Saturday, January 28, 2006


More Mozart or When Math, Music and 6 Siders Collide

Last night while my husband was hosting a game time with friends where many dice (6 siders, 12 siders, 20 siders etc.) where involved I still had the radio on and heard about a piece composed by Mozart where there were many different measures of a minute written (like 16 or more of them) and you were to roll dice to choose what measures would be played in what order to play the piece. The result being a minute that is seldom the same piece twice. I felt like my worlds were colliding.

A web search for more info on this interesting and postmodern before its time idea resulted in the following:

a place where the computer will take similar minute music and aid you in rolling and playing the musical results.

This one includes info on the math and probabilities involved.

So dust of your dice and enjoy.

Friday, January 27, 2006


DOH!!, My husband is right!!!, Or Happy Birthday Mr. Mozart

I know I never should have doubted but this is the straw that broke this camel's back. It is a running joke at our house that there is a Simpson's quote for every occasion. My husband Paul, to my frustration, is the sharer of these bon monts. Well I give up because he is not alone in this need link to the Simpson's.

Today I had on our local classical radio station. They were broadcasting a free public concert live from Saltzburg, Austria in honor of the 250th birthday of Wolfgang A. Mozart. The commentators were talking about the city and the man between numbers, while waiting for the moment of Mozarts birth (ca. 8pm in Austria) when all the church bells of Saltzburg were to be rung. I was enjoying learning more about Mozart then the children's biography and story I had read to the kids earlier in the day had afforded. I was there for taken by surprise when they started discussing, in somewhat glowing terms, a Simpson's episode that was based on Mozart's life and work!!!

After the bells rang I came up to search Google (who has a nice little powdered wig and musical staff on their logo today) to learn more about this episode. Much to my surprise I found not one but three Mozart/Simpson's connections! I offer them here as a piece of humble pie to my husband (and his brother, and Steve, and Joel and the others who for years have peppered my life with Simpson's references).

Reference 1: Bart as Mozart in a trip through history

Reference 2: A quote from Kent Brockman about a concert Bart and Milhouse attend

Reference 3: The Happy Birthday, Lisa song that Bart writes (listing #35 on this page)

While I'm at it here is another Mozart gift for my husband who loves to debunk urban legends and other commonly held pieces of misinformation. The song Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, which is frequently attributed to Mozart is apparently not his composition.

Friday, January 20, 2006


If three is a crowd, what is four?

My friend Laurel has tagged me with this latest poll so here it goes:

Four jobs I have had:
Assembly line in a toy factory (think barrels of monkeys and perfection 8 hours a day)
Counter help and sandwich maker at "Clark's Submarine Sandwich" Shop
Docent/Floor Worker at "Boston Children's Museum"
Archaeology Lab Director and Pottery Analyst

Four movies I could watch over and over:
The Sound of Music
White Christmas
Lord of the Rings Trilogy (come on, its really one big movie)
Almost any movie musical (Brigadoon, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Singing in the Rain ...)

Four books I could read over and over:
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Star Spangled Summer, Dreams of Glory and Glory Be! by Janet Lambert (3 book story)
The Bible
I love to read I could/would reread most anything I like again, but there is always something new to read so I seldom do.

Four places I have lived:
Bloomington, Minnesota
Gambier, Ohio
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Cofridia, Honduras, Central America

Four TV Shows I watch:
CSI, Miami (my fav of the three CSI shows)
Antiques Roadshow
Veronica Mars

Four places I have been on vacation:
Williamsburg, Virginia (honeymoon and 2 other times)
Hazelglade Resort, MilleLacs Lake, Minnesota (annual childhood vacation)
Chicago, Illinois

Four favorite foods:
Chocolate (caramels, gooey sauce, preferably dark and rich but any will do)
Potato Chips (stress food of choice)
Scallops and Shrimp (cooked just about any way)
Kopps Custard

