Archive for the ‘Life Story’ Category

mis en abyme


i’ve been doing more shelving lately
even than usual… even unto moving
around actual shelves. whereupon,
strictly speaking, one is “decorating”
(rather than “shelving”, rightly so-
-called). but, then again. “all the
arts are one art”, as the saying goes
(or eventually will, if i get my way).

anyhow, here’s a shot about stuff about
the former “jugoslavia” (Југославија).
also some random furniture and whatnot.
you can see the mac whose built-in camera
took all three shots (in about the middle
of the mirror). here‘s a shot from
2010 with a different macbook & camera.


the way we live now

get away from me with your phony sympathy
i can see what you want in your eyes…
get away from me with your lies
(2009; now with much smarmy spam).




adage confirmed


there is, indeed, one more fly
caught in the honey here than
in the entire collection of flies
i’ve ever caught in vinegar. also,
by one of those weird coincidences,
there’s a vinegar bottle right next
to the inverted honeybear. if the
lid had been airtight, all the goop
would’ve settled to the bottom with-
out making it quite so *damn* far… and
wasting a bunch of food and a little
time. and a fly, of course.

skynet wins; lifeforms lose.
so what. serves ’em right.

meanwhile. i’m still trapped
in this stinking painful “body”
until the payoff. so what.

(more embarrassing whining
edited out here a few hours
after the original posting
of this piece)

seven times seven (e.g.)

7 principles (UU) the hymnal
7 days (_genesis_ & dylan) gods & traditions
7 seals (& churches; _revelation_) pointless lies
7 planets (& 7 “sisters” [“pleiades”]) science & mysticism
7 ages of man (_as_you_like_it [act 2, scene 7]) whining schoolboy; mere oblivion
7 deadly sins (dylan again [wiburys]; PALEGAS) i’m confident, you’re proud, he’s arrogant
7 colors (ROYGBIV & MRBGPYO) i have no idea what this means; leave me alone

too many is never enough

7 notes of the (major scale)

big theme: arts & sciences
(we UU’s are print junkies;
our strength & our weakness)

7 dwarves of _snow_white_ (who knows?)

(more self-pitying drivel cut here)

skynet permitting

i’m planning on a campus trip monday
so look for me at bernie’s afterwards.
i might even stay for the monday medley.
anyhow, *i’ll* plan on banging around
a bit out on the smoker’s deck or what-

about the author

Photo on 2014-04-07 at 02.45

i’m going to SPACE next week.

it’s columbus ohio, so the list
narrows down pretty quick:
the “arnold classic”, SPACE,
and, um, let’s see… there
*must* have been something

“ameriflora”, maybe, in your
dreams. “miracle mile”, back
from the “miracle” days of
the long-gone late-great
thriving american working class
that shopped (until it dropped)
there. no. never mind.

the chief attraction of columbus
for *me* is that this is where
i *am* (moving around… or
even moving *stuff* around…
is *much* harder than they’d
have you believe…; & of course
the *next* best thing about
columbus is that *madeline*
lives here (and our happy home
*is* our happy home, much to
my surprise). and *staying*
here keeps me this way (happy).
it’s (1) cold (2) cruel
world (3) out there.

the (very existence of)
the billy ireland museum is,
enough to put columbus *somewhere* on
the comics “map”… and there’s already
a better list of local-and-quasi-nearby
talent at the “space” site… so let
me just give a shout-out to ray (!!) t
and “max ink” (still working as far as
i know); one more for glen brewer (even
though i think glen has quit the scene;
his _askari_hodari_ was, for me, very
much a local highlight).

everybody knows about _bone_;
it won’t escape my notice here
that the astonishing paul hornschemeier
lived here, too, when he was getting
started and i met him (and he drew
a cover for my zine gratis… eat
your hearts out). in fact, ghod
*bless* columbus. good night.

i’ve typeface-ized the “formula” stuff
but the point here is the english.
tonight i encountered the passage

