Thursday, January 29, 2009

Today's Blue Plate Special

"You are the macaroni to my cheese" - Juno.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"A Rescue" by John Updike

I wrote some words today that will see print.
Maybe they will last "forever"--
that is, more than ten years, in that
someone will read them, their ink making
a light scratch on his mind, or hers.
I think back with greater satisfaction
upon a yellow bird--a goldfinch?--
that had flown into our potting shed
and could not get out,
battering its wings unintelligently
upon the dusty panes of the never-opened windows.
Without much reflection, for once, I stepped
to where its panicked heart
was making commotion, the flared wings drumming,
and with clumsy soft hands
pinned it against a pane,
held cupped this agitated essence of the air,
and through the open door released it,
like a self-flung ball,
to all that lovely perishing outdoors.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Exactly one year ago I sent this report from the field:

"...the rest of the evening consisted of meeting Rhoda, an 80 year old ex jazz singer from Humbolt County, California who performs nightly along with two old friends (also in their 80's) (one on sax and one on trumpet, at the Walla Walla restaurant in town (she does a good rendition of When the Saints Come Marching Home in Spanish), and later meeting a guy named Bob who is a few years older than us who is a dead ringer for Timothy Leary. Bob lives on a commune in Oregon where he grows a small marijuana cash crop and winters here in San Blas, Mexico, where he seems to know everyone. He has six kids, two of whom (the youngest), "Starlight Rain" (11 years old) and "Harmony" (8 years old) are here with him. Bob kind of summed up his situation when he concisely explained that he started living off the grid 35 years ago and has stayed off the grid ever since. I would say that pretty much sums up his situation. He held court all evening at the bar while Starlight and Harmony wandered around. Bob and kids and their friend Roger (Roger is a whole other story) are staying at the house of the owner of the San Blas Social Club which Bob says is a really beautiful place right on the beach except that the roof is caved in."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Random thoughts

It is interesting to remember the arguments against Barack from the Fox Newsies. The Bill Ayres stuff, the Reverend Wright stuff, the socialist stuff, the terrorist connections, the secret Muslim, the naive novice, the elitist. None of it stuck. And to see the outpouring of joy, inspriration, and respect for Barack across the world, and here, puts the perveyors of these arguments so far in the wilderness as to be totally irrelevent. Sean Hannity is no where to be found. Obama has trumped all the petty political bullshit and said "I have the people with me", the normal arguments, the old stuff might truly be meaningless. He is saying we have real problems, that need to be analyzed, understood, scientifically addressed. We need to pull together and dig our way out of this, and we need the everyone on board. What is the argument against that. "Let's cut taxes, stop abortion, and not do stem cell research." The entire right wing machine is in deep trouble. There will be new effective republicans who address the problems from another perspective, but the knee jerk, he is not one of us, he is dangerous, big governemnt is bad, the market cures all, government heath care is a recipe for disaster, don't talk to Iran, or anyone we don't like, sounds like a joke. All those philosophical tenants basically brought down this economy, and you have to be an idiot not to see that. Amazing turn of events. The thing to worry about is foreign policy. It will be very hard to get out of Iraq without setbacks, to deal with Iran, to deal with Guantonomo, etc. On the domestic front, he has a giant mandate. Anyway, George Bush is not the president anymore.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 20, 2009

The Reader, The Wrestler and Flight 1549...

If the universe is fractal, a family comprised of unique parts yet each related, then patterns can be found where none were directly intended. It's the nature of things.

How is that Marconi, Tesla, Popov, Lodge, Fessenden, Hertz, Dolbear, Loomis, Stubblefield and Maxwell all conceived of the radio and invented its necessary parts, separately and apart from each other at the same time? But it was Marconi who nailed it - he owns the radio - Tesla went on to other things, but Stubblefield? - Lost except to Google and 3 radio historians in a library somewhere.

In the movie, The Wrestler, Randy -The Ram - Robinson and his junto of wrestler/performers put on a show, an American show - staged, pure fakery - the ritual is more powerful than the reality.

