Cafe Du Monde Coffee and Chickory

To drink coffee is divine. 
A little bit of NOLA in NYC.

Owl of Minerva

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Location:Battery Park, New York, New York

Flipping the Script: Simplifying Subtraction with Addition

98 + x = 100 is a better way to understand what 100 - 98 is!

Do you remember being a child and struggling to understand subtraction? Some people find it more challenging to grasp than its counterpart, addition. But what if we flipped the equation? Today, we're going to look at a fresh approach to the classic subtraction problem, using an equation like '100 - 98', to illuminate this concept.
A confused cartoon character looking at '100 - 98' on a blackboard.
Let's consider the equation '100 - 98'. Many people might fumble around with this, especially when first learning about subtraction. But what if we reframe this problem?

100 - 98      BUT     INSTEAD    98 + x = 100

The transformed equation, '98 + x = 100', is the same problem presented differently. It's easier to comprehend, especially for beginners, because it's now in the form of an addition equation. You can see that you just need to add something to 98 to reach 100.
A timeline showing the progression from 98 to 100.
So what's the value of 'x'? Just look at the numbers: to get from 98 to 100, you need to add 2. That's it! 'x' equals 2. Therefore, '100 - 98' also equals 2.
A light bulb appears over a cartoon character's head, illustrating the moment of comprehension.
Flipping the equation helps simplify the problem by making it more intuitive. The cognitive leap from adding to subtracting is not as challenging, making this a useful strategy, especially for those in the early stages of learning math.
A cartoon character Math student confidently solving other subtraction problems by flipping the equation.
With this innovative approach to subtraction, math problems can become less intimidating, paving the way for a more profound understanding of mathematical principles.
A group of cartoon characters, including the first one, happily solving various math problems on a large blackboard.
By embracing these alternative strategies, we open new paths to mathematical mastery, demonstrating that sometimes, flipping the equation is all it takes! So, give yourself a high-five — with the flipped equation '100 - 98' = '98 + x = 100'.
Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschooler, Staff, Not Grade Specific - TeachersPayTeachers.com


Comic Book Shop in Manhattan: Forbidden Planet

Image result for "forbidden planet" manhattan
Forbidden Planet is a cool shop to browse and window shop. You never know when you'll come across a cool Star Wars action figure or colorful graphic novel. FYI: Management holds your backpack while you browse. Check out the Strand next door. 
Where: on Broadway near Union Square 14th Street (Subway lines: 4, 5, 6, N, Q, R).


What does Nietzsche Mean by God is Dead (and why German Romanticism is not Cool, Dude)

Kid: Dude, Nietzsche is cool.

Nietzsche: No, I'm not.
Kid: Dude, that's not cool.
Nietzsche: Hey, kid, watch out what you say about my will-to-power.
Kid: Uhhhh. OK.
Nietzsche: Damn kids.
    That's how the conversation would go. Is Nietzsche cool? Well, if you call a highly sophisticated philologist with a penchant for Ancient Greek Philosophy cool, then I guess Nietzsche is cool.
Is Nietzsche Misunderstood?
Nietzsche is highly misunderstood. I read Nietzsche's The Gay Science (no, not that "gay," but gay in the old-fashioned way meaning "happy") for the first time in a philosophy seminar back in my college days. We read the Walter Kaufmann translation (the one I still refer to). I remember at the start of the seminar one guy who was especially excited to be reading Nietzsche as if he were to embark upon an expedition in cow tipping while on acid. "Dude, Nietzsche is all about 'God is Dead.' I totally dig that, man." The guy wanted us all to know he was a nihilist: he cut his forearms for show and he wore stark black; which was OK with me, considering black was a decent choice of color to absorb heat in the Winter.
    The professor, who was a very quiet man, a little intimidating, and spoke in a low, almost condescending tone interrupted the guy. "Don't think you understand Nietzsche without reading him. Reading Nietzsche is not cool."
Nietzsche and Teen Angst
Dwayne (Paul Dano) reads Thus Spoke Zarathustra
    The professor did not like associating Nietzsche with teen angst, or smoking a doobie and talking about how much life sucks. Like in the quirky indie comedy, Little Miss Sunshine. Sporting a tee-shirt that says, "Jesus Was Wrong," a teenage boy takes a vow of silence as a tribute to his favorite philosopher, Mr. Nietzsche. Personally, if a disaffected adolescent is going to pout and rebel, he should read Schopenhauer before he reads Nietzsche. Just saying. Nietzsche is rosy in comparison...
The Madman
   It is true that Nietzsche mentions "God is dead" bit in the Gay Science. The book is written as a series of witty, short anecdotal chapters, with an appendix of verse at the end. "The God is dead" piece is paragraph 125, "The Mad Man." The story is simple. A man races through the streets of a city in broad daylight carrying a torch, proclaiming "I seek God! I seek God!" The atheists - "the many who do not believe in God" - stand around and laugh at the madman. "Is he lost?" they ask. The madman gets right up in the faces of the atheists and asks them, "Whither is god?" The atheist continues to laugh but the madman continues, "piercing them "with his glances." The madman makes a claim that the reason God is dead is that we've killed him. "I shall tell you. We have killed him--you and I. All of us are his murderers." The madman goes on for a few paragraphs about how we killed God. 


