Hearing Double

Every once in a while, someone will create something so simple and brilliant that it just resonates with me. So it was with the song “Hearing Double” that I heard for the first time at a recent Jason Mraz concert.

Music is mathematical at its very core, but this song seems to raise the math to the very surface where it can’t be overlooked. I love that place where science and art intersect.

At the concert in Seattle, Jason introduced this song as the product of discovering that he and the voice inside his head were in love with the same person. What an interesting, creative concept. I love how different words are automatically emphasized, and how that very emphasis then emphasizes the feeling behind the words. I especially love how the song makes me laugh.

I urge you to listen to this song. Twice, even. And then tell me what you think, below.

Jason Mraz
Jason Mraz

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You Do the Math

Was math invented or discovered? This question is by no means original with me. (Very few thoughts are.) But this is a topic I find endlessly fascinating.

Think about it. Pythagoras came up with his theorem, Euclid proved that there were an infinite number of primes, and Einstein informed us that E=mc squared, but all of these things are really descriptions of events that had been occurring in the universe all along. One can find countless articles about how Fibonacci numbers and the Golden Ratio appear in nature.

It is often postulated that the best way to communicate with aliens from outer space would be through math. What more evidence does one need that math is considered universal? It isn’t as if different cultures have different mathematical beliefs.

As a fractal artist (my work can be found here), I’m extremely conscious of how often fractals occur naturally. Broccoli, sunflowers, tree branches, blood vessels… they’re everywhere. Math is everywhere.

Is this evidence of a higher power or a grand plan? Or is math simply the scientific language we use to understand the world around us? If so, I probably should have paid more attention in Algebra class.


[Image credit: hqscreen.com]

Don’t Underestimate the Elderly

My landlady is 72 years old, and only 4 months out from heart surgery, and yet the first time I saw her, she was wearing short shorts, a tank top, and a half ton of jewelry. I’m convinced she’s in better shape than I am.  I think she’s delightful.

Back in the 80’s, I used to work in this mom and pop video rental store. (This was before Blockbuster came along and wiped them off the map.) Every week this little old lady would come in and rent 10 porn videos.  I used to think, “You give me hope for the future.”

I recently graduated from college with an 80 year old man who was getting his 10th degree.

The pastor of my church, in his late 60’s, rode his bicycle across America this summer to raise money for charity.

My next door neighbor, may she rest in peace, lived alone until she was 95, and loved it. She rode her bike 30 miles a day until she was 80. She only stopped because she was afraid she’d fall and break a hip. So after that, she walked her dogs several miles a day.

I was talking to an 83 year old woman about her new boyfriend. She said, “But no sex, honey. He has prostate issues.” I just love her!

I know a man in his 80’s who makes stained glass, takes math classes just for the heck of it, is the world’s greatest cook and can touch his toes before I even start to bend over.

I work full time with 5 people in their 70’s.

Before I moved recently, I attended a yoga class with 50 people. The average age in there must have been 75, and they could all “downward dog” me under the table. It was kind of embarrassing, to tell the truth.

After being faced with so many examples of amazing elderly people, I have to ask myself, “Why do I continue to be amazed?” Why can’t I get that stereotypical image of the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” woman out of my head? Clearly that stereotype does them a disservice. Yes, there are plenty of elderly people out there with health problems or dementia or an inability to care for themselves. But can you imagine how frustrating it must be for the ones I’ve described above to be discounted, ignored, or otherwise treated like a three year old child? I resolve, from this day forward, to approach every elderly person as if they were amazing, because more often than not, they are. Who’s with me?