Once every 100 years

Draw a circle at 9:26:53am. I’ve always felt that Pi proves there is something wrong with our number system. It’s like saying “there is no word for [untranslatable] in our language.” Pi is compact, elegant, integral to examining the natural world. It’s translation into Arabic numerals is comical. Pi is smoothly analog. Its numeric rendition is arbitrarily digital, cut off from the continuum. Pi is a pearl in the palm of an ape that needs all of its fingers and toes to count.

Going all out for math and pastries on special Pi Day | Albuquerque Journal News

Saturday is the day when love of math and a hankering for pastry come full circle. Saturday is Pi Day, a once-in-a-year calendar date that this time squares the fun with a once-in-a-century twist.

Saturday is 3-14-15, the first five digits of the mathematical constant pi: 3.141592653. The best times to celebrate are at 9:26 and 53 seconds, morning and evening. The next time that happens is in March 2115.

Going all out for math and pastries on special Pi Day | Albuquerque Journal News

American Christian Conservatives embrace, crave, demand ignorance

Ignorance snowballs. Conservative opposition to science and education will put us into a death spiral.

Conservative Christians Abroad Seem More Accepting of Evolution

The theory of evolution may be supported by a consensus of scientists, but none of the likely Republican candidates for 2016 seem to be convinced. Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida said it should not be taught in schools. Former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas is an outright skeptic. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas will not talk about it. When asked, in 2001, what he thought of the theory, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said, “None of your business.”

After Mr. Walker’s response, the interviewer in London, an incredulous Justin Webb of the BBC, said to the governor: “Any British politician, right or left wing, would laugh and say, ‘Yes, of course evolution is true.’ ”

Unlike the United States, where Republicans and conservative Christians are more likely to deny evolution and climate change, most conservative politicians in other countries, as well as other branches of Christianity, see Darwin more favorably. The BBC reporter’s response to Mr. Walker could serve as a reminder that American evangelicals, and the Republicans who woo them, are the exception, not the rule. …

By contrast, evangelicals’ commitment to the Bible — for many, the 17th-century King James Version — can come between them and new scientific learning.

But all of this theological discourse assumes that Governor Walker, or anyone else, actually understands what evolution is. Edward Humes, author of the 2007 book “Monkey Girl,” about the court battle over anti-evolution “intelligent design” theory in Dover, Pa., schools, said that many evangelicals did not really understand evolution.

“When the people on the school board were asked to explain in Dover what they took the theory of evolution to be, they couldn’t,” Mr. Humes said. “Nor could they explain the intelligent design theory they were embracing.”

For example, Mr. Hume said, some evangelicals believe that evolution is a theory of how life began. In fact, he said, “it explains the diversity of life on our planet, and why so many have become extinct and others have risen to prominence.”

Conservative Christians Abroad Seem More Accepting of Evolution

Thirty-three years kissing Merri Rudd

Thirty–two three years ago today, Valentine’s Day, 1982, Merri Rudd and I shared our first kiss. It was the morning after the first Valentine’s Day Pajama Party at Preston Road.

Happy Anniversary, Darling! xox, mjh

Valentine's Day card drawn by mjh for MR in 1987

“I’ll be your man.
I’ll understand.
Do my best
to take good care of you.
You’ll be my queen.
I’ll be your king.
And I’ll be your lover, too.”
— Van the Man Morrison

cupid and whatshername

See also http://www.edgewiseblog.com/mjh/the-atheists-pulpit/30-years-ago/.


EJH November 1978My Mom died 30 years ago today. She has been dead more than half of my lifetime. I’m at a loss for a word to describe this. It’s not inconceivable, not really unbelievable, no longer unfair or unjust. It’s just un-Mom. It’s grief — interminable, but suppressible.

Ernestine Hinton loved all kinds of fabric. She frequented fabric stores, buying yards of cloth she liked, which she piled in an out-of-the-way corner solely to paw through, no specific project in mind. She loved sensual materials like satin, silk and velour. She loved color and was happy to put colors next to each other that some might call daring. When she remodeled the house — transformed it, really — she brought together golds, yellows, reds, greens, sage and Chinese lacquer, all unified by a carpet that might have pleased Jackson Pollack, a studiously patternless palette of color blotches that gave every first-time viewer pause.

Ernestine was a natural hostess, welcoming everyone with such genuine charm. She wanted you to be comfortable but never complacent and she trusted you to know the difference.

Out and about, she spoke to people most others ignore, extending courtesy to everyone equally. She worked to improve the lives of many and was outraged by those who did the opposite. She did not suffer fools. She would be appalled by the churlishness and pettiness of modern politics. And she would be overjoyed to see Obama as president.

