In September, my granddaughter Rhiannon (then 13) made an aggressive and courageous mathematical decision. Coming off acing ninth-grade Algebra 1 the previous year, she convinced her middle school to let her double up in math: her eighth grade schedule would include both Algebra 2 and Geometry.
Her mother (my daughter Emily) was concerned about the workload; her father was convinced it was foolhardy. To complicate the decision, scheduling conflicts made it impossible for her to take Geometry in her middle school; it had to be an online course. I volunteered to be her mentor. (Full disclosure: my last Geometry course was 1958-59.) Continue reading “High School Math in Middle School”→
I have two walnut trees in my front yard. Every year I engage in a multi-month skirmish with the resident tribe of squirrels. Over the 17 years we have lived here, I have employed several techniques to protect my crop: some legal, some sporting, some questionable. The cumulative scoreboard shows me somewhat ahead (to be fair, I’m the one who’s keeping the tally), but last season Sciurus griseus triumphed over Homo versutus, so I built a cage with a trigger that—when coated with peanut butter and nuzzled by a hungry, unsuspecting squirrel—drops a trapdoor and secures the thief. Continue reading “Walnuts and Squirrels and WHAT? Oh, my!”→
I root myself to the ground. I will not give in to fear.
Last night my thirteen-year-old attended his first confirmation class, during which they discussed the murders in Pittsburgh.
“There are people who really, really hate Jews, Mom. It pretty much sucks.” I asked him if he wanted to talk about it more, but he said he needed a break from it.
When I started to discuss it yesterday with my nine-year-olds (unplanned, unfortunately), my daughter about lost her mind. “Why do people hate Jews so much?” she sobbed. “Why do they want to kill us? Are they going to come to OUR temple and try to kill US?” I had to pull her down from her perch of hysteria. Her twin brother sat silent, and sad.
I root myself to the ground for my children. I cannot allow them to live in fear.
I haven’t blogged in a long while. I haven’t anything to say that I thought was important.
But here’s something from someone who does. It’s an essay by Michael Tallon, published late last month. It’s about the Parkland teenagers. Like Mr. Tallon, I’ve been amazed by these kids. But he has an explanation.
* * * * *
Today has been a day of awakening for me, and I suppose it has been for many of my age-contemporaries, too. As a fifty-one year old man, I don’t cry much, but, wow, have I been a weepy mess all day today watching these magic kids. And that’s the term that keeps coming back to me: These kids are magic.
They somehow don’t seem real. They seem more like fully formed wizards who just popped into existence, as if the shooter who tore through their high school just showed up expecting sheep and found warrior-paladins instead. Continue reading “These Magic Kids”→
— 12:17 pm ·
Comments Off on Guns: Be Like Australia
(I posted this in 2016. In the hideous aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting, it demands reposting today.)
The following article, reposted in its entirety from the Sydney Morning Herald (June 16, 2016), was written by Aubrey Perry, a Melbourne-based writer and artist who is originally from the United States.
Her words are heartfelt. I could not say it better…
Thank you, Australia. Thank you for making me feel safe when I walk out my front door.
Thank you for not making me wonder if some enraged lunatic is going to shoot up the post office while I wait in line to mail a package back home to the States.
Thank you for not making me worry that my daughter will be slaughtered in a bloody shooting-spree at school, or that my husband might be shot in a restaurant while he has lunch, or that my gay and lesbian friends will be mowed down by a madman with a machine gun at a nightclub.
— 3:09 pm ·
Comments Off on Betting on the World Series
You pays your money and you takes your chances, but the House always has an edge.
Did you ever wonder how big that edge is?
Among the simplest edges to compute is Las Vegas roulette. If your chips are on one of the numbers from 1 to 36, and you win, you get paid 35-1. That means that if you put $1 on each of those 36 numbers, when the ball drops onto one of those numbers, you’ll get your winning bet back plus $35; you’ll break even. Those are fair odds. But the House, as I said, always has an edge. Las Vegas wheels include two other numbers that also pay 35-1: 0 and 00. So to be sure you’ll win, you’d have to place 38 one-dollar bets, thus giving the House a $2 profit on every $38 you bet (a 5.26% margin). Continue reading “Betting on the World Series”→