Schismatic Bubba

Yesterday we managed to skate perilously close to the Reformation at Hypatia’s post, which was about the latest remarks from Pope Francis that exhibited his brinkmanship; tippy-toeing as close to the line as possible. With today being the celebration of Reformation Day, I am crashing in to those troubled waters.

It is unfortunate that Christians are divided, but that is our circumstance. Since we need each other in order to pull together to save western civilization, we need to find an understanding in which we acknowledge our differences even as we take up the struggle against the Left in good spirits and brotherhood.... [Read More]


Life is a Bitch – Math Edition

Inspired by Prof. Petr Beckmann’s classic 1970 book “A History of Pi”, Eli Maor in 1994 wrote “e:  The Story of a Number”.  ISBN 0-691-03390-0.  Maor’s view is that the teaching of mathematics suffers from a lack of context.  Including the historical background and the characters whose struggles led to advances would, he thinks, make mathematics more interesting and accessible to students and the general population.  He certainly makes that case in this book which spans the ages from Babylonians in 1700 BC to modern times, digging into the mysterious number 2.7182818284… which keeps on cropping up in everything from interest rates to nuclear explosions.  Math will always be math, causing fear & loathing in the kind of non-numerate person who ends up devising national budgets in Western democracies, but putting a human face on it may make it more intriguing.

One of the many fascinating elements in this book is the story from the 1600s of Sir Isaac Newton (upon whose head the apple fell) and Baron Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz.  Back in high school math class, most of us were told that these two gentlemen independently invented calculus;  there was some debate at the time about who should get the credit, but nowadays no-one really cares.  Then it was on to memorizing formulae.... [Read More]



I’ve now encountered the word ‘residency’ twice in my reading in the last few weeks, referring specifically to artist residencies, but I’m curious about any kind. I know doctors do a residency – what’s involved in that? Who sponsors them? Have any Ratburghers done a residency in some other type of program?

I saw the word recently was in regards to a cartoonist for the New Yorker who is doing a kickstarter to get funds to purchase a house in rural PA. She will then run a ‘residency’ there for humorists, of the literary or cartooning kind – and it’s solely for women. (I don’t know what she’ll do if someone with a 5 o’clock shadow who identifies as a woman applies.) It sounds kind of like a retreat, where the writers/artists would work on their craft and then after some period of weeks, have an exhibit or a reading or some kind of event. The second reference was just yesterday in my local paper, where an art club is raising money to fund a residency for painters – and the first session, again, will be exclusively for women.... [Read More]


This Week’s Book Review – Snowblind

Looking for a good read? Here is a recommendation. I have an unusual approach to reviewing books. I review books I feel merit a review. Each review is an opportunity to recommend a book. If I do not think a book is worth reading, I find another book to review. You do not have to agree with everything every author has written (I do not), but the fiction I review is entertaining (and often thought-provoking) and the non-fiction contain ideas worth reading.... [Read More]


Vote early and often!

I’m not used to Joe being quite so… forthcoming, but better late than never.

Continue reading “Vote early and often!”


The Paradox of Privacy

We’ve had all these statutes  protecting information about people: financial, medical, and the like, in the name of protecting their “privacy”.  But I’ve always known there are TWO kinds of privacy.  And Jeffrey TooBin has just illustrated the difference.
It was only a matter of time before something like this happened!   The kind of privacy I’m talking about is the  basic knowledge we all have, even though we very seldom talk about it: Everybody does certain things we don’t want anybody else to SEE us doing.  Solitary pleasures: picking our noses, scratching our asses, urinating and defecation, and: masturbating.  Fiddling with our privates is, indeed, the final bastion of privacy.

In Dave Eggers ’ great book the Circle,  which I heartily recommend,   The stalwarts of the company representing a thinly disguised Google live by the slogan: Privacy is Theft.  People go “transparent” meaning everything they do, all day and night long, is live-streamed to..millions.  The one exception is they may turn off the camera when they go to the bathroom. I really dk why stop there.... [Read More]



My pace is calmer, my stress is high but my anxiety is low. Contrary to popular thought, stress is good, it is the anxiety during it that kills you. We need stress to grow and maintain.

Celebrating the Red Headed Irish Wisecracker’s return to walking without cane we took our road trip. No longer tethered to an office by today’s technology, we did the minimum to keep our business running from 7 different motels, drove 3100 miles over 10 days, celebrated eldest grandaughters 12th birthday in person and covered five western states.... [Read More]


Accomplish Fate!

“..Know that,when all words are said/And a man is fighting mad,/Something drops from eyes long blind/He completes his partial mind!/ For an instant stands at ease,/ Laughs aloud, his heart at peace./Even the wisest man grows tense/With some sort of violence/Before he can accomplish Fate/Know his work, or choose his mate.”

(Yeats, from Under Ben Bulben)... [Read More]


What is the deal with the NY travel advisory map?

Is it me, or does the New York/ New Jersey/ Connecticut travel advisory map look like an electoral map? I don’t understand this map  that the overlord Gov Cuomo has come up with. Apparently he’s also trying to force Connecticut residents to quarantine for 14 days if coming to NY. Uhhh, WHAT??!!! Good luck enforcing that one, Andy.

But what do you think about this map? This doesn’t have anything to do with the virus, because no one is actually quarantining. But I’m thinking this has something to do with the election. Maybe not wanting NYers to leave for fear they may vote in other states, if they have residency there? I don’t know but something going on with these travel restrictions.... [Read More]