Photo of the Day: Annual Bus Festival and Street Fair

No one:
Me: "Would you like mustard on that bratwurst?"
Published by Stones of Erasmus © 2010-2021


Never Let Me Go

I was incredibly curious to see the adaptation of Ishiguro's exquisitely crafted novel Never Let Me Go ever since I had learned of Matthew Romanek's project.

I must admit I am a huge fan of the novel and I agree with Time Magazine's claim that it is one of the best novels ever written. So, suffice it to say, I was afraid the film might ruin the book. The same ole book-into-movie fear everyone who is devoted to the source material fears. Don't destroy the book's integrity is the argument that runs through most fears that a film will discredit the book. I had heard that Ishiguro had pretty much handpicked the people who would produce the movie and said publicly he was pleased. Watching the trailer did not help convince me, however. The trailer depicts lots of tears, sentimental scores, and one of the main characters having a hissy-fit on a darkened street which made me suspect that Romanek's version would end up spoiling Ishiguro's understated masterpiece.

If you know nothing of the story's premise, I'm saying nothing to spoil the film by saying it is about a possible dystopic future where humans have discovered the ability to clone a subset of humans, which
they raise in schools across the country, educate them about the proper use of their bodies and health, but eventually use them to harvest their vital organs to defer the life spans of other, "real" humans. Death and disease are gone. At the expense of other "lives."

The premise is fodder for dozens of similar clone sci-fi films, but Ishiguro's novel brought to the table the basic question of what it means to be human and what it means when we consider a particular subset of human, un-human.


World Trade Center Light Beams from Rockaway Park, Queens

Photograph + Caption: "Mr. Savory and Ms. Sweet"

If a guy says, "Life's too short. Keep your drama at the door," what he really means is, "I don't want to marry you, and I could care less about your problems."

207th Street Train Yard

View of 207th Street Yard from University Heights Bridge, Manhattan


Book Review: Repulsion as Metaphor in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Met Go

Never Let Me Go
    Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel Never Let Me Go has recently been released as a film, due out in theaters today. I am anxious about the film because I want to see how the adaptation treats the theme of repulsion, which is my interest in the novel. Ishiguro describes a world where humans have become obsessed with extending one's lifespan. To reach this goal, humans have created a subset of human beings, manufactured in test tubes to serve as body farms for organ tissues. The novel is ostensibly a science-fiction narrative about clones used for organ harvesting in an alternative, but possible dystopic posthuman future in Britain in the late 1990s. Humans, because of the rapid advance of biotechnology, have developed an industry by which cloned human beings are manufactured as “gifts” to stave off death.  These “beings” then, can be picked off when needed — a lung here, skin graft or a heart, there.


"Are you a Dad?" and other Stories from Summer Camp

image credit: remarkk
    While working at a summer camp in Louisiana when I was a Benedictine Brother, I got stuck with the task of dealing with children who suffered from homesickness. We called them the homesick kids; it was easy to spot them right away: either they feigned a fall on the first day to get a ticket back home or they showed up at the cabin with a look in their eye of sheer sadness. These were the kids who figured out they were duped. Mom and dad were not coming back. It was not too hard to find these kids for they usually found you! It didn't matter to any of the forlorn boys who made it out to the homesick bay, if I said, "it's only one week." A week could be a month or a million years. They wanted to go home. One night I was in the infirmary and the youngest cabins were about to finish their night swim and I was helping the nurse administer the last rounds of Paxil, Sudofed, insulin shots, band aids and Calamine lotion.


Skip the Statue of Liberty and Head for Ellis Island

The Registry Room at Ellis Island.
Notice the Gustavino tiles.
If you even have a hunch that one of your ancestors may have ventured into the United States via Ellis Island, you should pay the twelve dollars for a ferry at the ticket kiosk at Castle Clinton in Battery Park and skip the Statue of Liberty stop and head straight for a strange parallelogram almost abut New Jersey. For more than a century, travelers from foreign lands hoped to find safe passage on Ellis Island to the United States. In 1954 immigration law mandated that prospective citizens be screened at their respective points of debarkation. The island was shut down by the federal government and remained vacant for years. A cool exhibit at the museum on the third floor are photographs by artists who visited the site during its vacancy period. In the 1980s the complex was renovated and restored by the National Park Service

My own grandfather, Joseph Roselli, emigrated from Italy circa 1920. After his mother died, my grandfather traveled with his brother and father, almost a century ago. His father left he and his brother in Detroit to make a living for themselves in the States. The father returned to the old country to remarry.

I felt a shock of emotion when I walked into the registry room. My grandfather waited in this grand room, designed by the Gustavino brothers, the same brothers who designed the old City Hall subway station, and thousands of tiles scattered through the New York City subway system.

Be sure to explore the individual stations where immigrants had to pass through: the medical rooms, the legal hearing halls, and the on-site dining halls. An added plus is the installation of audio samplings from immigrants who tell their individual stories.