In the movie, The Reader, Hannah Schmidt, is tried for the murder of 300 Jewish prisoners trapped in a burning church. The Defendants and Judges sit on stage - we know there is a deeper explanation than the evidence will admit but the Court will render its verdict - its ritual of punishment meted.

Two days before the inauguration of Barack Obama, flight 1549 is steered to safety by an unlikely hero, a rather standard issue guy who saves 155 lives just as Obama, an unlikely President, starts his attempt to steer the country to an economic soft landing in hopes of saving countless livelihoods. Sully, the pilot, is a seemingly reluctant hero, no interviews, no show, no ticker tape parade - just did his job and turns a respectful but cold shoulder to the limelight of the 24/7 cable TV spectacle. By nature more Stubblefield than Marconi, our pilot is more than brave - he is decent.

The Reader and The Wrestler - one refined and utterly sad, the other gritty and utterly sad. Two very different films but each bound by connective ligature to the pyramidal (and maybe particularly modern American) kernel of human isolation - that core inside all of us that our flight 1549 pilot seems to have (amazingly) excised from his DNA: the it's-the-outside-that-matters-not-the-inside gene; a/k/a longing for adoration; a/k/a pride - amour propre.

Hannah Schmidt (in the Reader), the former SS guard stands accused of murder and she is illiterate. Robin "Randy The Ram" Robinson, (in the Wrestler) the former wrestling headliner, stands all blond haired, steroid pumped, heart failed image and he is emotionally illiterate.

Hannah Schmidt has a "kid" (she calls her young lover - who reads to her before they make love - "kid") and Ram has a kid, a grown up daughter whom he has not seen in years. Hannah's kid, her lover, reads to her and teaches her heart-love and in return she teaches him fuck-love (he seems the better pupil than she) - but in the end - it's not enough. Ram's kid, his lost daughter, teaches Ram forgiveness - but in the end - it's not enough.

Hannah's pride, her refusal to admit her illiteracy, leads to her confinement without kid. The Wrestler's pride in his past glory and refusal to kick his addiction to the known commodity - impersonal fame (no matter how small time) for the unknown cold turkey love of one single woman -- who says to him all anyone can ask or give: "I'm here, aren't I?" - leads to his emotional imprisonment (without his kid too). She goes to jail. He remains confined in the isolation of the roar of the crowd. For both its a life sentence.

In the end, Hannah, still behind bars in her jail cell, climbs up a stack of shaky but carefully balanced books and from on high hangs herself. In the end, the Wrestler, behind the ropes in his jail cell of a wrestling ring, shakily climbs up the corner post, carefully balanced, and from on high throws himself down to the canvass for his last jump.

Two movies as related in their sadness and regret as Marconi and Stubblefield were in their invention. We shall see how Sully fares when the talk shows come calling. Its the nature of things.

Monday, January 19, 2009

a major, major moment

This is a revolution, not economic, not ideological, but no less significant. This is a spiritual revolution, a non-violent transfer of spiritual power, from the most powerful, the oligarchy, the elites, the barons, to the people, to African Americans, to progressive people, to woman, to students, to teachers, to working people. Our joy is real, and to be taken seriously and cherished. We will see brutal times ahead, we will see disappointment with Barack, there will be plenty to critique. But VE day was real, it was joyous. The inauguration of Obama could be a world-historical event. Not theoretically, but in the faces on the mall. We have lived through so much agony politically, so many disappointments, tragedies, defeats, wars. Not this time, a world leader has emerged from the United States. Incredible.

The Road Gap!

This past Saturday, I was accompanied by a few friends including a professional photographer to a country road in Gilead, ME, on the ME-NH border. A few Bates kids have been living in a tent up there before they go abroad for the semester. Close to the tent, we built an awesome ski jump over the road. It was a day full of excitement, big air, and great pictures!

More pictures!

