A Novella, written February 23, 2012, imagining a more pleasant 2020.

Didier Faux-Nom was born in 1995 in the French village of
Roubaix, just north and west of Lille. To everyone who met the young
boy, it was evident that fate had smiled upon him. This impression
was either the result of his roundish, perfectly symmetric face and jet
black hair with the little flip in front or the magic that was failing to
hide behind his big brown eyes.

Studies at university in France, including some training in
classic French cooking and later engineering graduate work in the
The United States…


Both David Hockney, the English painter and photographer, along with physicist Charles Falco, claimed that many advances in artistic realism since the Renaissance resulted from the use of clever optical instruments, including the camera lucida. This device superimposes a viewed subject onto a surface to aid drawing. Hockney explains that not only is there strong evidence that these tools were used, but also that there is no shame in using whatever tools help create your art.

The Stigma

For many artists and would-be artists, such drawing aids are avoided for fear of being characterized as cheaters. The truth is most artists, including…


The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) Best movie ever.

Translation: Wear the damn mask!

In the final scene of The Year the Earth Stood Still, Klaatu stands next to his robot Gort on the ramp of his spaceship and addresses the audience of scientists and ordinary men and women from around the United States. He tells them that if their foolishness enables the virus to cover the planet, Earth will be destroyed.

“I am leaving soon, and you’ll forgive me if I speak bluntly. The universe grows smaller every day, and the threat of contagion by any group anywhere can no longer be tolerated. There must be security for…


Many have suggested writing in a gratitude journal as a way of dealing with the distress of the pandemic. That’s a good idea. Also, there is no time like the present for parents to share stories with their children, even grown children. So, I am going to attempt “7 Days of Gratitude”, written as bedtime stories to my daughter. But I don’t mind if you follow along.

Once upon a time, there was a dog who had a good old master. As a matter of fact, “as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as…


Many have suggested writing in a gratitude journal as a way of dealing with the distress of the pandemic. That’s a good idea. Also, there is no time like the present for parents to share stories with their children, even grown children. So, I am going to attempt “7 Days of Gratitude”, written as bedtime stories to my daughter. But I don’t mind if you follow along.

Once upon a time, on Hawthorn Lane, there was a small ranch house and a tree — a birch tree. The little birch tree was not doing well, either because its location did…


Photo by Rémi Müller on Unsplash

This essay was emailed in 2004 as an invitation to a weekly technology social event called FTF — but it is that time of year again.

If you didn’t make it to FTF last week, you probably don’t know that we had a visit from His Holiness the Dalai Lama (HHtDL). He drops by from time to time. Even if you were there, you may not have seen him, but he was there. He can do things like that.

So with Spring here, we at FTF, took the opportunity to ask His Holiness about lawn care.

FTF: There are some…


(Opening titles roll, fade in from black)

Mr. Takishimi, CEO of Pacific Computer, is frustrated that the TV show he sponsors where young people dress up like chickens to compete playing Chess and classical music is losing ratings to a show where old people dress up like Trolls and throw sushi rolls at each other. When Takishimi’s dentist tells him about a giant monster discovered on the small far off Miso Island, Takishimi gets the brilliant idea to use the monster for publicity.

Meanwhile, an American submarine, staffed entirely by Japanese looking sailors that speak without moving their lips and…


Photo by Ravi Shekhar on Unsplash

Wanting to get some work done, I sat down in a quiet house and put on some background music. Quiet music always helps to calm and clear the mind and increase productivity, for me anyway.

The first few songs were soft instrumentals, lots of violins but no fiddles. There was nothing obliging me to tap my feet, nothing demanding that I hum or join in, the perfect backdrop.

Without my really noticing, except for maybe an increased feeling of calm, the next selection of music was an “animal song.” That’s what I call them, and I am not usually a…

Dennis Director

Author of "A Musing Read" https://amzn.com/1981402497 Friendly but grumpy, common sense advocate. Mix of math, science, imagination, and humor.

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