I misspent my younger days in the warm climes of Southern California. In particular, I went to high school and college there. I moved to the Midwest about seven years after college. For many, college was the end of anything resembling much in the way of time to call their own. I have many fond memories of idle times in perfect weather!
People who know me know I have a pretty intense work ethic. They also know I have a pretty intense party ethic. (Truth is: I’m just intense. Period. Work hard; play hard; relax hard.) This past week—my first week into retirement—I’ve been relaxing hard.
And the weather has been just glorious this week. So far, retirement is aces!
After such a gray, drizzly June this past week has been a summer delight. At first we got a blast of humid heat that forced me to resort to the air conditioning (something I usually try to avoid until around August). But the humidity dropped, and the uncertain skies cleared. Mother Nature is helping me celebrate! (Thanks!)
Being outside at night in the winter, especially when it’s cold enough that the snow crunches when you walk on it, always evokes memories of childhood. (This was especially pronounced when I first moved back here 29 years ago.) Being inside, all windows open, with sunny skies and a gentle perfect breeze blowing always takes me back to college days.
I’ll never forget one summer party at a beach house down in Redondo. A friend, known for her hard-core ways, was making fresh peach daiquiris. They packed a hell of a punch (yet tasted, oh, so innocent). I was playing Backgammon in the backyard, and it got very difficult to keep the dice cup and drink cup straight. Nearly rolled my daiquiri a few times (and I kept sipping my dice).
In any event, it’s party time this week and next! It’s possible I might sober up and post something serious, but trust me: it’ll be accidental. This is a time for cream cheese and salami breakfast bagels, pastrami sandwiches for lunch, beer any old time (I could finally try that beer on the corn flakes trick) and random naps.
And silly posts.
Just to kick things off, some math silliness (sent to me by a friend almost ten years ago; been in my email archive all that time; finally gets used; see, it does make sense to save stuff)…
Member of Notorious al-Gebra Movement Captured!
At New York’s Kennedy airport today, an individual later discovered to be a public school teacher was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a setsquare, a slide rule, and a sophisticated electronic calculator.
At a morning press conference, US Attorney General John Ashcroft said he believes the man is a member of the notorious al-Gebra movement. He is being charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.
“Al-Gebra is a fearsome cult,” Ashcroft said. “They desire average solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They use secret code names like “x” and “y” and refer to themselves as “unknowns”, but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country.
“As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, there are 3 sides to every triangle,” Ashcroft declared.
When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, “If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes.
“I am gratified that our government has given us a sine that it is intent on protracting us from these math-dogs who are willing to disintegrate us with calculus disregard. Murky statisticians love to inflict plane on every sphere of influence,” the President said, adding: “Under the circumferences, we must differentiate their root, make our point, and draw the line.”
President Bush warned, “These weapons of math instruction have the potential to decimal everything in their math on a scalene never before seen unless we become exponents of a Higher Power and begin to factor-in random facts off vertex.”
Attorney General Ashcroft said, “As our Great Leader would say, read my ellipse. Here is one principle he is uncertain of: though they continue to multiply, their days are numbered as the hypotenuse tightens around their necks.”
Obviously, using Ashcroft and Bush dates this in the past. I tried updating it to (Eric) Holder and Obama, but it killed the humor a bit, especially the President’s quotes. Make no mistake, I am not happy with the Obama administration (more so with every passing year), but that level of stunning illiteracy is much more the purview of the previous administration.
[Humor connoisseurs: I’m curious if you feel, as I do, that this one starts off pretty strong but doesn’t hold up as well as it progresses. The whole last half seems a bit weak to me. It seems to try too hard on the word replacements. Maybe it’s just me.]
Now, you might be wondering, “Why math humor? Why now? School’s out, isn’t it?”
Ah, but we’re just getting started!
And math is fun and funny. (Plus, I retired on 6/28—2Π day!) Here’s more math from my email archives. In this case, it’s an email I sent to friends back in at the beginning of March in 2009:
Subject: Math Days!
Did you all realize that yesterday was “Square Root Day” — 3/3/09
The last time that happened was 2/2/04
The next time it’ll happen will be 4/4/16
As an exercise for the reader, how many Square Root Days are there per century? Winner receives an all-expenses paid trip to their own mind.
While you’re waiting for the next Square Root Day, you can enjoy Pi Day coming soon: 3/14
Of course, that will actually be “Roughly Pi Day” (3/14/09) … when’s “Accurate Pi Day”?
I have some smart (and funny) friends. Here was one reply:
“Mr. Smythe! Mr. Smythe!” called an old guy in the back row. “That date would be March 14, 2015 at 9:26:54 UTC.”
“I see I woke you.” said Smythe. “How do you figure that?”
“Back in the last century, while we was still in school, I had a teacher that had a mnemonic he used to remember PI: “For a coke I would logarithm my yellow shirt (here)…”
“Hope that helps!” the old guy said, as he nodded off again.
Shall we celebrate at, 3/14/15 9:26:54?
I dunno, though. Seems easier to me to just remember 3.1415926…something than to remember a phrase where you have to count the letters! (And can you just imagine the mnemonic necessary if you really wanted to get serious about it? 3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971693993751)
Another friend replied:
I’m trying to lose a little weight so I’m not celebrating pie day.
But to me, that’s just irrational!