In case any one was confused, I was wearing a brown jacket and jeans.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Some Thoughts on Movie Making and Other Jobs...

Movie making (maybe a lot like all jobs to a degree) is a fluky mix of craft, art, luck, commerce and merchantry. What does it take to make it? Certainly talent, appetite, obsession, drive and, then too, you need to be a salesman - a vendor who convinces people to hand over capital anticipating a speculative return based on conjective visualization; page to screen to ticket sales. I do not know how many try versus how many succeed but I figure that most who do (either one - fall short or pull it off) have the same qualities -- some are appealing, some not so much. The mordant part is the notion that if you "make it" it will have been worth it - but if you don't - you have failed. Or worse, if you do not even try you are somehow found to be lacking. If there is anything we learn in watching (as opposed to making) movies, it's the lessons they teach us in their romance; that we each in our own way lay legitimate claim to stature that is not diminished one iota if ours is to end up sine die a journeyman, going to work, doing a good job at whatever task is assigned, addressing the successes, the set backs, the breaks, the bummers and rising to the occasion of day to day.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Quote Of The Every Other Day...


"Interestingly, neither Gates nor Buffett seems motivated by the possibility of being rewarded in heaven for his good deeds on earth. Gates told a Times interviewer, "There's a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning" than going to church. Put them together with Andrew carnegie, famous for his free thinking, and three of the four greatest American philanthropists have been atheists or agnostics. (The exception is John D. Rockefeller.) In a country in which 96% of the population say they believe in a supreme being, that's a striking fact. It seems that in one sense, Gates and Buffett are probably less self interested in their charity than someone like Mother Teresa, who as a pious Roman Catholic believed in reward and punishment in the afterlife."

Peter Singer in his essay, What Should A Billionaire Give? In his research for the essay, Mr. Singer calculated how much America's top 10% of income earners actually make and concludes that it would be easy for the world's rich to virtually eliminate global poverty. Mr. Singer is the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at the Center for Human Values at Princeton University.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Great Journalism

This amazing, incredibly corny line is from one of CNN's articles on the crash landing in the Hudson River entitled Investigators to quiz pilot who landed plane in Hudson

"'We circled around ... the captain came on and said, 'Look, we're going down. Brace for impact.' Everyone looked at each other and we said our prayers. I said about five Hail Marys,' said the 31-year-old Norwalk, Connecticut, resident, who was en route to Charlotte to play golf.

But the water hazard he faced was unlike any he'd encountered on a golf course."

It sounds to me like a line that should be read in an incredibly deep voice during a trailer for a horror film.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Quote of The Every Other Day

There is so much smart stuff around that maybe we will be able to change our quote of the week to a quote of the every other day. Here is today's:

"...Life is a motherfucker; living it anyway, and sometimes laughing in the process, is where humanity is won."

from an essay by Jerald Walker entitled "Dragon Slayers" published in 2007 in the Iowa Review. "Dragon Slayers" is from Notes from the Promised Land, an in progress collection of essays on being a black academic. Mr. Walker is an assistant professor of English at Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, MA.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fractal Journey Video

A Cause That Rough Fractals Supports -- ECCO FARM

Rough Fractals supports the idea of small local commerce and farming including EECO farm, a public community garden in East Hampton NY. EECO Farm runs a deficit each year - it is supported by small rental fees for garden plots, revenue from its community garden vegetable stand and donations...

EECO Farm is raffling off a SMART CAR this spring,
and I am sending this little reminder in hopes that you will buy a ticket and WIN!
It’s the perfect vehicle for zipping around the east end- great on gas and a dream to park!
The Ticket Price includes a one-year membership to EECO Farm
Only 500 Raffle Tickets to be Sold
Drawing to be held on April 17th, 2009
Proceeds to benefit EECO Farm
You may be aware that the Town of East Hampton will not be funding local nonprofit organization this year, so our finances will be very tight.
It is your involvement with what we do- and your belief that it is worth the effort- that allows us to keep going- and growing.

