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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wonderful Fountain Pens in Boston

Today I stopped into Bromfield Pen Shop, a store in downtown Boston that sells fountain pens, fountain pen ink, and an assortment of watches and knives. In other words, it's one of my favorite places in the Northeast! The front counter had a large assortment of Viscontis, Pilots, Faber-Castells, Watermans, Pelikans and more. A shelf towards the back of the shop was stocked with a wide variety of Noodler's ink -- I resisted buying the ever-cool Antietam Red, for now -- as well as standards like Waterman, Lamy, and Private Reserve. To top it all off, Bromfield sells Mondaine watches and Victorinox pocket knives. I didn't get to spend a lot of time in this wonderland, but the next time I am near Boston Common, I will be sure to stop in again and perhaps leave with a new bottle of something.

I took the following photos with my cell phone. They aren't great, but they'll have to do for now.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Religion and Law

While watching C-SPAN, I came across an audio recording of the Supreme Court proceedings for the Hosanna-Tabor vs. EEOC case. Then, I came across a commentary on the case by Stanley Fish. I tend to agree with most of the justices: there's no way to resolve the case without the federal government getting involved in religious doctrine and definitions. Tough situation... In any case, hooray for jurisprudence!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Alfred Hitchcock and Dick Cavett

A few months ago, PBS re-broadcast Dick Cavett's interview with Alfred Hitchcock, and I was lucky enough to watch it. It was one of the most fascinating interviews I have ever seen, and I think the reason is that I could never tell what Hitchcock was thinking. He would crack jokes, and then only crack the tiniest of wry smiles. Or, more often, his face would show no emotion at all. And, I could never really tell whether he was making fun of himself. But, he has amazing insights into film-making and story-telling. Watch the whole thing on YouTube!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Euclid in the Rainforest -- Book Review

Euclid in the Rainforest: Discovering Universal Truth in Logic and MathEuclid in the Rainforest: Discovering Universal Truth in Logic and Math by Joseph Mazur
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really, really wanted to like this book. The table of contents sounded so interesting: infinity! logic! how math pertains to reality! But, the further I got into the book, the more frustrated I became. Each section -- infinity, logic, and reality -- contains several chapters, but it's never clear to the reader how each chapter relates to the overarching theme. Moreover, each chapter itself seemed just like a collection of math-related stories, one after the other, with no obvious link. (I'm sure there *were* links, but I would have had to work to find them.) Also -- and this may seem like a nit-picking critique -- the weak topic sentences really got in the way of my understanding each paragraph. Topic sentences have to set up the rest of the sentences in a paragraph, giving the reader a kind of road map, but these didn't. Arrrrgh! In my opinion, the book should be rewritten under the watchful eye of a careful editor.

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