Mom 1980 She preferred to be called Teen, but I could only call her Mom, or in occasional shock, Mother! And shock me, she did. She was her own woman and expected to be accepted as such. In conversation, she was alive and witty. She could turn a deft phrase to knock you off your feet and then pick you up and dust you off and make sure you were still OK. She was brilliant.

Although Teen was a feminist role model before that concept emerged, she loved being a mother and loved children without reserve. There was nothing more important or valuable than nurturing children. We make our future by teaching our children and by loving them.

Mom taught me to love quick wit, language and laughter. She taught me to despise ignorance, the root of hatred and most of the ugly things we do to each other. She taught me empathy and compassion and patience. She taught me to speak out when I see the emperor has no clothes. She believed everyone’s life would be improved by a little more gentle affection, even between strangers. She was kinder and more gracious than I’ll ever be. Many people and events have shaped me; she did it first and gave the world what there is to work with.

Before she died, Mom told Mer she knew I’d be angry about her death for a long time. I’ll never stop being angry about that — she deserved a long life as much as anyone else — though I do better understand the burden of anger after all these years. Anger is a poor memorial. She deserves better. peace, mjh

Ernestine 1966

Teen 1973

Click for more photos of my Mom

Cue Dave Carter’s “When I Go.” (He’s dead, too.)

[originally posted Sun 01/14/07 at 6:27 pm]

mjh’s Blog: Cut (2004)

Only religion can stop its fanatics

Islamic fanatics believe with all their hearts that you should die for disrespecting their god. While they are the most vile and violent at the moment, they are not alone. Christians have waged wars and crushed cultures with the same zeal.

We cannot force people into non-violence, they must embrace it. But non-violence can be taught and, especially, it can be *preached*. Those who believe in god of any flavor must speak for peace and non-violence.

As for me, I’m certain there is no god and those who kill for a god provide me with considerable evidence.

The return of Autumn — a year later

We celebrate a lot of anniversaries. In Autumn’s case, there’s her birthday (8/29/13), when we met her (it’s in my journal somewhere), when she first came to live with us (11/25/13), when we gave her up (11/27/13), and when we got her back, which was one year ago today. Yes, it’s a long story, all documented here and in her ever-expanding photo album. We are over the moon with both our sweet dogs.

[As often happens when people fawn over Autumn, Luke wants you to remember him, too.]

[The following was first published 1/1/14.]

WP_20140104_13_35_39_ProYou may recall that prior to Thanksgiving, we adopted a dog named Autumn (Dogs of Future Passed). Within a week, we returned her (Grief and puppy love), in large part because I seemed to be allergic to her and also because I let her take over the household and began to regret that. Letting her go was very difficult for us, to say the least.

In the 6 weeks since then, we’ve talked about Autumn almost daily, second-guessed and regretted our decision, then resolved to put it behind us. We have the best dog in the world in Luke (all dog owners believe this of their dogs — it’s part of that powerful bond between us). With Luke, we have a near-perfect life. We could not ask for a better dog.

It seemed the Universe wasn’t going to let us get away from Autumn so easily. On the last day of 2013, out for our last walk of the year, we encountered Autumn walking with her terrific foster-mom, Susan K. The timing was perfect. Autumn seemed so happy to see us again and we realized that although we don’t want or need a second dog, we do indeed want and need Autumn. We ran into them again a day or so later. There was talk of other adopters, so we this was our last chance to have her.

During the holidays, we also came to realize that a little disruption could be a good thing. I like change and Mer likes challenges and Autumn might be both. Autumn is a phenomenal fit with us. Though she is a small dog, she’s not a yapper. She adores Luke and emulates him; he’ll be a great role model for her. She’s mostly housebroken and can walk on a leash and sit on command. She’s a small dog with long legs and Luke is a big dog with short legs. Their coloring and face shape are very similar. Their ears are very cool in different ways.


When Autumn came home today, she and Luke ran joyfully in the yard. We’d been concerned that he was at best indifferent to her. We also worried about his well-being, especially trying to keep up with a puppy. Those concerns vanished in play.

But what about my allergic reaction, which consisted of burning hands and hives? Well, my symptoms pre-date Autumn and recurred during her absence. She may contribute to my ailments but she isn’t the sole cause. If I knew Luke was the cause of my difficulties, it wouldn’t change how I feel about him nor would I consider for a moment getting rid of him; the same for Autumn. I’ll work through my issues.