You can purchase tickets on the website,
Or by mail: Print the attached form and mail it with a check.
Or contact me directly for personal assistance.
Hope you will be able to support this fundraising effort, and help keep this community farm going-- and growing healthy fresh produce for our local community.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Twins Separated at Birth

Our last "twins separated at birth" segment proved very popular with out readership - thus
we bring you installment no 2 - in this case however you have two options to consider
which is the real twin:

Lori Berenson Update

This is the most recent news about Lori Berenson from On November 30, 1995 Lori Berenson was arrested on a public bus in downtown Lima, accused of leading an insurgent organization, the MRTA. A hooded military tribunal, using antiterrorism legislation promulgated during a state of emergency, sentenced her to life for "treason against the fatherland." Four-and-a half years later, due to international pressure, her sentence was vacated and she was retried by a civilian court under the same antiterrorism legislation. She presently is serving a 20-year sentence for collaboration.

January 12, 2009

To Friends and Supporters of Lori Berenson


Penal de Huacariz
30 November 2008

Dear friends,

As 2008 and my 13th year in prison come to a close, here I am awaiting my transfer to the maximum security women’s jail in Chorrillos, Lima.

It is indeed sad for me to be leaving Cajamarca after 7 years of beautiful scenery, fresh air and a hospitable community attitude that still prevails to some extent, in spite of the damage done to the “atmosphere” of increased wealth, unaccompanied by local development, due to the presence of giant mining companies.

Although the great mineral wealth is taken out of Cajamarca’s hills, only a small fraction of it trickles down to benefit the area, through the stipulated percentage returned to the local government, additionally to certain jobs temporarily created in the service sector.

The environment met smog, and the water met with many years of contamination with minerals and chemicals. One wonders how bad the contamination of values and of community pride has been.

Worse is to think what will happen once the mineral extraction leaves the hills barren, the water sources contaminated, highways destroyed by the excessively increased transit, when there were and are ways to prevent it.

But, sadly, I will soon leave Cajamarca, due to the need for specialized medical care that I’ll have done once I give birth. My pregnancy is a blessing for me, and motive for much happiness to me and my family.

Although I don’t see the political crisis getting better here, there’s a saying that says “no hay mal que para bien no venga” (there isn’t an evil/bad thing that doesn’t happen for a good reason).

Wishing you all a happy holiday and the best for 2009, for you and our suffered humanity.

In peace,

Lori Berenson

Note: Lori was transferred to Santa Monica de Chorrillos Prison in Lima on the night of 8 January 2009.


After a 15-hour trip on a public bus, Lori arrived in Lima Friday morning January 9th. She is now in the women’s prison in the Lima suburb of Chorrillos where she had been incarcerated during her civilian trial in 2000 and 2001. Articles on her transfer by AP and Reuters (see website) appeared in English throughout the US and in English and Spanish around the world. Television coverage shows the bus arriving in Lima and Lori transported to headquarters for processing. The transfer process went smoothly owing to help from the US Embassy officials in Lima. Now that she is in Lima, Lori will be able to coordinate her prenatal care with orthopedic and pre-surgical care for her back.

Mark will be visiting Lori next weekend.


We are relieved to learn and thrilled to report that long-time activist Bob Carpenter is alive and well and continues to champion causes of social justice. In our previous Lori Update on December 31 we had reported otherwise. We are grateful that Bob has a good sense of humor!

Mark and Rhoda B.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Famous Fractals

As the blog develops, our understanding of fractals should as well:

Famous Fractals

Sierpinski Pyramid and The Matrix

What we have learned; the plumbing of blogs: if you saw the movie "The Matrix" that basically gives you the idea. The first step is to establish a site - your own personal allotment of real estate in Zion. Its free (though if you want to buy waterfront property (meaning your own domain) e.g. first name, last you can go that route for $10 per month which gets paid to some sort of cyber landlord I guess. I went with (free). You pick a name...

