Sunday, October 31, 2010

His Kingdom is Forever

I missed singing this today, so am posting it instead:
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Set Daily Puzzle

I just found one of my favorite games online in a solitaire version. The game is Set and is made up of cards having 4 attributes: color, shape, shading and number. There may be 1, 2, or 3 shapes on the card. The shapes may be diamonds, ovals or squiggles. The shading may be solid, lined or open. And the color may be green, red or purple.

The goal is to find sets of three cards that, for each characteristic are all the same or all different. For instance, the column on the left above contains a set because all three cards have the same color but all have a different number of items, a different shading, and a different shape. The second column from the left is not a set because although they all have the same color and the same number, there are two open figures and also two diamonds (not all three the same and not all three different with these last 2 attributes). Remember, for each attribute you must have three matches or three differences. How many sets can you find in this image?

There is a new game posted daily at:
I know I'm going to be checking in on this!

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Bright Light Has Gone Out

A colleague approached me today and asked if I had heard that Mandelbrot had died. Though I only met him once I feel I've lost a friend. Benoit Mandelbrot was a French mathematician who founded the field of fractal geometry - one of my favorite branches of mathematics. The field is innovative, applicable and beautiful. He was often interviewed for science programs, and I am posting a link to a NOVA presentation in which his life and work are explored (click at bottom of post). Even if you are not a math person, this is a presentation I highly recommend. To me he was not just a great mathematician but a great person who got outside the box and looked beyond the received wisdom of his day to bring together something truly ground-breaking that enriches us all.

Click here to view video.

His obituary from the American Mathematical Society can be found at the following link:

Sunday, October 17, 2010


With all the flies in our area this autumn, and David swatting them left and right, I can't stop thinking about poetry involving flies!


As flies to wanton boys are we to th' gods,
They kill us for their sport.

King Lear Act 4, scene 1


Little Fly,
Thy summer's play
My thoughtless hand
Has brush'd away.

Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?

For I dance
And drink & sing:
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.

If thought is life
And strength & breath
And the want
Of thought is death;

Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.

from Songs of Experience 1794

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Bit of Fall Stuff 2010

We've had some crazy weather out here in CA this year - kinda chilly this summer, which bummed me out because it's the first year we've had a pool - and rather hot this fall, now that I don't have time to swim! - but we've had some beautiful skies:
As of this month we've been in our "new" house for a year - really enjoying it and just thinking a lot right now of friends and family who helped us with that move at that very busy time last year!

It's very cozy...
...and very pretty......and our bulbs transplanted from the old house are finally making an initial showing......and our boys, more and more, are growing into young men! (Where's my baby?)
Last week something really amazing happened. People used to talk about "random acts of kindness." I hadn't seen that phrase recently, but I experienced not one but two of them in the same day! I was out for a quick walk - very short and totally on a whim - before going to work, and a woman waiting for her bus to take her to her day school struck up a conversation with me and then handed me a flower and wished me a good day! My whole heart was just smiling all day! (Oh, and her name was "Anjelica" - pronounced the Spanish way - halfway home I realized that's from the same root as "angel." I think she was.)And then I went to teach, and after my Math 10 class - last class of the day - I found two Hershey's Dark candy bars in my bag that a student had dropped in anonymously. Below is what remains. I feel inspired to go out and do random acts of kindness too now!
And I went and got prettied-up today - an unsual event for a tom-boy like me - threading (Ooo...ouch!) and a haircut.
So that's what's going on around here this fall (in my life anyway).

Thursday, October 14, 2010

In the Connecting Tube

Parts of an Hourglass

Connecting Tube

A narrow tube connects the bulbs to allow the sand to flow between the bulbs. The tube is made of the same material as the bulbs, whatever it may be.

More to come (after more sand falls).

A bit more sand has fallen - though not enough to finish this yet, but a television commercial is right along the same lines:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What We Need

Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.

Wendell Berry (b. 1934)

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Better Spent


Grook in answer to a long explanatory letter

In view of your manner
of spending your days
I hope you may learn,
before ending them,
that the effort you spend
on defending your ways
could be better spent on
amending them.

Piet Hein (1905-1996)

Friday, October 01, 2010

Artprize - Shimmering Stones

I wish I could be in Grand Rapids right now to take in Artprize (September 22-October 10). In 192 venues in downtown GR the work of 1713 artists is displayed. The pubic votes on their favorites, and the winner is announced October 7. The photograph above, by Bill Vriesema, is part of one of the displays that caught my eye online. You can view others by clicking Artprize. All sorts of art - big and small - painting and sculpture - you name it - is part of this - and you can vote for your favorites online!