Sunday, May 31, 2009

Rapture and Regret


On dreams, on mathematics, and on death.
Card-catalogues turn up such heady stuff
Sometimes as this, this rapture from the depths
Which isn't where it should be on the shelf.
For a moment, remembering Borges' poor young clerk,
I idly consider writing it myself,
Setting a record for the shortest work
The world had ever seen on three such themes
Of such import as death and math and dreams.

I think of asking that a search be made,
But give it up, my French is not so great
And right now I've got plenty on my plate
Without this title turned up by pure chance
As if desinged to bait my ignorance.
And yet -- ? But I shall let this once-glimpsed fish
Swim through the deep of thought beyond my wish,
And resign myself to knowing nothing more
Du reve, de la mathematique, et de la mort.

Howard Nemerov (1920-1991)

Thursday, May 28, 2009


To speak algebraically, Mr. M. is execrable, but Mr. C. is (x+1)-ecrable.

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Monterey, California May 2009 (video)

We just got back from a quick trip to Monterey - the first time I've had a chance to get out of town so far this year. It was short but great! Check out the video above for some sea lion action. If you need relaxation check out the video below of gentle waves. Watching water is relaxing to me, so I'm posting this partly so that I can come back to it when needed!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Princess Diana and Moby Dick?

from: copyrighted by Brendan McKay (

WOW!! Herman Melville predicted the death of Princess Diana! If you click on the image above to enlarge it you will see very clear patterns with the words "Diana," "Dodi," "skid," "hearse," "royal," "Lady Diana," "mortal in the jaws of death," and even "Henri Paul!" BUT THAT'S NOT ALL!! We can also find in Moby Dick predictions of the assassinations of Indira Ghandi, Sirhan Sirhan, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and many others!! (click here) Melville was an amazing prophet!


Actually, the page at which I found the above image and information was posted in response to a challenge put out by Michael Drosnin who claims that codes in the Bible (found in patterns of letters in the Hebrew) have predicted past and do predict future assassinations. It goes without saying that there are critics of his work. In an interview for Newsweek Magazine, Drosnin said he would believe his critics if they could find a message about the assassination of a prime minister in Moby Dick. Well...they did...and then some!!

You see, given a sufficiently large collection of letters or numbers or points or events or people, there will ALWAYS be patterns (highly organized subsystems). In a large collection (like the letters in a novel) you will always find "hidden" words and patterns. The question is, are they MEANINGFUL? The answer is, "No." This is just a natural consequence of having a large group of items. Just because the patterns are not meaningful, does that mean it's not fun to play around with them - NO! It can lead to really cool, fun things such as the intriguing and adventerous National Treasure movies. This is all great fun, as long as people don't take it seriously!

As mathematician T. S. Motzkin says:

Complete disorder is impossible.

If you're interested in looking into the math behind this, it is part of the branch of mathematics known as Ramsey Theory.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Is anybody else at all concerned about anything here?
I guess rather than making assumptions about any of our purchases, even the most mundane, we should scrutinize everything very carefully.
No wonder my recipes aren't coming out well!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What a Day!

Today I gave my defense of my masters thesis. Here I am with my awesome committee members Dr. Elmano Costa, Dr. Brian Jue and Dr. Tom Carter - amazing men from whom I have learned a great deal.What an incredible thing it is to be at this point. I began this work three years ago, and a year and a half ago this month David had his stroke. In this next picture here he is standing by my side. God has certainly brought us a long way!Also with us are dear friends Lucy, Tom and Barbara who came to support me as I gave my defense.

A year and a half ago I stood in David's room in ICU the day after his stroke and let him know that I had written my professors and let them know I would probably not be finishing out the semester. David, lying there paralyzed, said immediately and with no hesitation at all, "Don't you dare!" There were some very rough days. They were rough for many reasons. Among other things was guilt I sensed, feeling I should be at his side more than I was during his recovery, but he selflessly encouraged me to continue, and here we are at such a different spot - me at the end of my particular journey, him having come a long way on his - standing side-by-side - and now also a full-time tenure-track position awaiting me in the fall. Without teamwork, God's blessing and the support of loving friends (those pictured here and many others as well) we would not be in the wonderful place we find ourselves.

We are truly blessed!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Thinking of Hugin

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven...
Ecclesiastes 3:1

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

Cecil F. Alexander (1848)

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Flora and Fauna Mid-Spring 2009

We had two massive butterfly migrations, Painted Ladies and Tiger Swallowtails both migrated thickly through our area this spring, so much so that it was hard to take even a short drive without lots of them getting squashed on the windshield. That part was a bummer, but it was so beautiful to have butterfly-filled skies for weeks. It just went on and on. I was only able to catch one up close, though.Another delightful spring experience was the particularly strong-scented orange blossoms we had this year. I wanted to keep the windows open all the time to enjoy it!Next come the glorious lilies.As much as I love my flowers I love snails too - such elegant spirals on their shells! Our weather has been very changeable - cold, warm, windy, rainy - quite a lot of variety!
I love how the greens of nature change in the varied weather and at various times of day - more or less light, but I can never capture quite what I want with the camera. Ah well, I'll keep trying. Knowing that mice are social creatures, we brought home two new friends for Hugin since her sister Munin died. Our new mice are Oreo and Milkshake. As you can see they have all accepted each other well. It's fun to see them snuggled up together. (I guess I'm not your typical woman. I like snails and mice.) Here is Oreo grooming her tail.
Though she has a tumor and is showing her age, Hugin remains active and continues to eat her favorite food - pumpkin seeds - very heartily.Oops - this is spring fauna for another post!!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Beginning of Wisdom

Proverbs 9.-10

You have brought me so far.

I know so much. Names, verbs, images. My mind
overflows, a drawer that can't close.

Unscathed among the tortured. Ignorant parchment
uninscribed, light strokes only, where a scribe
tried out a pen.

I am so small, a speck of dust
moving across the huge world. The world
a speck of dust in the universe.

Are you holding
the universe? You hold
onto my smallness. How do you grasp it,
how does it not
slip away?

I know so little

You have brought me so far.

Denise Levertov (1923-1997)

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Following Storm

Every man has a rainy corner of his life whence comes foul weather which follows him.
Jean Paul (1763-1825)