# There's a speedy way to get there, to take a peek at what you seek

I maybe should mention a side effect of my guest-teaching. My mother --- who, now that I think about it, hadn't seen me filling in the previous times as I'd just replaced her for the whole class rather than coming in a half-hour early --- took the time to compliment me about my pedagogical method. I admit I have a slightly hard time imagining myself as having a pedagogical method, particularly as I just go in with the major points I want to establish and improvise around them, but I realized that I actually did have a method, setting up lots of simple questions so the class saw how to work out the important concepts by easy steps before realizing they got big questions.

Something my mother did volunteer me for was tutoring any of the students who still felt at a complete loss for how to do the mathematics involved. (I should point out my mother explicitly and repeatedly tells the class they are to use calculators or computers to do all the arithmetic and there is no need for them to ever figure out a standard deviation by hand.) She's done this several times and, some terms, someone takes me up on it. Three students spoke with me after class saying they'd like to have tutoring sessions and asking what days I'm available and how to get in touch with me; as of this writing, none of them has actually e-mailed me. Perhaps things will pick up before the next exam; the last exam, which had no mathematics on it, had a mean of 72 and a supremum score of 84.

Trivia: The four Spacecraft Lunar Module Adaptor panels at the top of the S-IVB stage on Apollo 9 were designed to be ejected at an angle of 110 degrees from the centerline of the stage and at a speed of about five and a half miles per hour. Source: Apollo 9: The NASA Mission Reports, Editor Robert Godwin.

Currently Reading: Not Since Carrie: 40 Years Of Broadway Musical Flops, Ken Mandelbaum. The remarkable thing is the attempt to make a musical out of Carrie --- yes, that Carrie --- isn't the most ridiculous-sounding attempt at a musical. Unfortunately the book is more interested in listing great flops rather than talking about why they failed, or what kinds of lessons can be taken from them, past uselessly trite rules like ``don't make a musical out of things that can't be made into musicals''. (It's sharper on why, for example, The Man Who Came To Dinner or Harvey flopped as musicals: the original scripts were tightly plotted enough that establishing any points through a song either slowed the story down or left out information, making the result more sluggish or less coherent than the original, which people couldn't help remembering fondly.)

• #### I'm a laughing gnome and you can't catch me

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• #### What we'll see will defy explanation

What else have we been up to? The most noteworthy thing would be last Friday when we returned to Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum. It --- the…

• #### What a crummy weekend this has been

We got back to Pinball At The Zoo frightfully close to the opening of Saturday morning qualifying. There were already lines long enough for the…

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