Photograph: After School in Williamsburg

Boys walk on the street after school in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Satmar Hasidic Jewish schoolboys walk home after school in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.
image credit: Greig Roselli © 2010


Photographs: Multiple Self Portraits On the A Train

PDF Copy for Printing


Photographs: Rat Ascending Staircases at Union Square Station


Photograph: Smoking Grass on the Highline

                                                                                                        PDF Copy for Printing

Coda Notes: One Easy Way Writers and Artists Can Annotate Web Pages On Safari

I'm a writer and a thinker. And I'm sure if you read my blog, you probably enjoy writerly kind of things. So you get me when I say a writer needs tools. Right?

Well, I don't know about you but we writers love to mark up anything we read. A writer friend told me he practically "eats" his books with pencil marks and ink.
Enter the internet age.

How is a writer supposed to mark up the World Wide Web?

Coda Notes


Weather Channel Weather Map for the Fifty Contiguous States for Monday, September 6, 2010

How the current surface weather looks like in the contiguous fifty states according to the Weather Channel on Monday, September 6, 2010.
The Weather Channel United States Weather Map at 10:00 PM EDT on Monday, September 6, 2010

Collage Ripped from My Scrapbook: "Hegel's Philosophy of History"

I made the above collage when I was an undergraduate philosophy student at K.U.L. (The Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium), living as a Catholic seminary student at the American College (Amerikaans College) at 100 Namsestraat.

Looking at the above collage starting from the top lefthand corner moving clockwise here are the items:
1. A cutout of an illustration from a book on Hegel's Philosophy of History
2. An Audrey Hepburn First Class postage stamp from the United States Post Office
3. A tag for a GFCI outlet
4. An illustration of a stack of books seated on by what appears to be two magicians in rapt conversation. A third magician seems to be surprised (standing at the bottom)
5. An Andy Warhol First Class postage stamp from the United States Post Office (37 cents)
6. A memento of my many sojourns to the Studio (a movie theater) on the Bondgenotenlaan (the town's main drag) to watch movies. This is a ticket stub for a screening of Bladerunner.


Poem: "Is It Me Or Is It Not Me?"

image credit: statue of liberty crown
A man on the Astoria line
wears a foam green
Statue of Liberty hat

"Did he just come back from the Statue of Liberty?"
"Can I trust my inductive reasoning?"
Maybe he just likes to wear plushy foam green Statue of Liberty hats.
I have never been quick to trust inductive reasoning,
so to test my hypothesis I hazard a guess to which stop he will disembark:
Long Island City, I bet! All the hotels near the 59th street bridge 
it must be it!

The N train is spit out by the East River
and diligently speeds towards its station
stop. And, JUST AS I THOUGHT, the passenger with the green foamy hat
gets off,
no smiles, his head turned downward to his mobile device,
tapping away a message to his kids, perhaps?
An inductive me postulates thus: "Hey just got back from the statue of liberty! Love, dad!"

The funny thing is,
I just got back from the Statue of Liberty, as well,
but I am not wearing a green foamy hat nor do I text anyone, at this point;
I have no doppelgangers.

I am as distant from this human being with the green foamy Statue of Liberty hat as I am distant emotionally from everyone in this car.
We are all scrunched in like sardines on the train because the Q is on hiatus. No W, either.
A haggard woman with an aquiline nose (like my aquiline grandfather), like the kind of noses that busted through Ellis Island,
tells me she never comes to Queens and the days she comes who would have thought there would be such a mess. Signaling problems, I tell her; but we don't sweat. No one sweats; The small stuff! Everyone is easily leaning on each other, following the curves of the line, anticipating the next stop

But I still think the guy with the Statue of Liberty foamy green hat looks silly 
even though, like I said, I went to the island myself today, paid the twelve bucks and licked the undersides of Lady Liberty's fanny; and I am still not so silly as to wear a silly, ridiculous hat. My silliness has already been done, lying on my back in the registry of Ellis Island pretending I was my grandfather with the aquiline nose and the legal inspector asks me a question in Italian, and I say, "Did I come to America to learn Italian?!" The legal inspector tells me that he needs to know if I am literate in my native tongue or not and I cry to my mother country to let ole liberty let me pass. When my grandfather was dying my dad bought him a six-pack of beer to drink for the night. We had to sneak it past the doctors and I wonder how many times my grandfather had to sneak past people: sneak past the inspectors in the registry, sneak past the medical examiners and the anti-immigration protesters. To sneak past, again and again, to see the face of liberty sans a green foamy hat. I was silly today. I cried in the registry. Not, long fat sobs, but the kind of cry that sheds one fat tear on your face  small enough not to be noticed but fat enough on my face to feel emotional. I get up in the registry and thank the Park Service ranger — "Thanks, for the tour!"

"Make sure you see the washrooms, sir!"

But, I think, even though I had my moment of silliness, nonetheless, that I should get a hat like that for myself, put it on my head on the way to Lex and 59th street, in the rush hour traffic; pretend like I have just come from the Statue of Liberty to look for my Holiday Inn single-room, non smoking.


Photograph: The Squid and the Whale

The Squid and the Whale at the Natural History Museum

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Self Portrait on the Pelham Line

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