Frustrated by opacity

Sunday morning and no noise out of doors, but a lot of non-Euclidean geometry clanks inside my head.  I finally see how to map an infinite non-Euclidean plane into a disk without boundary to get the Beltrami-Klein model.  What shall I sacrifice to the gods on this holy day for granting me this vision?

I wish it did not take me so long to see things that are easily visible to others.

Be that as it may, now that I see the mapping, I can think more clearly about the Riemann Hypothesis in the Beltrami-Klein model.  In fact, I don’t know doodly about number theory in that kind of model, so meditating on Riemann is a little premature.

No matter.  This shit is fun.

Published in: on August 30, 2009 at 11:41 am  Leave a Comment  

My portait

OK, here’s what State Street looked like today.  A pair of worn out walking sneakers, white anklet socks, his best Levi button fly blue jeans without any holes in them except for the bottom of the legs where all the material wore off after a winter of walking on them and getting shredded by the sidewalk salt, a yellow t-shirt a friend gave him a year ago when she was cleaning out her closets before moving to a new condo and she felt she might not want to move an ex-boyfriend’s stuff and it was easier to give it to me, and a blue jean jacket to top off the whole mess.

Add to that some whiskers that have not been shaved for at least three days, hair that has not been cut in well over three years, and tonight, is not pulled back into a ponytail, but spills from underneath a wool gray pin striped Cubs 1908 road baseball cap with a big black C on the front of it.

I love the way I lookd.

And let’s not forget about the face or body.  Totally shot.

Published in: on August 29, 2009 at 11:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

More dawdling

My current walking around the street book is William Dunham’s Journey Through Genius: The Great Theorems of Mathematics.  I read it shortly after it came out in 1990 and was impressed.  Working my way through it again, I am even more impressed.

Dunham takes a tour of some splendid mathematical theorems proved by the giants of mathematics from ancient times onwards.  Assuming the reader has a high school understanding of algebra and geometry, he gives detailed proofs of the theorems and presents the interesting mathematics, history, and biographies required to appreciate them.  The book is charming, a perfect book over which to dawdle.  (And don’t we all like dawdling over something pretty on occasion?)

Just as one goes to the museum to view one’s favorites works of art and returns with renewed appreciation, one can do the same thing with math theorems, for they are works of art too.

Published in: on August 29, 2009 at 2:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

The art of negation

Euclid in his Elements first uses his fifth postulate, the parallel postulate, to prove proposition I.29.

Exercise: negate the parallel postulate and determine the consequences for all the propositions in Elements from I.29 onwards. Hint: be sure to have have plenty of paper, ink, and patience before you start.

Another hint: take as much time as you need, think hard, and enjoy the ride, for this is a no-grade and no-credit course.

Published in: on August 29, 2009 at 2:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Do what you want, but before you start, meditate on whether you can do it

I went to Starbuck’s this morning with a math notebook in hand.  My intent was to work on some elementary notions and results regarding elliptic curves.  As I drank my coffee at the bar and stared out the window running along State Street (and isn’t math  like the rest of life–a lot of staring into space?), I fixed upon the conceptual outline and style of the geometry book I have been writing.  It fits with what I can actually do when writing a geometry book.  Wow, how did I ever come up with that idea!

And with that, I decided what I want to do with a significant portion of the rest of my life.  I’d tell you, but it’s a secret until I actually do some of it.

Published in: on August 27, 2009 at 1:04 pm  Leave a Comment  


Maybe, an epiphany tonight..  Anything is possible no matter how improbable.

Published in: on August 26, 2009 at 11:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Shakespeare in translation

I was reading an article (where and by whom I don’t remember) where the idea was floated that Shakespeare should be translated into modern English as Chaucer has.  That’s an interesting proposition.  Translations are new works of literature, but literature all the same.

What play should be the first?  How many years would it take to do it?

Published in: on August 26, 2009 at 11:57 am  Comments (2)  

I think you’re pretty

No sense in saying more than what can be said.  I’m studying some math theorems again just because I think they’re pretty.  They are like a beloved who steals your heart.  When someone asks you why you are with the beloved all you can think to say is your heart is filled as you contemplate her and feel her splendor.

Published in: on August 25, 2009 at 11:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Calculus on Manifolds: one more time

In a fit of madness, I have decided to take one more run at Spivak’s Calculus on Manifolds.  This time I am going to take a look at it from the standpoint of complex analysis also.

Published in: on August 23, 2009 at 12:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Summer rain August 2009

The summer rain falls thickly, yet softly.  These summer days with these warm rains fallng about you cleanse your soul–make you feel glad to be a alive just for a little while on this earth.

Published in: on August 19, 2009 at 8:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saint Ricky

Today’s great find is the Ricky Nelson version of “Since I Don’t Have You.”. Totally smokin’.

Published in: on August 19, 2009 at 4:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cubs baseball and the Riemann Hypothesis

This is the time of summer when hopes fade.  Such is the case with my beloved(?) Chicago Cubs.  They are playing bad baseball again, especially closer Kevin Gregg who almost single handed is taking them out of contention with one blown save piled on another.

All an old man such as I can do is begin to accept the fact that he will never see a Cubs World Series winner.  Oh well, I’ll never resolve the Riemann Hypothesis either.  Both seem equally out of reach.

Published in: on August 18, 2009 at 1:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mappings in the complex plane and spirit

What is the spiritual and what is meaning in a world where there is no god?

Another more tractable question: if one maps in various ways the complex plane into the complex unit disk without boundary and centered at the origin, then what happens to the density of primes after the mapping?

Today, I like the second question best.  It comforts me more.