(I called mine Rough Fractals (I chose the name having just recently learned what they are (in fact I had never heard of them before and I liked the psychological bent - naturally recurring amarinthe patterns in nature that repeat endlessly no matter what degree of magnification is applied - for example a snow flake - each unique flake (all flakes are unique) has the exact same pattern as does each piece of the flake - there are many other examples and intricacies and a fractal subset called the Sierpinski Pyramid that seems interesting (though way beyond my ken)...(see below)

...and you pick a template (you can customize and select from various options) etc etc etc. Then you hit "save" and boom - you can toggle from the recliner in your tv room to Matrix at will. The next part is actually pretty cool - it takes about 20 days for Google and other "web crawlers" to find you - when they do all of a sudden you pop up in google. You can get statistics from a site called feedburner that tells you how many hits and visits you have in any 24 hour period. It does seem to have a kind of organic growth to it, if you feed it new content it grows, if you leave it dormant it withers. You can also download photos and videos (your own and from the internet) and link to anywhere else in the Matrix.

The unfathomable Matrix is a cryptic boulevard...

Waclaw Sierpinski (1882-1969) was a professor at Lvov and Warsaw. He was one of the most influential mathematicians of his time in Poland and had a worldwide reputation. In fact, one of the moon's craters is named after him.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Evils of Muni Meters

I prefer jail to a fine because I believe in honor and code and doing what is right and standing up to the system and standing for justice and fairness and on the side of poor schmucks everywhere who try their best everyday in myriad petty ways to support their municipalities and obey parking regulations despite cold and rainy weather. It is for those people and that sense of honor that I prefer to stand firm on this small spot on the planet, corner of 7th avenue and 23 rd street, Manhattan, and say "ENOUGH". Enough cowering to the unthinking and unyielding technology that everyday diminishes our humanity - enough of muni meters that seem to laugh at us as we fumble in the rain with our credit cards while it takes its time, makes us wait and then taunts us with its dim LCD response, "communication error". Enough of hauling our sorry asses into traffic court where some small minded administrative judge who has "heard it all before" and is bored to tears much the same way we are as we stand there and ask for a pass on this one ticket because it wasn't our fault. Enough with a system that demands individual responsibility and accountability but accepts none for its own broken, uncaring, one size fits all parking rules and regulations. For all those reasons I say dismiss the ticket or send me to jail where I will do my time and in so doing wash away the guilt that I acknowledge - guilty as charged; guilty of being a human being, guilty of caring, guilty of wanting my children to stand up tall and proud knowing that the world is in fact not a one way street with no parking unless you ask permission, rather it is a four lane highway crossing the vastness of our lives through a landscape where men of honor are in the driver's seat. No more "system down - communication error" humiliations. I am proud to do my jail time

more on gaza

Friday, January 9, 2009

Twins Separated at Birth

We certainly have the same confused look on our faces...


Gaza is a heartbreaking disaster. If war is politics by other means, then Gaza is abject failure for all. World War One was the greatest example of political failure leading to catastrophe. It was the war to end all wars, but it didn't. The spark of this confrontation, the misguided Hamas strategy of lobbing rockets randomly into Israel, as if that is going to get Israel to surrender land, the equally misguided, but emotionally understandable response by Israel of raining death and destruction on a captive population, as if that is going to pacify the Palestinians, has the potential to lead to serious instability in the Middle East, and beyond.

We can no longer go back, to the Bible, or the Diaspora, or the Holocaust, or the founding of Israel, or the many wars, or the occupation to determine where the moral starting point is. We are here, and a humane, decent political class would not have created conditions that end in the slaughter of innocent children in a school by decent Israeli young men. Its easy to condemn Israel, as it is easy to condemn Hamas for provoking them, but the failure is much more widespread. It is the failure of politics, the triumph of fanaticism, of tribalism, of militarism, of racism, of fear and hatred over humanism. It is sad, but it is where we are.

