I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

March 27, 2014 - 4:26 p.m.

I Write the Songs or Do The Math

I've reached my limit I have procrastinated for 1:25 and will start writing. Who am I kidding? My powers of procrastination are unbounded.

I keep forgetting to write two important things. You know they are important as they are about food. So I'll lead with them. First off before spring break started I discovered that the department had bought a k-cup coffee machine! I don't have to pay $2.40 a day for a cup of coffee from the food service anymore. When it was Dunkin' Donuts for $1.20 it wasn't bad but when they switched to Starbucks then cut our faculty discount from 33% to 10% the price doubled. Now we are in line with the Constitution. Everyone knows that one of the unenumerated guaranteed by the 10th Amendment is the right to free coffee in your workplace. Lori not LORi, knows that one. The only problem is there's no milk, only coffeemate. I have to buy some half & half and keep it in the fridge.

The second food item is I got my therapy dessert wrong on Monday. I said it was chocolate truffles. That was my therapy appetizer. What you don't have chocolate as appetizer? My dessert was warm crumb apple pie I got at Fairway. When I take my dinner out of the oven I turn it off and put the pie in to warm up while I eat. I can't remember the last time I bought pie. I am going to get it more often. I can pretend it's healthy because it's fruit.

When I have nothing to write about food always saves me.

Yesterday I posted this math problem:

If you want to skip the math just jump down to the horizontal line. This will NOT be on the test. But it will make yo a better person.

I gave the answer the square root of 416 but not how I got the answer. I realized in the discussion about it with Tina in comments that it's a good problem to show what math is actually about and why students are required to take it. Solving it uses a variety of skills that are helpful in all sorts of things that aren't math. And I want to explain my thought process to illustrate that.

I am going to actually show how to find the length of the tangent line in general for two circles of radii a and b, not specifically 13 and 5. I actually came up with that after the fact but that's what's shown in the diagram I drew. This is a nice diagram drawn with disks to make the circles and a ruler for the straight lines.

First I needed to know that a tangent line is always perpendicular to a radius. It requires basic knowledge of the subject. So I drew in the two radii AP and BQ. Sorry I forgot to label points P and Q on the diagram. That's ironic as the importance of labeling is part of what I want to talk about. When I used this to solve the problem I put them in.

Then I drew trapezoid APQB. Now it seems like you should have enough information to find x, the length of PQ but it isn't obvious how to do it.. They key that both Tina and I saw was to add point C, which we both labeled C. That's what I meant in my hint to complete the rectangle. How did we know to do that? That comes from experience. I saw that would give me a right triangle and that AC would be the same length as PQ and so solve the problem. Now by the 2Pythagorean theorm.
x2 + (a-b)2=(a+b)2
So x2=(a+b)2 - (a-b)
Now I use the identities that I memorized because they are so useful.

I get x2=a+2ab+b2 - (a2-2ab+b)
And that simplifies to x2=4ab.
Now that's cool because it is twice the geometric mean, a kind of average of the two radii. Another way of putting it that a square with PQ on one side has twice the area of a the rectangle with sides a and b. . What math is really about is recognizing that that is beautiful. So to do this problem you needed knowledge of geometry, memorizing a formula, and creative intuition. You are exercising so many parts of your brain. Think of it as going to a personal trainer for your mind.

I just got back from class. I didn't finish this in time. Now what else did I want to write about? I threw math at you. I have to give you something you like now. I know, music.

I don't write many songs but I write music often without even trying. What usually happens is that I find myself singing something and realize that it isn't something I heard but something I just made up. It usually doesn't have words. It usually is nothing like a complete song. It's a theme. Sometimes I come up with a verse to go with a chorus, sometimes it's more like a bridge. Usually it's just a melody. It can be in almost any style including ones I don't listen to. I've come op with some horrendous pop country tunes. As I never notice when the music starts it's hard to figure out where it comes from. My theory is that it's my bad memory. I start by singing or as I can't remember lyrics humming a song I have heard. Then I lose concentration, think about other things and by the time my attention returns to the singing it's been transformed into something totally different. What I really should do is record what I have so I can pick up on it later and write a complete song.

An odd thing is that I'm a word guy. I write. I love songs with clever lyrics, but I usually start with the melody. When I start with words the music too often comes out as insipid singer/songwriter. I was working on a song that I cared about but had to fight to keep it from becoming "I'm a sensitive singer/songwriter and nobody has ever felt like this before." The words weren't like that, They were clever, but that's how the music sounded. I tried to use that for humorous effect. Now of course it is all gone.

It's quite unfair that I who can't get myself to finish a song is flooded with ideas when so many people that can actually write great songs have trouble getting them started. Maybe they need to work on becoming more forgetful. Or I could work on my work habits and actually write the damn songs. It would help if I could play something instead of just singing badly.

Annoying People - September 03, 2016
This Play Was The Pits - September 02, 2016
Banking on Getting Better or Avoiding Katastrophe. - September 01, 2016
Unlike Gilligan I Got Off the Island - August 31, 2016
Call of the Wilder - August 30, 2016

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. Horvendile March 27, 2014
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