Happy Anniversary to Me

Dave and Dan in Brooklyn

I’m sure that I don’t deserve it, but yesterday, Anne called me a varlet and a pincock. On our anniversary, I might add. She was searching for new expletives and she didn’t want to sound like her mother. (Well, I’m certainly not going to touch that last part.) A varlet in modern usage is simply a valet and if she want’s to walk all over me and treat me like a common servant, well, who am I to say no? But in Shakespearian English, a varlet is a despicable man, which is not what I am. I don’t even recall why she went down this path. As I’ve said, I’m sure that I don’t deserve this. But if she want’s to call me a varlet then so be it. It’s water off this duck’s back.

What I do take exception to is pincock, which isn’t even an expletive, although it certainly sounds like one. The only references I could find on Google was as a family name. If you ask me, this opens up a whole new can-of-worms for those people, but that’s not at all germane here. To put it in a more modern context, for you tech savvy readers out there in internet-land, it’s like she’s giving a one-star Yelp review of me in bed. This isn’t fair, because as the reader can plainly see, there are two fruits from our once blissful marriage. So, I think that I deserve at least a two-star Yelp review. Continuing with this pseudo technology, fake sex diatribe, all this repudiation of me, just makes me feel micro-soft.   

On Te Voit

On Te Voit, Ken Meaux

On the day before we set off on our bicycles for Cycle Zydeco, we explored Lafayette, LA. First, we went downtown, where the setup for the town’s zydeco music festival was well underway. We also found the Acadian Cultural Center, a national monument, on the outskirts of town. In its museum, which celebrated the history of Cajun culture were artifacts from colonial times to the present. I particularly enjoyed the etymology of the word Cajun. 

  • L’Acadie – French colony in eastern Canada, now Nova Scotia
  • Acadien – Resident of Acadie. Exiled by the British, many eventually resettled in southern Louisiana.
  • Cadien – Simplified pronunciation of Acadien. Often applied to other Louisiana French cultures as well.
  • Cajun – English language pronunciation. Used for any descendant of Louisiana’s French-speaking melting pot.

Acadian Cultural Center


In other news, I fixed the Prius! It wasn’t exactly a monumental endeavor, but I am rather proud of my achievement. On our trip to Florida, the rear passenger window was smashed in a break-in. We got the window fixed on the road, but later, we discovered that you couldn’t open that door from the inside. It wasn’t the child safety locks. I had contemplated taking the Prius into the dealer to get it fixed, but I knew that would be expensive. What got me started was cleaning the car. Comparing both rear interior door handles, the tension on the one that didn’t work was noticeably less than the one that worked. I went on YouTube U and struck gold on the very first video. It explained how to take the door’s interior trim off. It also explained how to disconnect the interior door handle from the door latch. It uses an arrangement similar to bicycle cables. When I watched that part, I was convinced that that was the problem. Sure enough, I was right. It ended up being only a fifteen minute job that cost me nothing.

Your Sign-up Checklist

Zinging Rings

Signing up should be easy, but when the real world meets the Internet things can get complicated, fast. Don’t worry though, because there are lots of people who want to help you. Lot’s of people! Too many people. That is why a checklist can be helpful. Here is one that we followed and I offer it now for your evaluation: 

  1. Late night. last night at the Fox.
  2. Sleep-in today. 
  3. Why?
  4. See #1
  5. Rainy day
  6. Garbage day
  7. Is that thunder or someone just rolling their trash bins?
  8. Probably both
  9. Create online account. 
  10. Flub account creation by choosing an illegal password. 
  11. Find software bug. 
  12. Get locked out of account creation process for 24-hours
    1. “Come back tomorrow… Because I said so, that’s why! See you tomorrow, Indiana Jones.” 
    2. How did Indiana Jones get on this checklist?
    3. Never mind, it was a joke.
  13. Wait a day.
  14. Repeat #9, with a valid password this time
  15. Success!
  16. Study options. 
  17. Shoo spouse away. 
  18. Revisit #16
  19. Get lost in minutia.
  20. Get frustrated with said minutia.
  21. Try bull-rushing through the process to see what happens.
  22. Get cold feet with this approach.
  23. Call the help-line.
  24. Navigate its automated call tree looking for a human operator.
  25. Make a callback appointment.
  26. Wait an hour.
  27. Miss call.
  28. Give up in frustration.

I’m sorry that this checklist didn’t work for you. It didn’t work for me either.  Instead, stare at the red circle in the graphic above and the outer bands will seem to move. Continue staring until at it until you feel dizzy, then blink. Repeat.

Numeric Nonsense

Fraser’s Spiral

The Fraser’s spiral illusion is an optical illusion that was first described by the British psychologist Sir James Fraser. The illusion is also known as the false spiral or by its original name, the twisted cord illusion. The overlapping black arc segments appear to form a spiral, but the arcs are in fact concentric circles. The visual distortion is produced by combining a regular line pattern (the black circles) with misaligned parts (the differently colored strands). It is like many other visual effects, in which a sequence of tilted elements cause the eye to perceive phantom twists and deviations. The illusion is augmented by the spiral components in the checkered background. It is a unique illusion, where the observer can verify the concentric strands manually. When the strands are colored differently, it becomes obvious to the observer that no spiral is present. So class, take out your Sharpie and outline one of these circles on your screen.

Infinitely many mathematicians walk into a bar. The first says, “I’ll have a beer.” The second says, “I’ll have half a beer.” The third says, “I’ll have a quarter of a beer.” The barman pulls out just two beers. The mathematicians are all like, “That’s all you’re giving us? How drunk do you expect us to get on that?” The bartender says, “Come on guys. Know your limits.”

G.H. Hardy, an Oxford and Cambridge mathematics professor, professed to be an atheist, but in dealing with providence, he bore in mind the possibility that life’s operation might, after all, be manipulated by God, with an understandably low opinion of Hardy. He also considered air travel dangerous. Once, shortly after Hardy had left on an overseas flight, a colleague found a note lying on his desk that read, “I have proven Fermat’s last theorem.” The news spread and by the time Hardy returned home all the world was agog to learn the proof. Hardy had to explain that he had not proved it—the note had been insurance. God, he said, had been forced to bring him back alive to show him up as an imposter.

How many mathematicians does it take to change a light bulb? One: she gives it to three physicists, thus reducing it to a problem that has already been solved.

Find x

Why’d the chicken cross the road? The answer is trivial & is left as an exercise.

Finally, I’ll leave you with Mathgen, an Internet toy that allows you to generate fake scientific papers. It is a program to randomly generate professional-looking mathematics papers, including theorems, proofs, equations, discussion, and references. Try it for yourself! Here is one of mine: Fermat’s Last Theorem, M. Regenaxe, T. Maxwell and V. Fermat. The results look realistic enough. Just don’t hang around so long that you are asked to explain them.