Tuesday, August 22, 2006

News Stories

I heard two interesting stories on the news this morning.

A Russian mathematician, Grigory Perelman, has won the Fields award for solving a mathematical problem that has baffled great minds for over 100 years. The award carries a $1,000,000 prize, but Perelman didn't go to Canada to receive it. He's reclusive and apparently was tracked down by the press in St. Petersburg, where he lives with his mother and declined an interview, saying that nothing he had to say would be of interest to anyone.

The math problem, the Poincare Conjecture, was raised in 1904 and deals with the theoretical shifting of lines to a point on non-spherical shapes (like one with a hole, such as a doughnut) -- fourth dimension stuff. The mathematician I heard interviewed said that only about 20 people in the world understands Perelman's solution and he and his team had written an explanation of it that was over 400 pages long! He raised the point that the solution shows how much is to be gained by long periods of quiet thought.

The next story I heard was about the Pakistan's forfeited test match against England in cricket. The honor of the Indian sub-continent is at stake here, as the Pakistanis were accused of tampering with the ball (a great offense) by the Australian umpire. As a result of the furor over this, India and Pakistan -- long-time enemies -- are now united against what they believe is prejudice against the Asian world on the part of the umpire, who has the unfortunate name of Hair. Though Americans won't even notice it, this is a major scandal in the cricket world and will matter to a lot of people around the world.

With the world seemingly on the brink of blowing up (reminding me of the "Eve of Destruction" of my younger days), I really enjoy these stories. I often get so disturbed by the wars and rumors of wars, that I don't want to hear, see or read the news. Stories like these, though remind me that the Lord has given us an interesting and complex world, and I need to see that some people are putting their minds and energy toward something other than figuring out how to kill the 'other guy' -- even if that something else is conflict on the cricket crease.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Cleaning the Attic

Yesterday, the weather was cool and rainy, so we decided to clean out the attic. We're planning to have our first-ever barn sale (a rural garage sale) and want to get rid of as much as possible. We've lived here in Michigan 12 years -- longer than we've ever lived anywhere as a family -- and have accumulated alot of stuff, since some of us are packrats. In amongst the trophies, baseball cards, bowling balls, baby furniture, legos and action figures, there were many boxes labeled "Jim's Room" which he packed down to the walls the week before he went to college.

No, Jim, we didn't find your glove, but we did find this!

While it feels quite virtuous to throw things out, give things away and generally lighten our load, it also is a little sad to realize that so much of this is family history that, quite possibly, no one cares about but me.

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Jim tagged me...

Jim tagged me with this meme about books, so here goes. . .

1. One book that changed your life: Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey, because it started my years of reading mysteries, which allow me to escape reality and in which good always triumphs over evil. It also turned me into a lifelong (in spirit) member of the Fellowship of the White Boar (those who believe in the innocence of Richard III) and love of British history. For a serious book, I’d have to choose the book of Job and, in correlation, the semester I spent studying it under Rabbi Victor Reichert, who was an amazing man. It opened up the world of the mystery of God to me and helped me understand that I don’t understand.

2. One book you have read more than once: Lord of the Rings -- (does that actually count as 3 books (it shouldn’t)? There are many books I’ve read multiple times, but that one and Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers are the ones I’ve read the most.

3. One book you would want on a desert island: I can’t choose just one. I’d want Lord of the Rings, The Complete Dorothy L. Sayers (including her non-fiction offerings), and the Bible. Unlike Jim, I haven’t memorized most of the Bible, so I’d need to have the real thing.

4. One book that made you laugh: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris. This book also made me cry, answering number 7.

5. One book you wish you had written: That’s a hard question, since I’ve never thought about writing a book. I think To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It always amazes me that she so eloquently evokes the sweetness of childhood summers and the evil of bigotry at the same time.

6. One book you wish had never had been written: I can’t answer this one. I suppose, like Jim, I feel I should say Mein Kampf or The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, but I agree with him that the concepts hateful books don’t begin the hate and silencing them wouldn’t stop it. Besides, if Hitler had been silenced, then who would Simon look like?

7. One book that made you cry: I cry at everything! The first book I cried at was Charlotte’s Web (in third grade), when Charlotte died alone. The last book I cried at was Delights and Shadows.

8. One book you are currently reading: Actually, there are 2: The Saddlemaker’s Wife by Earlene Fowler and Delights and Shadows by Ted Kooser.

9. One book you have been meaning to read: I've been meaning to read a few theology books that Jim has given me, but the one on top of the pile is Kingdom Ethics. I also have Flu (about the influenza pandemic of 1918) by Gina Kolata, which I’m about 2/3 through, but keep putting down. I find that we talk theology so much at work that when I get to read at home, I always pick up fiction.

10. One book you wish everyone would read, and why: Again, I can’t name just one – there are SO MANY. I think everyone should read Leaves of Grass, because it's complex and beautifully written and the Bible, because it could change the readers' lives and is also complex and beautifully written.

I can't tag 5 people with blogs, because I don't know 5 people with blogs who haven't already been tagged.
I will tag Christy, though, Tom (through her blog), Jim the Wiser, Don and Cindy (also through Christy's blog or mine -- Don, email your answers and Cindy's to Christy or me and we'll post them).

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Happy Birthday Charlie!

24 years ago today!!
AND Happy 103rd birthday, Aunt Norma!!!!!!!!!


I went to my first auction today and I can't wait to go to another one -- it was so much fun!! I got a $5 box of baby stuff for Christy's business (The Vintage Stork), an old child's tea set in its original box, 2 50s aqua-painted metal lawn chairs and 2 outdoor umbrellas (for $2 -- can you believe it?). The hardest part was remembering which specific box lot I wanted to bid on and then being in the right place at the right time. Since they had 3 auctioneers working at once, choices had to be made. My favorite part was a big barn full of junk -- old wicker, lots of old sleds & garden stuff and old tools. Unfortunately, I'd run out of money by then and I just kept hearing Jim's voice in my head saying, "What are you going to do with that?" or even worse, "You crossed the line with this one!"

Now I see where all the antique dealers get their stuff, though -- I wish I could just go to auctions all the time and start my own business. But since we can't afford the lean times of being an antique dealer, I'll just have to be content with eBay. And, speaking of "crossing the line", does anyone want to buy a 10' by 9' cemetery gate? It's going cheap!!!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Charlie's Second 15 Minutes of Fame

So, Andy Warhol said, "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes." Charlie has achieved his twice!

He was featured in a newspaper article at Calvin two years ago and now, he's made the cover of the Livingston Press & Argus.

It all started when he wrote a letter to the editor asking the citizens of our area to petition White Castle to open a restaurant here. The editor, immediately recognizing Charlie's interesting personality and witty writing style, had one of the reporters do an interview with him, which was published today. Front page, good picture -- way to go Charlie!!!

I wish he'd asked for a Skyline, though. That's something I could really get into!!! Sliders are fine, but coneys and 3-ways are the perfect food!

Happy Birthday Christy!

Happy Birthday to the daughter of my heart!

I remember:
ET's grave in our backyard in New Jersey
Bigmouth Singers
Green hair dye & yellow Docs
"You'll always have music!"
Being the keeper of the toupe tape
Lots of long talks
I love being your auntie!
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