Archive for the ‘My life’ Category

Six doodles

August 18, 2016

Another unearthing: a folder of doodles from 15-20 years ago, saved for use in collage-making. Here are six, arranged into a composition:

Created during faculty meetings and paper presentations, on handouts or notepaper, in several distinct but related styles. Ephemeral art.


Gross and flying penguins, Barsotti and flying squirrels

August 15, 2016

Unearthed in today’s clearing out of material piled up in a cabinet, two New Yorker cartoons: a Sam Gross (published in the 9/4/95 issue) in which a penguin achieves flight, a Charles Barsotti (published in the 8/12/96 issue) in which squirrels question whether they are in fact flying squirrels (there are tree squirrels, ground squirrels, flying squirrels, and questioning squirrels — TGFQ):



If you try harder, you might succeed; and if you give it a try, you might discover your identity.


Collatz days

August 11, 2016

Every so often, things coincide. In the last couple of days, Jeff Shaumeyer relayed on Facebook an 8/9 posting on Jason Kottke’s blog with a delightful video about the Collatz Conjecture, and then a day later I got a phone call from Greg Huber at UC Santa Barbara about this very same conjecture in number theory and its possible connection to a paper Steve Isard and I wrote 46 years ago (in previous lives) on “one-symbol Smullyan systems”. And there’s an xkcd:

(#710 from 3/5/10)


The old curiosity shelf

August 9, 2016

Art, crafts, bits of my life.

I’ve been sorting through things, clearing things out, all the while compressing three offices with five desks in them to one office with, well, three desks in it (desks have lots of useful drawers). So far I have given or thrown away an immense amount of memorabilia (including about half my collection of penguiniana), but I’ve also unearthed, or brought out of dark corners, assorted bits of artwork, silly stuff, personal treasures of Jacques’s and mine, and the like — and I now have some shelves and surfaces in visible spots where they can be displayed. My cabinets of curiosities, my old curiosity shelves, my shelves of wonder.

Here are two shelves (from a set of five) in the main room of my Ramona St. house. A somewhat dark photo (from Kim Darnell’s phone), but it will give you the idea:



Ianto Jones

August 7, 2016

The name of a major character in the British science fiction tv series Torchwood, interesting here because of his name; his Welshness, reflected in his name; the particular brand of sexuality he exhibited in his passionate relationship with the lead character in the show, Captain Jack Harkness; and the port city of Cardiff, the capital of Wales and the background for all this.

Photo gallery first: Ianto Jones on the job for the Torchwood Institute:


Then Ianto (left)and Jack (right) locked in their first kiss:


And Gareth David-Lloyd, the actor who played Ianto, looking cute:


(John Barrowman, who played Jack Harkness, goes happily shirtless all the time, and has been featured in that state on this blog, but Gareth David-Lloyd seems to have scrupulously kept his shirt on in front of cameras.)


Taking things literally

August 3, 2016

(It starts in a candy store and eventually works back to my grade school years.)

A recent One Big Happy has Ruthie trying to buy some candy:


Well, it’s called penny candy, but that’s just its name, not a description. You can’t take the name literally.


Garden moments

July 15, 2016

Today’s Calvin and Hobbes in my comics feed:


In the land of sentient plants.

Meanwhile, I’ve been laboring on getting my little container garden in hand, after a decade of devastation, neglect, and drought. Into the land of vegetative reproduction (cymbidiums,geraniums / pelargoniums, coleus / plecranthus) and nurturing some gift plants (two succulent gardens, kalanchoe, penstemon, and hydrangea).



July 13, 2016

On Sunday I went to shapenote singing (2-4, at the Unitarian Universalist Church in south Palo Alto), for the first time in two or so years. Much trepidation, but I manasged reasonably well, especially in the early (“warm-up”) songs, which were so familiar I could sing the shapes and the verses without looking at the book. Tremendous expense of energy, as I was singing full-out, so I was done in after two hours, but happy.

Of the several possibilities for a closing song, we did one of the “new songs” (new to the 1991 edition of the (B.F. White) Sacred Harp): 347, “Christians, Farewell”, reproduced here (with permission) from the book:


(Click to enlarge the image.)

Hamrick adapted the text of #621 in Benjamin Lloyd’s 1841 Primitive Hymns, and more recently Caroline Bonnet supplied a one-verse secular text.


Notes on my father

June 29, 2016

I have a backlog of Fathers Day postings, which have been impeded by the labors of contracting my belongings into a small space. A process that unearthed reminders of my dad. In more or less reverse order: the original Arnold M. Zwicky on vacation; the nameplate from his desk at work (as a public health officer); and plates from a wonderful wildflower book he picked up in Switzerland in his youth.


An offer (the first of several)

June 15, 2016

I’m in the midst of a gigantic divestment / divestiture of belongings, designed to reduce the contents of two highly packed condos (including a truly gigantic library) to one relatively uncluttered one, preserving the things I think I’ll want to use in the scholarly life left to me (I am an old man). More on this below.

But here, an offer of a collection of CDs with performances of musicals (about 50) and with movie soundtracks (about 15).  Get your show tunes and soundtracks!  Just pay for the shipping.



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