Overrated! The Disaster that is the BSC system

After an interesting, and not very exciting Bowl Season in College Football, there is much fractal analysis to be done. There is always much talk about the roll of the conferences in deciding the outcome of the season. USC lost its chance to win the national title with an in conference loss in a "weak" conference, while another team with one in conference loss, Florida, is the national champion. Utah goes undefeated including 4 wins over ranked teams, but cannot possibly earn a spot in the national title game because they don't play in a "real" BCS conference (says Nick Saban whose team got run over by Utah in a Bowl Game). How frustrating must it be to know that you play in a division of football where even if you have a perfect season, you cannot be the best team.

While these examples clearly demonstrate some of the problems with the BCS system, I think there is one aspect of the season that stands out as the most dramatic. The Big Twelve South is the most overrated conference in the history of college football. It was at one point supposed to contain three of the highest powered offenses in college football history. Texas Tech had an amazing season, including a huge win over Number 1 Texas (another Big Twelve team), but gave up 47 points in a loss to a decent four-loss Mississippi team in the Cotton Bowl. Texas, furious about not getting a chance to play in the national title game, come out flat against Ohio State and squeek out a victory on a last second touchdown because of a bone head play by a safety and bad defensive play call. Finally, to top it all off, Oklahoma, with a Heisman winning quarter back and having scored more than 50 points in 5 straight games, gets shut down by Florida for the championship in one of the biggest games in school history.

The moral of the story is that no matter how big of a college football fan you are, it is easy to see that the current system based on Bowl games and conference play is flawed. It allows teams in bad conferences, specifically bad defensive conferences to build themselves up throughout the season, looking much better than they actually are. The best three teams in the country are Florida, Utah, and USC, and I would love to see a playoff system (Like Obama wants, to throw a little politics into the mix) in which two of these teams would play each other to become the National Champion. The current system will always lead to a January full of confusion, frustration, and dissappointment for the coaches, the players, and the fans.

P.S. A fourth Big Twelve South Team played in a Bowl Game. Oklahoma State lost 42-31 to Oregon.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Deleted scene from Woody Allen's Bananas..

Just wanted to make sure we are clear about where rough fractals stands politically...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Germain Joins Grateful Dead

AP Photo (Germain on Left standing next to bassist, Phil Lesh). FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 01/06/09:

The Grateful Dead have announced that former reinsurance executive. Steve Germain, will be doing back up vocals for the band starting immediately. When asked how he came to join the band, Steve said it started with a letter he wrote to the NY Times quoting the Dead's lyric from their classic hit Uncle John's Band. Bob "Ace" Weir has recently been unhappy with the performance of his investment portfolio and was looking for a new investment advisor when he came across Steve's letter. Weir, Lesh and drummer Billy "Pig Pen" Kreutzmann spent a weekend with Germain at the Post Ranch Inn at Big Sur listening to music and talking about alternative investment strategies. They decided to join forces: Steve views their partnership as a 50/50 sharing arrangement adding: "our philosophy is that we can share what we got of yours because we done shared all of mine". Weir added, "we are partners in the truest sense, we can share the women, we can share the wine - we are not possessive types". Germain concluded his remarks commenting that he regrets that he will no longer be attending Ramada Inn sponsored "accounting for insurance" seminars but stated, "I will get by, I will survive." From now on Steve will be using his stage name, Casey Jones.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Quote Of The Week

Rough Fractals is introducing a "Quote of The Week" section. This week's quote is from author, David Foster Wallace:

""The people who most interest me now are people who are older and people who have been through a sort of mid life crisis. They tend to get weird because the normal incentives for getting out of bed don't tend to apply anymore. I have not found any satisfactory new ones yet."

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Modern Day Fractal Lyrics

There is no question that there is wise economic advice in the lyrics of the older generations. However, it is important not to overlook the equally important lyrics from the popular musical icons of today. A few prime examples:

Fergie, "Glamorous": If you ain't got your money get your broke ass home.

