystique
GarciaMarquez, Of Love & OtherDemons
Guerrero M,ThePoison Pill

Grass G, The Tin Drum
Harris T, Hannibal Rising
Heidegger M,House of Being
Ishiguro K, Remains of The Day
Johnson S,Rasselas
Kosinski J, The Painted Bird
Lee H,To Kill a Mockingbird
McBain Ed,Gutter and Grave
Murakami H,Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Nabokov V, Lolita
Meyer, S, Twilight
Ortega,Dehumanization of Art
Poe E A, Gordon Pym
Prose F, Reading Like a Writer
Rushdie S,Midnight Children
Sabatini R, Scaramouche
Spark M, Prime of Miss Brodie

Stendhal, Red and Black
Sterne L,Tristram Shandy
Stevenson R, Dr.Jekyll & Mr.Hyde
Stoker B, Dracula
Thackeray W,History of Pendennis
Tolstoy L, Anna Karenina
Trollope A, Autobiography
Unamuno M, Tragic Sense of Life
Voltaire, Candide
Webb J, Fields of Fire
Wharton E, The House of Mirth
Woolf V, To The Lighhouse

The secrets of 'no-doze' prose:
Mary Duffy's Sentence Openers

Lindsey Vonn after winning the Downhill World ...
Image via Wikipedia
Lindsey Vonn

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Luca Pacioli and Leonardo DaVinci: Domestic Partners

Luca Pacioli and Leonardo DaVinci--Renaissance men--were both mathematical geniuses. Leonardo was more inclined towards military engineering, while Luca towards abstract and pure math. When Pacioli included "Double Entry Bookkeeping" in his textbook, Summa de Aritmetica, which he published in 1494 (two years after Christopher Columbus landed in Santo Domingo), little did he know he would change the world.

Leonardo Da Vinci and a monk named Luca Pacioli--the inventor of Accounting (debits and credits), lived together for many years. Luca's math textbook contained the basic notions that accountants follow today: Assets equal liabilities plus owner's equity (A=L + OE); and profit equals revenues less expenses (P=R-E)

Both being college professors traveled together and stayed together at different universities. Sigmund Freud—in his study on Leonardo’s homosexuality— ignored this fact. It is a pity because Freud would have brought out factual evidence rather than speculations based on his psychoanalytic techniques. Leonardo, being much younger than Luca, has always been described at Luca's protege.

The diagrams and figures one sees in Luca'a Summa were DaVinci's drawings. They worked together as equal partners rather than the master-apprentice relations of the times.

Today with time perspective we can understand they had a homosexual relationship; in 1495 they lived together in Venice. History shows that Leonardo was summoned to court to address charges of homosexuality against him. Since the accuser did not show up, the charges were later dropped.

While billions of human beings have populated the earth, mostly living in the shadow of survival and mediocrity, the odd, the strange, and the eccentric are the ones who make the most invaluable contributions to the improvement of the human condition. These two eccentrics did make tangible contributions to mankind.

While Leonardo's accomplishments have been chronicled and documented--even Bill Gates couldn't resist owning Leonardo's original manuscripts--Luca's contributions are less known. Like our American composer Aaron Copland, I will play a fanfare for the common man: Luca by his ingenious explanation of Double Entry Bookkeeping system made possible international commerce, opening the flood-gates to what today we call "The Global Economy." No longer were businesses confined within frontiers, as banks, financial institutions, entrepreneus, and corporations, bartered, exchanged, and extracted profits across frontiers. The standardization of Financial Statements followed, so that Balance Sheets, Income Statements, and Cash Flows are read and interpreted without major impediments all over the Orb.

Yes it was a leap of imagination to design Debits (left side) and credits (right side) as an information system. But this humble discovery made Capitalism the dominant economic system in our day and age.

Because of businesses' medical benefits plans for  employees --that is, the entire labor force--both genders can now enjoy the latest technologies and thereby live longer, and in good health.

One can well imagine Luca and Leonardo discussing symmetries, contrasts, dichotomies, dualities, binary oppositions, polarities, antithesis, and other opposites:

"Physical nature exhibits all these dualities," Luca would say.
"And so does human nature," would Leonardo retort. "We carry good and evil, love and hatred, in our spirits and bodies--or as the enigmatic Greek philosopher Heraclitus loved to say: 'the way up is the way down, the narrow and the wide.'"
"What about Ecclesiastes, Leonardo--didn't he say...?"

a time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to uproot;
a time to kill and a time to heal;
a time to pull down and a time to build up;
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time for mourning and a time for dancing;

The observation of these doubles as a system of knowledge permitted Luca to expand it into the Accounting equation where what is on the left must equal what is on the right side (Assets = Liabilities + Owner's Equity). That is, two sides with two different and opposing energies, like protons and electrons whose clash generate light.