Since there are (p-1)/2 quadratic residues & 1^2, 2^2, …, [(p-1)/2)]^2 are all the residues, we need to show that the quadratic residues modulo p are all distinct…

and, after much wailing and gnashing
of teeth, decided that the best spin
i could put on it would be
to *omit* the first “the*
and to replace the second “the”
with “these”:
Since there are (p-1)/2 quadratic residues & 1^2, 2^2, …, [(p-1)/2)]^2 are all residues, we need to show that these quadratic residues modulo p are all distinct…

(which “works” in its context
as the original passage certainly
does *not*).

they should give medals for this kind
of copyediting. this is *hard work*.
not that it does anyone any *good*,
mind you…

today’s writing project.
i played guitar (and even talked a little)
in church today, too, so it’s been
a pretty productive day for a sunday.
(i suppose. now that i think about it,
monday morning deadlines have led me
to many a *highly* productive sunday
here at the grading table. and grading
is the actual *work*…)
Let f(x) = x^3 + x + 57.
(Find all x s.t.
f(x)\equiv 0 (mod 125).
Since 125=5^3, we begin by working “mod 5”:
f(0) = 57 == 2
f(1) = 59 == 4
f(2) = 67 == 2
f(3) = 87 == 4
f(4) == f(-1) == 50 == 0 (mod 5).

So f has exactly one “mod-5 root”
(namely 4) and we consider
f'(4) = 3(4)^2 + 5 = 21 == 1 \not == 0 (mod 5).
This means that 4 is a *non-singular* root.

Hensel’s Lemma (HL)
now tells us that there is
exactly one root of f (mod 125).
But now, since
f(4) = 4^3 + 4 + 57 = 125,
we are done:
is the *only* solution to f(x)==0 (mod 125).
Let g(x) = x^3 + 10x^2 + x + 3.
(Find all x s.t.
g(x)\equiv 0 (mod 27).
Since 27=3^3, we begin by working “mod 3”:
g(2)==2 (mod 3).
Next, we’ll compute g'(x) = 3x^2 + 20x + 1
and evaluate it at each of our “mod 3” roots:
g'(0) =1 and g'(1) = 24 == 0 (mod 3).

The root at 1 is *singular*
(so “HL” isn’t helpful).
If “1” were lifted to a mod-9 root, x,
we would have x \in {1 +k*3} = {1, 4, 7}.
g(1) = 15 == 6,
g(4) = 231 == 1, and
g(7) = 843 == 6 (mod 9),
so there is *no* mod-9 root of f
satisfying x == 1 (mod 3)
(and so certainly no such mod-27 root).

The root at 0 is *non*-singular.
Since g'(0) = 1, its “mod-3 inverse” is
\bar{g'(0)} = 1.
“Plugging in” on “Hensel’s Formula”
(we have a_j = a_1 = a = 0;
our “f” is called “g”)
a_{j+1} = a_j – f(a_j)\bar{f'(a)}
(Display 2.6 of [NZM]) gives us
a_2 = 0 – 3(1) == -3 == 6 (mod 9).

Repeating the process,
a_3 = a_2 – g(a_2)\bar{g'(a)}
a_3 = 6 – 585(1)
a_3 = -579
a_3 = -(21*27 + 12).
a_3 == -12 == 15 (mod 27).
Our one-and-only solution
to f(x)==0 (mod 27) is x = 15.

(The result checks readily
[a calculator is helpful]:
f(15) = 5643 = 209*27 == 0 (mod 27).)

dad was a magician.

by the time i knew him, he was also
a life-of-the-party singer-&-piano-player;
also an outstanding classroom lecturer.
so quite the performer all-around.

but he’d been a magician early on.
and he must’ve studied hard back there
in radio days, cause he was *real* good.
(he’d even made a little money at it.)

close-up card magic
seems to’ve been a specialty; any-
how, that’s the stuff he showed me
(& my brother & sister, natch).

