Five is a Handful

Sometimes, you need a little Moxie. One of my colleagues brought some back for each of us from a trip to Maine. A little research reveals that we’ve had Moxie since 1884 with nary a pause: it’s “the oldest continuously produced soft drink in the US.” Oddly, Moxie came up in my comments today, too, but this one’s a parenting blog. Go figure.


After reading a review in this week’s New Yorker, I’m totally psyched to pick up Peter Carey’s new novel, His Illegal Self. You may know Carey from the True History of the Kelly Gang or possibly Oscar & Lucinda). It’s a little weird to quote from a book I haven’t yet read, but I cannot resist a book with lines like this: “Plans have changed, she said, getting all busy with a cigarette.”


And speaking of reading, it’s all about the brain, senses, learning right now: This is Your Brain on Music, The Emperor of Scent, and this article about how the brain perceives number, and how we learn to do things with numbers (more New Yorker for ya):

Dehaene’s work centered on an apparently simple question: How do we know whether numbers are bigger or smaller than one another? If you are asked to choose which of a pair of Arabic numerals—4 and 7, say—stands for the bigger number, you respond “seven” in a split second, and one might think that any two digits could be compared in the same very brief period of time. Yet in Dehaene’s experiments, while subjects answered quickly and accurately when the digits were far apart, like 2 and 9, they slowed down when the digits were closer together, like 5 and 6. Performance also got worse as the digits grew larger: 2 and 3 were much easier to compare than 7 and 8. When Dehaene tested some of the best mathematics students at the École Normale, the students were amazed to find themselves slowing down and making errors when asked whether 8 or 9 was the larger number.

Plus, Oliver Sacks has a new one out about sound and the brain, and Donald Plaff is investigating how the golden rule may be (somewhat) hardwired into our brains (this would have been a neat lecture but who can make it from the Bronx to Battery Park by 6:00 pm? Not me). But there’s a larger post in all this, because “Scent” was one of those life-changing books.


I’m taking my enrichment cluster kids to a violin-maker’s studio in March. We’re also going to Sony WonderLab.


My LEGO kids unbuilt the mission models which took us so long to build. It wasn’t destructive, just the outcome of days and days of play, of stealing pieces for other projects. Which would be fine except we’re entering an exhibition/tournament in early April, and suddenly we need to build what we unbuilt. And the pieces are all mixed together with pieces from previous years. Live & learn?


Nevermind that last bit, the REAL #5 is this:



Filed under article, books, food, music, randomness, robotics

4 responses to “Five is a Handful

  1. Please point me to the Inigo Montoya tshirt if this is something that is truly available for purchase. I will be my son’s hero if I bring that home.

  2. Ha! I’ve actually never tasted Moxie the soda. It was just a nickname someone gave me that turned into my anonymous blogging name. (My site is .org, BTW, since some squatter has .com.) Apparently there are several other Ask Moxies on the internet, but I’m the only one I know of with a kid in an NYC PS.

    I *loved* Perfume (the only one in my book club who was fascinated and not creeped out), so I need to run out to read the Emperor of Scent.

  3. holy crap, I *need* that shirt!! Sweet!

    Thanks for the links about those books–they sound fascinating, especially the music one!

  4. ms. v

    Okay, kids, I added a link to the blog where my friend saw the shirt. I didn’t realize it hadn’t linked through the pic.

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