Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dangerous, Great and Bearable

I tumbled for words at once. And, when I began to read the nursery rhymes for myself, and, later, to read other verses and ballads, I knew that I had discovered the most important things, to me, that could be ever. There they were, seemingly lifeless, made only of black and white, but out of them, out of their own being, came love and terror and pity and pain and wonder and all other vague abstractions that make our ephemeral lives dangerous, great and bearable.
from On the Words in Poetry by Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

It's About Time!

It's about time a comic strip artist dealt with the ridiculous nature of television ads these days! GOOD GRIEF!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Get Off the Ladder!

There is something wrong with the way mathematics is taught. Most people claim to hate math, but I don't think most people ever got a chance to know what Math (captial M) really is. Here is what often happens when I meet someone new:

Other person: What do you do?

Me: I teach math. :-)

Other person (after involuntarily jumping backwards 2 feet): UGH! I've always HATED math!

Well, if it makes you feel any better, let me assure you you are not alone. Most people respond to me that way.

Other person: You know, I do remember a problem my teacher showed me in 3rd grade, though, it was about getting stuff across a river, a fox, a goose and some grain, I think. I've always wanted to know how to do that problem. Can you help me with it?

Me: Well, let's think it through . . .

Fun and joyful conversation about mathematics continues at length from here.


There should be more opportunity IN the math classroom for fun and joyful conversations about mathematics, which will help alleviate individual anxiety and perhaps benefit our nation as more students might decide they like math and want to pursue it!

Friday, June 18, 2010

For All of Us

Professor Edward Burger of Williams College addressed this comment to college students, but I think it applies to anyone who cares to be a lifelong learner - and more -

. . . your education centers about the most important creative feat of your life – the creation of yourself. It is about you – creating your effective mind, a mind enlivened by curiosity with the intellectual audacity to take risks and create new ideas, a mind that sees a world of unlimited possibilities. So I ask again: Have you failed recently? If not, then what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


A friend of mine in Norway has this up as her facebook status. I love it!
What part of an inverse tangent function approaching an asymptote don't you understand?

(Sheldon - Big Bang Theory)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Wee Sleeket Beastie

... mousie, thou art no thy-lane,*
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men,
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promised joy!

Still, thou art blest, compared wi' me!
The present only thoucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
And forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess and fear!

from To a Mouse by Robert Burns (1759-1796)
"no thy-lane" means "not alone"

The last of our "wee sleeket beasties" died Friday. Her name was Oreo, and, as with her companions Munin, Hugin and Milkshake, gave us joy in her life, and we feel grief in her death.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New post on DAVID - link at right.


I love this woodcut - can't find a title or artist name, though - anybody know?

Today I tried to post more pictures to my last post, but I find my summer draws me to ponder and explore. Books I'm exploring right now are:

Is God a Mathematician? by Mario Livio
The Math Book by Clifford Pickover
The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
The Myst Reader by Rand Miller
That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Eventful Week+

Wow! What a week! We've had so many events that I want to record for family and friends at a distance to see and "participate in" from afar. I find I can't finishing posting pictures tonight and will put up a start. One major event - the one for which I have pictures up so far - is Anthony's high school graduation.

When he was little, all the "old people" in my life told me to enjoy those early years because they would go by so fast. Back when I was packing a diaper bag and getting up multiple times at night I didn't believe it, and all of a sudden - POOF - he's graduated from HS and is off to college in a couple months! I blinked and 17 years have passed! Now I guess I'm one of those old people and am passing on the same advice to young parents!

Also in the last week or so David's mom visited from Michigan, Caleb made public profession of his Christian faith, all 3 boys had a piano recital (the last for Anthony), and we had lots of parties celebrating all these events. Whew!

More pictures to come . . .

Tuesday, June 01, 2010