Saturday, August 31, 2013


I've been waiting to get a clear shot of this storefront for months and months -- there are always cars parked in front. Finally, the other day, walking Olga early in the morning, I lucked out!

So I think I've mentioned that part of my job at the school library has to do with monitoring and organizing all the periodicals. Yesterday I was working on updating the list on the school's Web site of all our available magazines, which meant I had to visit the publications online to make sure our logins work. And of course, because it was basically unavoidable, I got to browse the content of the magazines.

I learned:

-- that hedgehogs sometimes spread themselves with foamy saliva that looks like bubble bath, and no one knows why.

-- that temporary tattoos have been designed for runners to monitor their lactate levels, which helps improve performance.

-- that there's a fun list of inventive songwriting rhymes that can (theoretically) turn any of us into Sammy Cahn. As the headline says, "'Mildewey, St. Louis, chop suey' -- it just needs a tune!"

Finally, I was excited to see that the newest issue of Harper's includes an article titled, "Wrong Answer: The Case Against Algebra II," with cover art of a room full of terrified schoolchildren. I can't wait to read this article. Algebra was the bane of my existence in school, and in fact I never studied any math higher than Algebra II. My parents are math instructors, but I hated math, with all its tiny rules and restrictions and its merciless precision. (I'm sure a psychologist could theorize about what kind of rebellion is going on there.) Give me the messy gray areas, the in-between zones, the feelings and opinions where rights and wrongs are debatable and murky. Far more interesting, in my book.


  1. I never got past algebra 1 myself and feel the same...give me something written oran idea any day of the week. Sorry I've been lurking but my keyboard died and I had to wait until the new one arrived.

  2. I think you have the ideal job! It would be like going to the candy store to me...

  3. I have always had a strange and complex relationship with math. I sort of loved algebra AND geometry, despite the fact that I had to work very hard to get it and understand it but once I did, there was a great beauty for me in the way it worked which was, yes, very black and white and maybe that's what I loved about it. I could COUNT ON MATH. No pun intended.
    But when I hit trig- forget it. I cried in that class every day.
    What are Mercury Radio Cars?

  4. The picture: well worth waiting to capture. Radio cards, hey?

    Hedgehogs! YIKES. Cool factoid, however.

    I loved algebra. It was a puzzle for my little mind. Numbers are cool.

    Equally cool that you do not enjoy it. Why should you?

  5. Great shot!

    And I'm with you on the Algebra, although my own loathing for it is secondary to the loathing I feel toward Calculus.

  6. I struggled through Algebra II. Had to have a math credit my first year at university and took Logic. I actually liked that course and did well in it.

  7. What I hated about algebra was that I could often get the answer correct but was unable to show how, so was often accused of cheating. My mind seemed to jump ahead without my pen being able to follow!!