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[APRIL 2007.]

Mstislav Rostropovich, 1927-2007

Checkpoint Charlie, Nov ‘89


I Really Wish I Had Brought My Camera

will be signing copies of her new book
“Nevada Belles and the
Forgotten Women of the West”

Monday, May 28, 2007
Tonopah Historic Mining Park
Please join us to welcome this very special guest!


They didn’t have any remotely reasonable cars at the rental place, so I have this preposterous golden minivan to take to Tonopah. This week I’ve been squandering my youth on scratchy old microfilms of mineral patents, all about a hundred years old and signed by Roosevelt and Taft; when I go out into the territory I should watch for bears, I guess, and sing something rousing about the charge up San Juan Hill.

Better or worse than squandering it on (insert name of orals author you'll never read again)?

please call your van The Gold Bug.

Yeah, what was Richard Powers doing on my orals list?


I'm really grateful to everyone who sent friendly messages before and after the exam, but a week later and the only thing I still think about it is that even with the best intentions of everyone involved, there is no way that one brief interview behind a closed door can discharge the year of tension that preceded it. I keep seeing newspaper headlines or whatever and thinking, "That's right, don't forget about Eleanor of Aquitaine in Canto VI," and then I remember I don't have to do that any more. I have a sheet of paper to give to the administration so that I can become a doctoral candidate. The sheet of paper is called "Plan B," which because it is true is painful and therefore funny.

Anyway, I’m in Reno again making money to send to the federal government. I wanted to be worth a positive dollar amount when I turned thirty, but I doubt it will happen. But you know what’s nice about having a job, is not being evaluated all the time. Work evaluation doesn’t count.


Activity and Habituation in the Brain of the Polyclad Flatworm

J. thinks I’ll get to the oral exam and it will turn out to be the sort of oral exam where they’ll want to know how often I’ve been flossing. Anyway, almost done.


The Hellenistic Period in California: A Survey

1) The inscription in the lobby of Wheeler Hall honoring Benjamin Ide Wheeler, professor of Greek philology, president of the University of California (1899-1919), and author of volumes including Der griechische Nominalaccent (1885), Dionysos and Immortality (1899), and The Whence and Whither of the Modern Science of Language (1905).


Muriai de andrōn aretai, mia de ek pasan prokeitai, hos ta par’ cheiros kubernas en dikaiaisi phrenessin.

There are countless forms of excellence among men, but one stands out among all of them: when a man conducts whatever lies at hand with a just mind.

—Bacchylides, Epinician Ode 14

2) The gay Prize of Superiority in Football statue by the creek, unveiled in 1900 to commemorate the Big Game victories of previous years.


Pas de ho agonizōmenos panta enkrateuetai.

Every athlete controls himself in all things.

—First Corinthians 9:25


Paul J. Cohen, the set theorist who showed that the Continuum Hypothesis is not provable under Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory and who, without knowing it, played a minor role in my novel, is dead at 72. His book on set theory is not to be found anywhere for sale—I spent a long time looking, in those days when I had no university to claim me.

I was surprised to find, just now, that Google gives about *500* times as many hits for "set theorist" as "set theoretician".

What, and "scientologist" is a made-up word too?


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