Growth Charts

Like many parents, we measured the kids’ heights every year on or around their birthdays and marked it on a door frame in the kitchen. Now that they have stopped growing, I can finally take a look at that data record and see if there is anything noteworthy. There is! Yet again confirming my belief that uninteresting data sets are those that have not been examined in sufficient detail! Or perhaps that my threshold for interesting data is remarkably low. Continue reading Growth Charts


The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest

For years I have loved, but only irregularly read, the New Yorker Cartoon Caption contest (link), where the magazine publishes a caption-less cartoon and invites readers to submit a caption for it. They review all entries and publish the best. There is no prize, other than bragging rights. I was reminded of it recently while reading an interview with the film critic Roger Ebert where he said that he entered the contest regularly, and finally won (link) after 107 attempts! Continue reading The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest

All Strangers Exaggerate!

For most of my adult life I have had casual conversations with strangers: in airplanes, in lineups, at concerts, etc. Details from our pasts are often shared during those interactions. I was thinking about that a couple of months ago, and realized that while I enjoy those conversations I automatically assume that all statements made about their achievements are gross exaggerations. For example: Continue reading All Strangers Exaggerate!

What is Art?

I’ve never had a strong opinion about art. Sure in the back of my mind was the sneaking suspicion that W.C Fields was thinking about art critics when he said “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit” but I was content in my ignorance until recently, when I came across the work Ambulation by Sandrine Schaefer. I don’t know what she was trying to do, but it certainly wasn’t art. Which led me to think about art. Which in turn led me to this blog post. Continue reading What is Art?