Ace Mack, "Make it Rain, Remix":
It ain't no money like custom money
It ain't no bitch like a hustle bunny
Ain't no bitch gettin' none of my money
That why the money gotta clip to protect it for 'em

T.I., "Whatever You Like"
Anytime you want to pick up the telephone
You know it ain't nothin to drop a couple stacks on you
Wanted you could get it my dear
Five million dollar home, drop Bentley's I swear
and you ain't never ever gotta go in yo wallet
Long as I got rubberband banks in my pocket
Five six, rides with rims and a body kit
Ya ain't gotta downgrade you can get what I get
My chick can have what she want
And go in any store for any bag she want
And know she ain't never had a man like that
To buy you anything ya heart desire like that

It seems that there is a group of people that have definitely managed to avoid the economic downturn. At least someone is still pouring cash into the US economy.

Fractal Lessons in the Lyrics

Rough fractals takes some modest pride attaching this recent fractal letter printed in the 01/04/09 NY Times. Note: Bob Dylan, Grateful Dead, Lessons learned from lyrics: the fractal repetition theme is contained in the letter.

January 4, 2009
Letters: Lessons in the Lyrics

To the Editor:

Bob Dylan is one of my heroes, too, so I enjoyed Ben Stein’s quoting him to great effect in “They Told Me He Never Lost Money” (Everybody’s Business, Dec. 28).

As investors, we may have learned everything we need to know in kindergarten, but those of us of a certain age also had a second chance — call it “Everything We Need to Know 2.0” from our generation’s music icons. You may also recall the Grateful Dead line from its anthem “Uncle John’s Band”: “When life looks like easy street there is danger at your door.”

Steven D. Germain

Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.,

Dec. 29

Saturday, January 3, 2009

fun fractal I will never do again...

When dinner at an upscale restaurant is over you walk to the front where your coats are already held open for you by men in tuxes (for the ladies) and women (for the gents) wearing festively gay and, dare I say, sexy, masks (a fun thing you will probably never do again - have your coat put on for you by a very attractive young woman wearing a mask) and then you go out into the 5 below zero wind chill factor tundral night...

Rough Fractal Patterns

A fractal is generally "a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole"

There are Paradoxical Fractal Patterns In nature and Human behavior i.e. lattice patterns that occur naturally when different currents run cross wise in the same system e.g. in large bodies of water when tide shifts, certain crisscrossing pie crusts, and in certain moments like those described below:


The sommelier recommends a 1997 white Bordeaux from the wine list and describes it as having "broad shoulders and being "minerally" (which applies equally to a coal miner as a fine wine).

Upon leaving THE RESTAURANT:

When dinner is at an upscale restaurant is over you walk to the front where your parties coats are already held open for you by men in tuxes (for the ladies) and women (for the gents) wearing festively gay and dare I say, sexy, masks (a fun thing you will probably never do again - have your coat put on for you by a very attractive young woman wearing a mask) and then you go out into the 5 below zero wind chill factor tundral night...


Cell phone falls out of your coat pocket. After a great deal of effort and some real shoulder, elbow, wrist, leg and feet contortions, to retrieve it from way deep in the seat well of the car where it had fallen (quite exasperating made worse by imaginary rehearsals of the necessary future conversations you are going to have to have at the Toyota dealer asking them to remove the seat to retrieve the cell phone) you give up only to realize that if you move the car seat full forward you could simply grab the phone.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Costco Experience

I am new to Costco and - ye gads, it takes some getting used to. Today I found this written on the Costco mens' room wall:

"My first impulse in Costco is condescension. I look around with something bordering on loathing and think, what am I doing with these women in tinted hair and pantsuits and large-bellied men in button up short-sleeved shirts and chinos? By the time I leave, however, I feel an affinity with everyone there - the parents and children and husbands and wives and lovers and brothers and sisters of my neighbors making do as best they can from paycheck to paycheck. My heart breaks for them.

I am one of them."


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