What did one math book say to the other?

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?

A: Probably.

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?

A: Algebros.

Q: Why do atheists have trouble with exponents?

A: They don’t believe in higher powers.

Memory of Venice/Valentines Day

For this day, a painting, and a poem by Philip Booth.

Nightsong

Beside you,

lying down at dark,

my waking fits your sleep.

Your turning

flares the slow-banked fire

between our mingled feet,

and there,

curved close and warm

against the nape of love,

held there,

who holds your dreaming

shape, I match my breathing

to your breath;

and sightless, keep my hand

on your heart’s breast, keep

nightwatch

on your sleep to prove

there is no dark, nor death.

—Philip Booth

Groundhog Day/Candlemas

For this double celebration, a sketch, and the first verse of a poem by Lynn Ungar.

Celebrate this unlikely oracle,

this ball of fat and fur,

whom we so mysteriously endow

with the power to predict spring.

Let’s hear it for the improbable heroes who,

frightened at their own shadows,

nonetheless unwittingly work miracles.

Why shouldn’t we believe

this peculiar rodent holds power

over sun and seasons in his stubby paw?

Who says that God is all grandeur and glory?

—from “Groundhog Day” by Lynn Ungar

Chanson d’automne

For the first day of fall, a poem by Paul Verlaine. Translation by Arthur Symons.

Les sanglots longs
Des violons
De l’automne
Blessent mon coeur
D’une langueur
Monotone.

Tout suffocant
Et blême, quand
Sonne l’heure,
Je me souviens
Des jours anciens
Et je pleure

Et je m’en vais
Au vent mauvais
Qui m’emporte
Deçà, delà,
Pareil à la
Feuille morte.

—Paul Verlaine (1844-1896)

When a sighing begins
In the violins
Of the autumn-song,
My heart is drowned
In the slow sound
Languorous and long

Pale as with pain,
Breath fails me when
The hours tolls deep.
My thoughts recover
The days that are over
And I weep.

And I go
Where the winds know,
Broken and brief,
To and fro,
As the winds blow
A dead leaf.

Cards!

Because there won’t be any in-person holiday bazaar for my cards this year, my website is updated (thank you Devin!) to do everything online. Please check it out, along with some new cards. I hope you like it. (Below, some discount codes.)

If you decide to order as many as 5 or 10, you may use the code 5FOR20 or 10FOR40 for a discount. If you are nearby and prefer a safely socially-distant pickup, use code PICKUP for no shipping, and contact me to make arrangements. 

St. Martin the Veteran

Today is Veterans’ Day, instituted first as Armistice Day after WWI, then Veterans’ Day after WWII (although my mother occasionally still called it Armistice Day) as a tribute to veterans of both world wars. It’s also the Feast of Martinmas, which is less well known in this country, although having been raised Catholic I grew up familar with the story of Saint Martin of Tours. It seems somehow fitting that Veterans Day is celebrated on the festival of a former Roman soldier.

Martin was born in the 4th century in what later became Hungary but what was then Pannonia, a province of the Roman Empire. His father, an important officer in the Roman army, naturally expected his son to follow in his footsteps. Martin had been named for Mars, the god of war, presumably to encourage that military spirit. But apparently young Martin was an easy-going, sociable fellow, more curious about strangers, and generous with handouts, than aggressive toward them, so to get him into the army his father arranged for his kidnapping and forcible enlistment by his soldiers, hoping that Martin would grow accustomed to military life through daily exposure. I bet Dad didn’t get many loving letters from the front. Today this method of recruitment is frowned upon.

However, there was Martin, a soldier at last, obliged to serve the Emperor for three years, outfitted with a Roman uniform and a sword. Even in the army, Martin was open-handed, and his military salary usually found its way into the hands of the unfortunate. His unit was sent to Gaul, as part of an ongoing attempt to civilize the native barbarians. Civilization in Gaul was eventually attained at a level far beyond their wildest dreams, but that’s another story.

One winter day, the story goes, Martin arrived at the gates of Amiens, where he encountered a poor ragged beggar shivering by the side of the road. Martin had already given away all his extra clothing, but, taking pity on the beggar, Martin unsheathed his sword and cut his warm woolen (army-issue, uh-oh) cloak in half and wrapped one half around him.

That night, Martin dreamed that Jesus appeared to him wrapped in Martin’s half-cloak saying, “Martin has covered me with this garment.” This made him determined to leave the army permanently, at the end of his term. When he attempted it, however (inconveniently during a barbarian invasion), he was accused of cowardice, in response to which he offered to advance alone against the enemy. Instead he was imprisoned. Eventually he was released at the conclusion of an armistice, and was finally able to pursue his vocation, settling in Gaul, founding an order, living very simply and developing a reputation for feeding the hungry and healing the sick.

Over the years our homeschooling group celebrated Martinmas (sometimes in combination with Diwali, Festival of Light, which can occur at around the same time—this year it falls on the 14th) with storytelling, a night-time walk in the park carrying lanterns and singing songs about light, and afterward gathering to share dessert. Happy Martinmas! Happy Diwali! Happy Veterans Day, everyone!

(A re-post from an earlier year.)

Ka-Boom!

To kick off July, a poem by John Updike.

Bang-bang! Ka-boom!
We celebrate
Our national
Independence date,

The Fourth,
with Firecrackers and
The marching of
The Legion Band.

America:
It makes us think
Of hot dogs, fries,
and Coke to drink.

The shade is hot
The little ants
Are busy, but
Poor Fido pants

And Tabby dozes
In a pool
Of fur she sheds
To keep her cool.

—John Updike