• Blog
  • The Crank Index

    Son #1 sent me an article about cranks, people who hold strong, contrarian positions. The focus of the article was mathematical cranks, those who insist that they have solutions to mathematical problems known to have no solution. I especially enjoyed The Crank Index in the article, attributed to mathematician Chris Caldwell. Caldwell studies prime numbers, […]

  • Books
  • Life Among the Savages

    In her memoir of young family life, Life Among the Savages, Shirley Jackson tells the story of the outsize influence of a child’s first grade teacher. We get a delicious profile of her daughter Jannie’s Mrs. Skinner: We had been exposed to Mrs. Skinner from about the third day of school, when Jannie came home […]

  • Books
  • Joe the Curmudgeon

    Joe Queenan is a crowd-pleaser at my house. When The Sons are home, and we are lingering after a long breakfast served at 1:00 p.m., Queenan’s Wall Street Journal column is good for a laugh. He’s a curmudgeon, especially about things modern. “Uriah the Hittite” is a family meme: [A] couple of years ago, when […]

  • Family
  • Classic Blunders

    This post has the potential to insult multiple family members, but here goes. Our older son got my full dose of rage about young love. His first girlfriend lived a 30-minute drive from our house. He was 15, so I logged a lot of driving time with them. One time I was especially ticked with […]