Rose’s mustache, and calculating devices

Rose with mustache
Rose with mustache
I got D&J's permission, so here's the photo of Rose and her mustache.

Moments after I took that photo, Rose reached up and stroked the tip of the mustache with her fingertips. I think she was just trying to make sure it was in place, but the gesture just happened to be an exact replica of the gesture a movie character would make in neatening up the end of his mustache. If the mustache pointed up instead of down, it would've been twirling her mustachio, but I guess this is more a good-guy mustache.

In other news, nothing significant new to report. Still getting 5-6 hours of sleep a night (no sleeping drugs the last couple nights), which is enough to get by for me but I should probably take a nap later. Slowly working up to settling back into my life. Spent a couple hours sitting in a park in the sun yesterday; even played a little frisbee. (In some states, fathers teach their kids to play football; in California, at least in the Bay Area in the '70s, at least with my father, it was frisbee. Throwing a frisbee was pretty much the only physical activity I was any good at until at least high school.) Have been making various phone calls, catching up with people, telling a few people I hadn't told yet. My manager says to take as much time off as I need, so I think I'm going to hold off on going back to work 'til next week; I'm still feeling pretty fragile.

I had been planning to have a combined birthday/housewarming party at the end of March (a week and a half from now), but I don't think that's a good idea at this point. I'll probably aim to have a housewarming party in late April or early May, I guess, 'cause late May through mid-June I'll be traveling.

Most of what's still going on at this point is stuff I can't talk about here—mostly legal and financial issues that Jay is dealing with. Today I'll probably take the personal papers and photos I brought back out into my yard in the sun and sort through them out there, to keep them from filling my house with smoke-smell. And I'll do laundry, though it may be too late to save the shirt and pants I wore in the house.

. . . One of the few things other than papers and photos that I brought home with me is Peter's slide rule. I always wanted that slide rule when I was a kid. I didn't (and still don't) know how to use it properly, but I knew it was a device for doing math, and I thought that was cool.

I didn't bring home any of his multitude of graphing calculators. I was surprised, though, looking at his books, to realize how long calculators had been an interest of his; there were calculator-tricks-and-games books dating back to when I was a kid. I remember the first calculator I saw, possibly the first one he owned, an HP-25 programmable calculator (photo); some of the earliest programming I did was on that calculator. I'm still sometimes a little more comfortable with Reverse Polish Notation than with more straightforward regular calculators. . . . Hey, nifty! There's a Java simulation of an HP-25 available free online!

Peter once promised me a calculator of my own if I learned the squares of all the numbers up to 25. I knew most of 'em, but never did memorize the late teens and early twenties. At some point in high school or college I somehow managed to lose his HP-25, but he went on to more advanced calculators: a 41C (photo), an 11C (photo), maybe also a 16C (photo), though I'm not sure about that last. I think he didn't make the switch to graphing calculators until he started to teach math sometime in the '90s. The funny thing is that he never owned a PDA and rarely used a computer for anything but playing games; that always seemed a little odd to me, but I wonder if he continued to think of calculators as primarily calculating devices, like the slide rule, rather than small computers.

Anyway. I have no real conclusions or point here; just musing.

9 Responses to “Rose’s mustache, and calculating devices”

  1. Twig

    Hi Jed,

    Just letting you know that the LJ feed for this is scrambled, some sort of html markup error.

    Glad you’re taking care of yourself. I hope you have a good nap.

  2. Jed

    Yikes. Thanks much, Twig! Somehow I put an extra quotation mark in the image tag. Should be fixed now; with luck, LJ will pick up the correction in about 15 minutes.

  3. bethlet

    Omigosh, that picture is *adorable* thanks for posting it. I can see how she and her moustache brought you much joy…

    Interesting about the calculators & programming!

    I have the same experience with frisbee being pretty much the only exercise I learned to do (also with my Dad) when I was a kid.

    Here’s to hoping for lots more sun and frisbee-filled days 🙂

  4. Melissa Running

    Does this help any?

    —your friendly far-from-neighborhood Math Forum employee,


  5. metasilk

    Thank you for the picture! Glad you are home safe.

  6. Jeremy Frank

    On Calculating Machines: Jed, have you ever heard of the Curta? If not, check out

    Cliff Stoll wrote a great article on it that appeared in SciAm last year (also on the web someplace.)

    Hope you get a chance to read about it and enjoy it as much as I did.

  7. Michael

    Lisa has a Curta — they’re incredibly cool, and speak of a completely different age that I wasn’t sure had really existed outside of fiction. Complex machines with precision craftsmanship, performing wonders without batteries. Sort of like a typewriter, I suppose, except compact and beautiful in a German engineering way.

  8. Jed

    Thanks for the slide rule instructions, Melissa! Good stuff. I have now performed actual calculations on the slide rule.

    Jeremy and Michael: Wow. The Curta is gorgeous. There are several for sale on eBay, ranging from $400 to about $750; I can’t justify that much money on something that I have no actual use for (it would end up just sitting on one of my tchotchke shelves), but it’s almost tempting. Interesting that the eBay ads talk about it being used in road rallies; I wouldn’t have expected that to be the main use for this kind of thing. Michael, next time I’m out your way remind me that Lisa has one; I’d love to take a look at it.

  9. Melissa

    She is so cute with the mustache. I bet now that she is laughing when she sees this photo.

    [This was obviously spam, but also obviously posted by a human who had actually read the entry, so I’m allowing it (after removing the very obviously spammy URL). —Jed]


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