Word masters such as Cervantes, Shakespeare, and Dickens maximized the use of antithesis; hence their great literature. In A Tale of Two Cities Dickens opens his novel with a detailed set of antitheses:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--

Although philosophers such as Hegel and Karl Marx attempted to discard the antinomial system by replacing it with a triad: thesis, antithesis, synthesis. They failed; and we can understand why: Hegel professed the State's power, while Marx communism. By now we know the chaotic results of Nazism and Communism. So, the dual system prevails.

The natural tendency is duality as proved by the Second Law of thermodynamics: order and chaos (entropy). Though Nature tends to chaos, human natures imposes order; the mind invents patterns of understanding. In this light, the Double entry Bookkeeping system is a triumph of the mind over the chaotic activities of humans engaged in trade.

Luca's legacy--accounting system--to the business world is order. It contains: Balance,wholeness, and radiance, because his system dovetails with Democracy, with Freedom to the entrepreneur; a system that coincides with Adam Smith's pillars of capitalism: Laissez-faire (free market economy), competition (Invisible Hand), and the Division of labor (the innate human propensity that creates wealth for all).

This is my fanfare to the common man that was the monk Luca Pacioli.

Ch1 Accounting in Action

Ch2 Recording Process

Ch3 Adjusting the Accounts

Ch4 Completing the Accounting Cycle

Ch5 Merchandising Operations

Ch6 Inventories

Ch7 Accounting Information Systems

Ch8 Internal Control and Cash

Ch9 Accounting for Receivables

Ch10 PP&E, Natural Resources, and Intangible Assets

Ch11 Current Liabilities and Payroll

Ch12 Partnerships

Ch13 Corporations

Ch14 Corporations:Dividends, RE

Ch15 Long Term Liabilities

Ch16 Investment

Ch17 Statement of Cash Flows

Ch18 Financial Statement Analysis

Plato and Accounting

Price/Earnings Ratio

Plant Assets



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writer...with just a few lessons: Sentence Openers in

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

How to Improve Writing with Great Sentence Openers


Prepositions Followed by Present Participles (—ing) Used as Sentence Openers

Beyond locking them all into that stockade at night, there was no great precaution taken (Sabatini 63).
After doing the breakfast dishes, I rode my bike to the cleaner’s by the station (Murakami 56).
After introducing myself, I said that I was planning to marry Kumiko in the near future (Murakami 77).
Without even asking her if she cared to dance, he put out his arm to encircle her slender waist (Tolstoy, Anna Karenina 73).
On entering the study Ryabinin looked about, as his habit was, as though seeking the holy picture, but when he had found it, he did not cross himself (Tolstoy, Anna Karenina 157).
Without wasting time, he dispensed the money as well as his insidious smile (Guerrero 75).
In all of the above examples, the present participles function as the object of the prepositions.
‘Not,’ being an adverb, may be used to negate the present participle:
Not saying a word, the man in black motioned him to follow. (Stendhal, The Red and The Black 175).
Not liking to sit in the cold and darkness, I thought I would lie down on my bed, dressed as I was (C. Bronte 210).
Not looking to right or left Bill carried Haroun to the vehicle, which was drawn by two fine gray mares with silken tails and manes (Caldwell 133).
The Present Progressive tense—which is not to be confused with the present participle—  takes the form be + Verb with -ing ending.
He is chewing.
She is gossiping.
They are skating.
I am coming home.
This tense is often used to show what is happening at the time of speaking: 
Pepino is barking at the snake.
Cell phones off. The conference is starting.
And it is also used to indicate actions that occur over a period of time, including the present:
I'm playing for the Giants.
The President is working at Camp David.
How is it going? 

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Accounting Terms: Incremental Analysis and Capital Budgeting

Unit 26 -- Incremental Analysis and Capital Budgeting

Annual rate of return method
determines the profitability of a capital expenditure by dividing expected annual net income by the average investment.
Capital budgeting
 is the process of making capital expenditure decisions in business. Capital expenditures usually entail the purchasing of Plant Property and Equipment.
Cash payback
is a technique that identifies the time period required to recover the cost of a capital investment from the net annual cash flow produced by the investment.

Cost of capital
is the rate of return that management expects to pay on all borrowed and equity funds.

Discounted cash flow
is a technique that considers both the estimated total net cash flows from the investment and the time value of money.

Incremental analysis
is the process of identifying the financial data that change under alternative courses of action.

Internal rate of return (IRR)
is the rate that will cause the present value of the proposed capital expenditure to equal the present value of the expected net annual cash flows.

Internal rate of return (IRR) method
is used to find the interest yield of the potential investment.

Net present value (NPV)
The difference that results when the original capital outlay is subtracted from the discounted net cash flows.
Net present value (NPV)
is a method that discounts net cash flows to their present value and then compares that present value to the capital outlay required by the investment.
Opportunity cost
is the potential benefit that may be obtained from following an alternative course of action.
Required rate of return
is the rate that is generally based on the company’s cost of capital.
Sunk cost
is a cost that cannot be changed by any present or future decision.