Four web sites I visit daily:
Enchanted Learning (use it alot for homeschooling my kids)
my Blog roll (Especially my husband's blog(Hierogramate) and DMC) (mainly the homeschool section for encouragement and ideas)
Hatrackriver (ok not everyday but at least once a week to read the OSC reviews everything column)

Four places I'd like to be right now:
In Minneapolis, Minnesota visiting my parents
In Tucson, Arizona visiting my in-laws (God willing I will be later this year)
In a cabin on a lake in north central Minnesota with a fireplace, a library of good books, a well stocked refrigerator and bar and a rotation of short visits from some good friends I haven't gotten to visit with in years.
Taking a nap

Four bloggers I am tagging:
Nancy French
Trish Duggan
Rich Duggan
Marion Clark

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Things we do for Love

Tonight my 6.5 year old daughter lost her 5th tooth. Actually Paul pulled it out for her because it was hanging by a thread and bleeding. He left it in a napkin on the table and went to help her rinse out her mouth. I dutifully finished clearing the dinner table and took the kitchen trash bag out to the garbage and the garbage to the curb for pickup tomorrow. At bed time I was asked for the tooth so it could be stowed away for the tooth fairy. So flashlight in hand it was off to the curb in the shivery cold to dig the napkins from the trash. Fortunately I found it in the top layer.

It reminds me of the time I was helping my pastors wife clean their apartment after moving into their home. She had lost a ruby stud earring that had special sentimental value during the move. I dug through the vacuum cleaner bag and found it.

Those Archaeology skill sure do come in handy.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Happy Birthday Mr. Franklin

In case you missed it today is Ben Franklin's 300th Birthday! If you don't live in Philadelphia that might not be front page news. But here, in a city where you can't more with out tripping over something (or someone or other) Franklin, your morning cup of coffee started off with this. Now many here probably don't like all the "Benergy" in this town for the year (yes that is the official city slogan for the celebration). I, however, love this kind of stuff and some of my favorite things in Philly are things Franklin. Like Franklin Court the site of his home here. I like it in part because of all the archaeology and historic documents they have used and included to interpret the site (the building no longer exists and they haven't tried to rebuild it because they don't have enough information, instead they have nicely presented what they have in a slightly abstract way) and adjacent buildings which give you a view of Franklin's life and how we know what we know.
Those adjacent buildings include a print shop and post office that Franklin ran.

Not far away is first firehouse. His grave is also near by in the church yard of Christ Church Episcopal. (He was born in Boston) . Pennsylvania Hospital , founded by Franklin and the first in the country is not far either. And of course there is the big exhibit at the Constitution Center which I am hoping to go take the kids to see before it leaves this spring.

On the campus of the University of Pennsylvania which Franklin founded, there are close to a dozen statues of the man. My favorite is a bronze of him seated on a park bench reading a paper complete with bronze pigeon. You can sit right down and have a chat with Ben. (I had trouble finding an image on line but you can search for one of the many hidden in the montage linked to above.)

For now the kids and I are just doing some Ben related reading and worksheets. I am still waiting for the glass armonica recording I ordered to come but we read a good book picture about Ben's inventing of this instrument and another about the invention of the lightning rod, giving context to the famous kite experiment. Since you can't go wrong with Gene Fritz we also read "What's the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?" which was a great age appropriate and fun overview.

With that I cede the computer to my husband and go off to iron so I can celebrate Mr. Franklin by obeying him in going early to bed and rising early, cause who doesn't want to be healthy, wealthy and wise.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Translation Please

Ok, I know that a bonnet is the hood of a car and chips are fries but in reading an article about Tony Blair cracking down on bad behavior with a "respect agenda" in England (a concept I think I am generally in favor of) I found my self in need of more detailed translation then mere context provided. I take it that "smacking" is the same as spanking, but I am not sure of the precise distinguishing characteristics of "yobbish" and "loutish" behavior. I have some idea what I would put in the latter but the terms seem a bit subject at least to my American ear. Maybe I need to start watching more Mystery, Masterpiece Theater and rent Upstairs Downstairs.

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