It seems fitting to celebrate the MLKing holiday with a new book by author and medical anthropologist Faith Mitchell, Emma’s Postcard Album. The book features a collection of postcards sent and received by a young African-American woman between 1906 and 1910, set within their larger context, along with newspaper clippings and other archival material—an unusual multiple-focus approach (visual/written; intimate/panoramic; memoir/history) that will interest all ages. I include a link to the University Press of Mississippi website; it is also available from many online booksellers as well as our beloved local DC bookstore Politics and Prose.
As a fundraiser, Jim has created a T-shirt. It reads: PUTIN IS A D!¢K in Ukrainian. (It has had thumbs up from the Ukrainian refugees staying in our neighborhood and the protestors outside the Russian Embassy.) All proceeds go to the International Rescue Committee and World Central Kitchen. A shirt is $25 if you pick it up, plus $6 if you want it shipped. Sizes S, M, and L. If you are interested, email email@example.com.
Terrible math jokes for Pi Day. And, a Pi Pie. (It’s cranberry-apple.)
Q: What did one math book say to the other?
A: Don’t bother me. I’ve got my own problems.
Q: Why should you never mention the number 288?
A: Because it’s two gross.
Q: Why do plants hate math?
A: It gives them square roots.
Q: Why did the student get upset when the teacher called her average?
A: It was a mean thing to say.
Q: How do you stay warm in a cold room?
A: Go to a corner. It’s always 90 degrees.
Q: What did the zero say to the eight?
A: Nice belt!
Q: Why did pi get its driver’s license revoked?
A: Because it didn’t know when to stop.
Q: What do you get when you take the sun and divide its circumference by its diameter?
A: Pi in the sky.
Q: What is a math teacher’s favorite vacation destination?
A: Times Square.
Q: Have you heard the latest statistics joke?
Q: Why is it sad that parallel lines have so much in common?
A: Because they’ll never meet.
Q: Why is the obtuse angle upset?
A: Because it is never right.
Q: Why does no one ever speak to circles?
A: Because there’s no point.
Q: What do you call friends who love math?
Q: Why do atheists have trouble with exponents?
A: They don’t believe in higher powers.
Because of the pandemic, the Washington Waldorf School’s annual Holiday Bazaar is online this year. But you can still join in socially-distant craft activities and patronize the Waldorf store and participating vendors (of whom I am one) by following the link. Hoping for in-person next year…
Up early this morning, to prepare the St.Patrick’s Day table and bake soda bread for breakfast. There are many choices, and this recipe (below) is my current favorite. But I was out of wheat germ, so I substituted bran, resulting in a gutsier product. Great with Irish cheddar, or yogurt and jam (or all of the above, if that is to your taste). Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Irish Brown Soda Bread
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for sprinkling
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ (or bran)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 T cold unsalted butter cut into bits
1-1/3 cups buttermilk or plain yogurt (I’ve tried both)
Preheat oven to 425º.
Sprinkle baking sheet with a little flour.
In a large bowl whisk together flours, oats, wheat germ/bran, baking soda, and salt. With fingertips rub in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk/yogurt and mix quickly until dough is evenly moistened. DO NOT OVERMIX.
Turn dough onto floured surface and shape quickly into neat sphere, sprinkling with more flour as needed. On prepared baking sheet pat dough out into 7-inch round. With sharp knife cut shallow X in top.
Bake 25 minutes or so (depends on your oven) until bread looks set in center. Cool before serving.
On my mother’s birthday, I always bake her an apple pie in honor of the hundreds of apple pies she made for us, and we light a candle and sing, our voices some years joined by those of friends (thank you Karla, Rob, Kathy, and Ivan). I’m sure my mother is getting much better pie in the Great Beyond, but we continue the earthly tradition. Happy birthday, Mom!
Frosting as an art medium. For my son’s birthday, I decorated his cake with some of his lifelong favorites: dinosaurs, Lego, and Superman, who is demonstrating the mighty power of the written word, in deference to his current pursuit of an MFA in writing. My son’s, that is, not Superman’s. Superman already has his.
A giant chocolate-chip scone on the table this morning, and a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822). Happy Valentines Day, everyone.
The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the Ocean
The winds of Heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one another’s being mingle.
Why not I with thine? –
See the mountains kiss high Heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdain’d its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me?
—Percy Bysshe Shelley
Trot about the studio early this morning assembling a quickie door decoration: red and yellow construction paper, downloaded Chinese characters, gold spray paint, scrap of gold lace from the remnant box. Gallop to Yes Natural Foods after school for groceries. At the finish line: dumplings and spicy tofu for dinner. Happy Chinese New Year!