Maybe, just the fact that I pose the second question is all that is required to answer the first.  It’s pretty.  Meaning and spirit derives from the the asking.

Published in: on August 17, 2009 at 11:41 am  Leave a Comment  

The hour of lead

Melancholy pervaded my day.  Not one worthy thought crossed my mind.  Neither pleasant memory nor fancy imagination brought one forth.

This is the Hour of Lead–
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing Persons, recollect the Snow–
First–Chill–then Stupor–then the letting go–

E. D.

Published in: on August 16, 2009 at 9:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

In the labyrinth–an interior road trip

Morning.  Drinking coffee.  Watching Dances With Wolves.  I feel as alone as the lieutenant at his post at the edge of the frontier.

Last night was a night of strange dreams where I wandered strange labyrinths of all sorts searching for something without a name.  In the last episode, I had a set of keys that unlocked secret places in a big industrial complex.  I was told to hide the keys after I fetched what I had come after.  I had forgotten what I was after.  I gave up trying to remember.  I decided to hide the keys, but people were always ambling through hallways and aisles and looking at me so I could not have hidden the keys without them watching.  All I knew was that I wanted to go home.  I didn’t want to play the game anymore.

Then I woke for good.  Today, I’ll carry around a heavy heart.  I may not know what the dreams mean, but I feel what they mean with brutal clarity.

Published in: on August 16, 2009 at 10:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Romance and imagination

While working on the lastest draft of my novel this morning, I realized it is a romance novel. All my novels turn out that way. I wonder if this is some kind of failure of imagination.

Published in: on August 12, 2009 at 2:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Signed Your …

I pick up my copy of If on a winter’s night a traveler.  On the inside of the front cover she wrote, “Remember me when you read these words.  Know that I love you.”  How could I forget?  My tears won’t let me.

Published in: on August 11, 2009 at 11:28 am  Leave a Comment  

Fear of yellow

It is an old mass paperback book.  Its pages are yellowed.  A watermark runs through it from a puddle it must have briefly sat in one night.  It signifies things found and lost.  It scares me.  But all things scare me these days.  So maybe, it signifies nothing.  I really can’t tell.

Published in: on August 11, 2009 at 11:21 am  Leave a Comment  

No bother

If scientific truth leaves no room for god, then so much the worse for god.  I metabolize and get the urge to pass on my genes.  I exist because I was selected by impersonal forces.  Compared to the things that have troubled me, that thought is no bother at all.

Published in: on August 11, 2009 at 11:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Irreducible remainder

These public jottings seem an odd thing on perverse mornings such as these.  An inexhaustible store of material about which to write remains in the backroom because the tongue refuses to wag.  If grief is all that remains, then best to remain silent.

Divide one whole number into another whole number and let the remainder be as large as you please.  Desire does not give a shit about accuracy.

Published in: on August 10, 2009 at 10:48 am  Leave a Comment  

The Great Tree of Life

My Dad fought in World War II: North Africa, Italy, and Germany.  My mother worked in a war factory then.  They were American children of the Great Depression before all that happened  They met after the war.  They never told me about that part of their lives.  They fucked after they got married and I was born, me, a young piece of fruit on the Great Tree of Life.  He died all too young of rampant unrepentant and unremittent alcoholism.  She died in her Seventies from Alzheimer’s.

I exist as a piece of fruit on the Great Tree of Life, and as I write this, wither on the vine, fruit that has outlived his time.  Soon, the bonds that hold me to that tree will loosen and I will fall to the ground.  Another piece of fruit–rotting–decaying–until I have become molecules sustaining more pieces of fruit.

Published in: on August 6, 2009 at 10:38 pm  Comments (2)  

That brutal blank space where passion does not roam

You get home at an ugly hour.  She calls as soon as you get through the door: can you come over? she says.

You do.

Her youth shines beneath her tears when she answers your knock on her door.  She’s so distraught, she doesn’t mind you are totally blasted–hardly notices even.  Why is your shoulder the one she cries on when she has quarreled with her beloved?

There’s never been any passion between us no matter how hard we’ve tried, just this wistful longing like cold fingers that grope you in the dark.

Published in: on August 5, 2009 at 12:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

The return of an obsession

I went to bed last night thinking about the relations between complex analysis and geometry, and woke this morning still obsessed with the relations.  Where do their radically elementary concepts meet?  In building their theories into higher towers upon elementary foundations, how do they stay connected, two worlds with a bridge between them?

To me, answering questions like the above, seem a noble act of intellect and imagination–something creative even if the study has been done before by far greater minds than mine.

This is the second time this year this obsession has overwhelmed me.  I suspect I have a secret desire to escape the mundane that I cannot satisfy, or not yet have tried hard enough to satisfy.

Published in: on August 4, 2009 at 2:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Knock wood; don’t jinx yourself

I’ve been working on my novel and my geometry book again and really do think I have been working, for they engage  me during the day.  I’ve been reading Delbecco’s The Design of Life too.  Fuck, molecular biology from 1987?  I hope it is not out of date.  I wouldn’t know if it was.

But mostly, I have been trying to recreate myself.  You know, create a new narrative in which to fit my memory and imagination, and develop a new persona not having existed before.  After all, I ain’t dead yet and the prospects don’t look too good for that way out in the near future.

I am the kind of person who should have been dead a long time ago while his betters have died all too soon.

Published in: on August 3, 2009 at 10:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

Missed another one

It is a new idea to me.  The Meaning of Life changes and evolves.  Chance plays a role in the evolution.  How could I have missed the notion?

Published in: on August 1, 2009 at 1:46 pm  Leave a Comment