Saturday, March 15, 2008


I was tickling one of my kids earlier and certain ideas popped into my head: I have known people who are completely non-ticklish. I know what it is like for them, since most physical sensations don't tickle, but they don't know what it is like to be tickeled. I can't think of any concrete disadvantage from not being able to have this sensation and one might wonder if there is any evolutionary advantage to being ticklish. It is a nice sensation though,-if taken in moderation and as hard to describe as color to the colorblind. If I were to lack some sensation, I think itching would be a good one to not have to feel. Of course itching is unpleasant, but it is awful nice to have an itch scratched. It always feels best when it is someone else doing the scratching. That is another odd thing about the tickle--it has to be someone else who is doing the tickling or it doesn't work.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Child Logic...

Yesterday I was checking one of my daughter's math homework sheets. Here was the problem: You have 6 coins which together equal 37 cents, 3 of the coins are dimes, what are the other 3 coins?

She had written as an answer, "The other three coins are 7 pennies".

I pointed out to her that 7 pennies is 7 coins, not three. "How can you make 7 cents with three coins"? I asked.

OH! A nickle and two pennies? Yes.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I have this GeoID gadget on my blog which shows where hits originate from. Usually there are three places: Here in the Boston area, Florida where my parents live and Washington where my sisters live. But sometimes I get a map speckled with hits. Don't know why, but I think it is real since the site counter is in general agreement. Maybe someone will leave a comment saying how they found this place...

ADDED: If you click onto the green and white geoID button just above archives, you will see a map showing all the places where hits have originated from in the last 24 hours.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Surenna's Golden Birthday

She turned 11 on the 11th of March this year. It was a sleep-over/pool party, held at a local hotel

Surenna's friends played nicely with her younger sisters.

The party was held this past weekend, but we celebrated it again last night in-family with a whole new cake and the opening of presents from sisters and relatives.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

An Enduring Measure of Fitness: The Simple Push-Up

A nice article from the New York Times on the value of Push-Ups

By TARA PARKER-POPE Published: March 11, 2008

I started doing push-ups every morning a year or two ago. I think I could do about 30 with ease. I wanted to start to do a set of them every single morning, so it would become a habit--this is why I started with a low number: If I had chosen a higher amount, I would soon have gotten sore and abandoned the project.

After a month I added 10 more per morning and eventually reached 100. I still do 100, but I haven't increased the number because it is already painful enough and I think if I made it more painful I would just quit.

This is pretty much the only strength training I do and it has had a pretty good effect. My waist went down a couple of inches and it seems like I don't strain my back as often as I had in the past. It takes about 90 seconds every morning. These are unpleasant seconds but they are a worthwhile investment.


Added: From the article: Did you know Jack LaLanne was still alive? He is 93! I thought he died years ago.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Ice Flows...

Our weather pattern here lately has been of hard rain followed by clear cold days. What happens is that the ground gets saturated with water, which then slowly drains off of hillsides onto roads.

This is fine during the day; they just make a wet patch here and there. In the mornings it can be treacherous: In the cold of the night, that innocent weep onto the road accumulates into an inch or more of slushy ice.

Now, here in New England, we get our fair share of ice and snow--so we know how to drive on slick roads. The problem with these ice flows is that the road will be clear and dry, then whammo! You come around a curve and it is a sheet of ice.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Special Theory of Windy Days...

Q. What is the quickest way to calm a breezy day?

A. Get a kite and go outside with the intent to fly it.

Lemma: There is a direct correlation between the level of wind decline and the effort taken.


1. If you have a ready-made kite and you go to your back yard to fly it, the wind will decline to the point where IF your kite was already flying--it would stay flying, but not high enough to get your kite flying.

2. If you drive someplace windy, like the top of a hill or assemble a delicate kite which needs only a whisper of wind--the wind will decline to zero by the time you have taken the above actions.