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.

  • Word Bomb

    Fat, doxx, like, trigger, moist, they, partner, renoviction —  what do these eight words have in common? The answer is that they are the topics of the first eight episodes of Word Bomb, a new podcast from Canada. Unlike most of… Read More ›

  • An Enemy of the People

    Your president just called CNN “the enemy of the people.” This, of course, is far from the first time that he has referred to the press by this phrase. (Marvin Kalb just published an entire book on the subject, straightforwardly… Read More ›

  • Moral hazard?

    “You learn something new every day of your life,” my dad used to say to me. He was right, of course. A week ago I learned a concept that is, apparently, familiar to economists and philosophers but was for some… Read More ›

  • Entitlement, Part Two

    This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post in the form of three items that could have been in it, but the post was already long enough without them: First of all, I am bothered by the complainer’s use of an anonymous… Read More ›

  • Entitled at Weston? Or overworked?

    As we all have learned over the past two years, our Dear Leader’s strategy is to blame others for his own shortcomings, to accuse his enemies of those characteristics that are really his own character flaws, to claim to speak… Read More ›

  • Magicians

    Finally I’ve finished reading the third book of the Magicians trilogy: The Magician’s Land. (Earlier I reviewed the first two books, The Magicians and The Magician King, so it’s time to complete the picture.) The question — whether overt or… Read More ›

  • Martin Badoian, RIP

    I am saddened to report that Martin Badoian died on Friday at age 90. Marty taught at Canton High School until he was 89! He is best known for coaching the amazingly successful math team at Canton and for founding… Read More ›

  • “We don’t work with greasy machines!”

    “In the Mathematics Department we don’t work with greasy machines,” replied one of my undergraduate math professors with a sneer. “You’re going to have to go to the Applied Math department if that’s what you want to do.” That was… Read More ›

  • What is Modern Standard Arabic?

    Three months ago I wrote a post about whether Chinese is a language (a language vs. a family of languages). Now it’s time to ask a comparable question about Arabic: is it a language? It’s a comparable question because naive Westerners… Read More ›

  • Is it “Music City” or “Athens of the South”?

    Yes, this is the Parthenon. But no, we’re not in Greece. This is the Parthenon in Nashville, not the one in Athens. Barbara and I just got back from a three-day visit to see our niece, Aviva, who is currently… Read More ›