Author Archives

I am entering my 21st year as a math teacher at Weston High School, the sole public high school in Weston, MA. It’s also my 44th year as a teacher altogether. In addition to my day job, I taught for 20 years at the Saturday Course in Milton, MA. I also teach at Harvard’s Crimson Summer Academy each summer; 2017 was our 14th consecutive summer.

Sometimes I work on educational software. I also read, cook, and continue building my model railroad whenever I can. For some reason I'm left with less so-called free time than would be ideal. Nevertheless, I manage to devote time to my wife, Barbara, and to our excessive number of cats as well.

  • Cruciverbalism

    If you have any interest at all in crossword puzzles, you will definitely enjoy Cruciverbalism: A Crossword Fanatic’s Guide to Life in the Grid, a small but well-written book by Stanley Newman and Mark Lasswell. Fascinating, amusing, and full of… Read More ›

  • Arsenic and Old Lace

    Arsenic and Old Lace is definitely a classic film, so that means I’m supposed to like it — right? I don’t know why I had never seen it before, but I finally got around to it the other day. Unfortunately… Read More ›

  • Off by two ems

    There’s a flaw in the typography of the sign outside my dentist’s office. It’s neatly lined up in two columns, starting something like this [names changed to preserve anonymity]: John Smith, DMDMary Jones, DDSJoe Gummer, DDSRhonda Radical, DDS    General DentistryDental… Read More ›

  • The Rottweiler

    The Rottweiler is another excellent book in Ruth Rendell’s collection of thrillers (as distinguished from her Wexford detective novels). There is a richly developed cast of characters, including one who is the favorite suspect of the police but who the… Read More ›

  • Excellence without a Soul

    I highly recommend Excellence without a Soul: How a Great University Forgot Education, by Harry Lewis. Though nominally about Harvard, it’s really about a much larger domain, including not only elite universities but also elite public high schools such as… Read More ›

  • Somersault

    We tried to watch Somersault, acclaimed all over Australia. It looked like it might be of interest to film buffs and to anyone who works with teenagers (or anyone who has a teenager in the family). But neither Barbara nor… Read More ›

  • 7+2=10

    I just came across this clipping I had saved from the Boston Globe some years ago. Unfortunately, I don’t know the date, and it’s not really worth the trouble researching it. It quotes Joe Cazazza. who has finally retired from… Read More ›

  • A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines

    Too often the books I review are mysteries (or novels in related genres, such as psychological thrillers). But not this time (and not next time either). Today we’re talking about a straight, mainstream novel — more or less. As you… Read More ›

  • Hey, Verizon, $.02 does not equal .02¢

    You have to listen to this actual mind-boggling conversation between a Verizon Customer Service manager and a Verizon customer. Here is the first astonishing excerpt: Customer: Do you recognize that there’s a difference between point zero zero two dollars and… Read More ›

  • “Don’t think about thinking, it’s not on the test”

    On NPR’s Morning Edition today there was a story about education and standardized testing, which included a debut performance of “Not on the Test” — a “gentle lullaby for students across the country” by Tom Chapin and John Forster. Do… Read More ›