he’d rattle off the patter just right
and get you all involved in the story
as he showed the cards, and we’d cut
the deck when so instructed and never
see a single false move… but he was
sure *making* ’em: one of our favorites
involved palming cards, dealing seconds,
several “passes” of the cards (bottom
stack to top stack: a very basic move
in card magic), and a few other such
tricks, all with you looking right at
his hands practically the whole time.

and then, right where you *don’t* expect ’em,
ace, ace, ace, ace. wow!

but then we’d, as it were, go backstage.
and he’d show me how the behind-the-scene
card manipulations worked. and he’d always
tell me beforehand that a real pro
“never tells the secret”
(or some such language; i can’t claim
perfect accuracy here… sooner or later,
you forget *everything* [and don’t you
forget it!]).

so. of course i was very pleased to’ve been
let in on the secrets and even studied up
on ’em a little now and then as if to prove it.
my best move was a back-palm “vanish”;
my “pass” always left much to be desired.
i worked with a “stacked deck” a little
until i could do a few decent stacked-deck
“tricks”. stuff like that.

but my (younger) brother nathan took it
much more seriously and was already
a pro performer in teen years.
most, maybe all, of his magic gigs
were at kids’ parties (where the actual
paying clients were parents, of course).
i saw many a “dress rehearsal” of his act
but never saw him working with the kids.

and *me*, he’d “tell the secret”;
how to work the rings, the “dove bag”,
the thumb tip, the scarves…
but you can be darn good and sure
he didn’t show the *kids* how to
“do the magic”.

because it just *ain’t magic* once
its audience understands it. and because,
like i said, he was already a pro…
and that’s just not the way a pro does it.

now, there was this whole episode
of _house_ wherein a magician patient
carries on a series of discussions
with the scientist main character;
the patient says “it’s better *not*
to know” and the doctor says “it’s
better to know”.

i cite this story to prove, as it were,
that this “real magicians don’t tell”
business is fairly well-known.

now, i’ve always leaned pretty strongly
in the direction of better-to-know.

i don’t like *being* fooled
and i don’t like having somebody think
*i’ve* fooled *them*. (actually *having*
fooled them is another story of course…
but of this i know but little.)

but, as i slowly began to learn, it’s
not just *magic* where “never show
anyone how it’s done” is a crucial
part of the art.

no, it’s show-don’t-tell in fiction,
it’s faking-’em-out in sports,
it’s the “poker face” in cards.
and on and on it goes.
it’s life itself: “never let anyone
outside the family know what you’re
thinking” (as don corleone has it).

and a lifelong ideal of “radical honesty”…
something along the lines of “say what
you mean as clearly as you can whenever
you feel safe doing it”, an ideal i’ve
espoused many times and for a *long* time…
well, it’s probably been much more of
a weakness than a strength.

not that i intend to change on this account.
(i’m heck-yes proud to be able to report
that my last wife told my current girlfriend,
about nine years ago: “he’s not husband
material… but he won’t lie to you”.
i seem to have done at least *one* thing right.)
just something, like i say, that i feel
myself slowly coming to *understand* a little

according to the “saint francis prayer”
(here’s last sunday’s ramble),
i’d do much better to try and understand
the other guy instead of buttonholing
the poor bastard for some endless
greybeard-loon rambling by me, always
hoping to have *been understood* at last.
and maybe if i didn’t go around radiating
self-doubt in every direction, it would
become somewhat easier to get a *job*.
so on, so forth.

now let us turn our attention to the question
of “introducing standard mathematical notations
to beginners”….

i’ve just signed up for the math circle institute.
so i’m rereading out of the labyrinth
(here’s jesse johnson’s review in the notices)
and looking around a little on the web.

two old blogpals i’ve never yet met
are also planning to be there; here are
relevant posts by sue van hattum and jd2718.

and another favorite blogger, ben blum-smith,
went back in ’09.
and, wow, kate nowak’s been there too.
and, double wow… i nearly forgot…
michael goldenberg (i’ve “known” him
longest of all… anybody remember mathedu?).

there’ve been math circles both here
in columbus and back home in bloomington.