Wednesday, October 31, 2007


After, what, a five year hiatus, a third royalty check on the book. And it's actually (barely) into three figures!

I feel like a hundred dollars!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Bizarre statement by Einstein

This merits some thought:

These thoughts did not come in any verbal formulation. I rarely think in words at all. A thought comes, and I may try to express it in words afterward.
Quoted in H Eves Mathematical Circles Adieu (Boston 1977).

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Feet in Dixie; Jesse Winchester Again

Irene and I saw Jesse Winchester at the Cactus Cafe on campus yesterday, where apparently he has been a regular for quite a few years. His voice was a bit shot, but he managed an absolutely great, deeply moving and delightful show.

Jesse opened with a song about Memphis, his home town. It was funny and catchy.

This is not the first time I've seen the man. I saw him when he was a young draft dodger in Montreal. It must have been 1970. SI believe it he was the first musician I ever saw, if you don't count marching bands and a Sly and the Family Stone stadium concert at the Forum.

Somehow someone liberated the locker room at LCC one evening. I rather doubt the then non-coeducational school's administration encouraged us showing up in the evening, out of uniform, with girlfriends (a couple, anyway) to listen to a folksinger, never mind a freaking draft dodger. Who had the chutzpah to sneak Jesse Winchester into our locker room?

Jesse wowed us back then. I'm pretty sure he had one or the other or both of "Yankee Lady" or "Tennessee Waltz" already. Mostly I remember us swaying and singing along and having the kind of fine old dixie hootenanny time that young upstanding Canadian boys are not expected to have.

Jesse wowed us last night as well. We had a fine old time, but Texans, whatever our flaws, find clapping and hollering perfectly natural. A great time was had by all, but it was a special event for me. I cornered Jesse after the show, but he didn't remember the earlier event, though it must have been one of his very first gigs ever.

Who organized the locker room show? And how? I suspect it was my classmate Danny Feist, who I'm shocked to discover has passed on.

Anyway I was deeply moved both times, but I still have something of a mystery on my hands. Maybe one of my other classmates will clue me in on the mysterious locker room performance someday.

Jesse closed with what he called a Montreal song. It was melancholy and haunting.

It's the Oil, "Stupid"

Samadhisoft points to Jim Holt's cogent argument that Iraq is about oil, period.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bureaucratic Reincarnation

From the NYTimes:
China’s State Administration of Religious Affairs announced Order No. 5, a law covering “the management measures for the reincarnation of living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism.” This “important move to institutionalize management on reincarnation” basically prohibits Buddhist monks from returning from the dead without government permission: no one outside China can influence the reincarnation process; only monasteries in China can apply for permission.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Friday, October 05, 2007

Airline Mag: Green Edition

Hi, y'all, from beautiful Montreal (that's in Southern Canada, you understand), where it is unseasonably warm and sunny today. The trees seem a bit paler and less spectacular than usual this autumn, too... hmm....

I'm a bit out of the loop this week, what with the excitement of launching Correlations (come on over and give me some grief...) and visiting with family. So my main report for this week is that there's so much global warming in the press right now (I don't usually look at newsstands except when I'm stuck in an airport) that my head spins. I may have more to say soon, but for now I'll report that even the American Airlines in-flight magazine is featuring a green issue and an article about green guilt.

It was interesting how the author (Mark Henricks, a fellow Austinite feller) went on about light bulbs and such (not to mention bamboo flooring and recycled plastic bathmats) and nevertheless managed to shrug off the environmental impact of aviation with an unchallenged quote.
But air travel probably gets more attention than it deserves, says Arnold. While flying does have an impact, especially with regard to carbon emissions, it does not have nearly the negative effect that other carbon contributors do. For instance, he considers coal-fi red electricity-generating plants a much more serious problem. “Aviation is a minor part,” Arnold says. “For certain travelers, it’s an issue, but globally, it’s only about 2 percent of the problem.”
Right, but, um, aren't those 'certain travelers' the ones who use airplanes?

In fact, George Monbiot has pointed out that aviation is the only part of modern life where no non-GHG intensive substitute was foreseeable. I can't find that right now but a typical anti-aviation rant of his is here. It's not easy to shoot this down, unfortunately. I much prefer to drive or Amtrak even as far as Chicago, but Montreal-Austin is quite a shlep and I see no escape from making this particular type of journey twice a year anytime soon.

So it was weird reading an article actually entitled "green guilt" on an in flight magazine on an airplane, which pretty much told me to feel guilty about bathmats and not about flying.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

What Channel?

I guess the use case of someone knowing your network affiliation and home town but not your actual frequency is considered rare.

Go to and try to figure out what channel to tune to. Imagine, say, you have been scrounging around for an extension cord to plug in your little TV which you haven't turned on since you moved in six months ago. Say you have some affiliation with a program coming on in two minutes.

I guess this isn't a common use case, but it bit me.

Getting from "PBS Austin" to was easy. Getting from there to "channel 18" took some doing. I suspect that info is nowhere on the KLRU website.