Betsy Devine: Funny ha-ha and/or funny peculiar

Making trouble today for a better tomorrow…

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Entries from July 2009

I have not lost my wallet and I am not in England

July 28th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Ai yi yi. My old old Hotmail account, which I opened in 1998, has been hacked into by somebody who is sending requests for money to everybody that I have ever emailed from it. Needless to say, this person has also changed the account password so I can’t get back in and Microsoft is completely unresponsive. Here is the email going out, please do NOT send money to this scammer who is, I promise you, not me!

Fortunately, this nitwit forgot to change the sigline, which points to this blog.

From: Betsy Devine
Date: July 28, 2009 5:54:43 AM EDT
Subject: Hello


How are you doing? Hope all is well with you and your family, I am sorry I didn’t inform you about my traveling to England for a Seminar/conference.

I need a favor from you as soon as you receive this email, I misplaced my wallet on my way to the hotel where my money, and other valuable things were kept. Can you urgently assist me with a soft loan of $2,600 US Dollars to sort-out my hotel bills and get myself back home. You are the only one I can trust with this, please can this be between us? You have my word; I will refund you as soon as I return.

I will appreciate whatever you can afford, I’ll pay you back as soon as I return I promise, Let me know if you can assist, to enable me send you the details to use in sending the money through western union.


Betsy “Making trouble today for a better tomorrow.” ———————————————————–

Tags: Wide wonderful world

Things happen in layers, or our lives look simpler in RSS

July 22nd, 2009 · 1 Comment

Things happen in layers

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

How very complex are the surfaces that confront us, walking through real life. And yet how much simpler they seem if considered as a succession of layers, each layer with its own time stamp and simple description.

Consider this Krakow wall’s layers as a series of event reports in some kind of blog. Translating its RSS feed into English, a few entries follow:

Description: Surface layer of city grime

pubDate: multiple/ongoing
Description:Graffiti incident, Antoni & Malgorzata

pubDate: 1987
Description: Broken fragments of stucco re-expose brick wall

pubDate: 1974
Description: Deterioration of paint starts to re-expose stucco

pubDate: 1943
Description: Painted stucco layer on top of brick wall

pubDate: 1934

I’m thinking back on my own life as a series of layers — heartfelt events whose legacy remains even when others succeed them. What would your life’s RSS feed say about you?

Tags: Metablogging · Sister Age · Travel · Wide wonderful world

Nabokov and the Krakow Jewish district

July 21st, 2009 · 1 Comment

Ready for inspiration to strike

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

There is something magical about musicians in concert spaces before they perform. Years of aspiration and perfecting skill, weeks of practice with friends (and perhaps enemies) — in just moments now, one more wonderful chance for their public fruition.

Last night’s concert featured two works by Mieczysław Karłowicz, a string serenade and a violin concerto, followed by Beethoven’s Pastorale symphony (#6).

I had never heard Karlowicz’s music performed before and am glad I discovered it–not least because we share a December 11 birthday. Krakow’s St Catherine Church is a wonderfully high-arched space for listening to music augmented by the occasional twittering of its few sparrows.

This huge Gothic church sits in Krakow’s former Jewish district Kazimierz, brutally emptied by Nazis, now serving up platefuls of carp and earfuls of klezmer nightly in restaurants like Ariel and Klezmer Hois.

Vladimir Nabokov said of “articulate art,” but could also have said of music or science or any fine human endeavor, that it is a “melancholy and very local palliative.” There is something melancholy about musicians after a concert, even one that ends with a standing ovation, as last night’s performance by Capella Cracoviensis deservedly did.

Tags: Editorial · Travel · Wide wonderful world

Good morning, Krakow sunshine

July 20th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Good morning, Krakow sunshine

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

Long ago, the legendary hero Krak killed a dragon here by feeding it animal skins he had stuffed with sulfur. He was just the first in a long line of clever people who have made Poland’s ancient capital one of our planet’s most interesting cities.

The European Physical Society is holding its 2009 High Energy Physics conference in Krakow, so Frank Wilczek and Betsy Devine are here, full of high energy, ready to re-meet and confer and visit salt mines and listen to beautiful music and (in the case of Betsy) of course to blog.

Last night was a prize dinner of unusual interest, honoring CERN’s Gargamelle collaboration for the first great discovery made at CERN. This was one of the first big discoveries in physics (said Frank, in his after-dinner speech) that he was around to watch happen in real time — a discovery that was strongly challenged by many, when it appeared.

So why is great work done back in 1973 getting its first international prize in 2009? Giving a prize to an experimental group (instead of to its top members) is unusual — and it’s a novelty long overdue. Experimental results have for decades been produced by teams that may often include several hundred people. The EPS had to change its bylaws to do this, and somebody should give them their own cleverness prize for having done so.

Tags: Frank Wilczek · Science · Travel · Wide wonderful world

Frank’s 1969 face in 2009 NY Times

July 15th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Frank’s 1969 face in 2009 NY Times

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

Claudia Dreifus had an interactive piece in yesterday’s New York Times online (July 14, 2009), interviewing people about their thoughts at the time of the first moon landing.

Gloria Steinem and Janis Ian were cute then but young Frank Wilczek was the cutest.

Tags: Frank Wilczek · Science · Wide wonderful world

After the hailstorm

July 6th, 2009 · 1 Comment

After the hailstorm

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities:

A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. A solemn consideration, when I enter a great city by night, that every one of those darkly clustered houses encloses its own secret; that every room in every one of them encloses its own secret; that every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there, is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it!

Something of the awfulness, even of Death itself, is referable to this. No more can I turn the leaves of this dear book that I loved, and vainly hope in time to read it all. No more can I look into the depths of this unfathomable water, wherein, as momentary lights glanced into it, I have had glimpses of buried treasure and other things submerged. It was appointed that the book should shut with a spring, for ever and for ever, when I had read but a page. It was appointed that the water should be locked in an eternal frost, when the light was playing on its surface, and I stood in ignorance on the shore. My friend is dead, my neighbour is dead, my love, the darling of my soul, is dead; it is the inexorable consolidation and perpetuation of the secret that was always in that individuality, and which I shall carry in mine to my life’s end. In any of the burial-places of this city through which I pass, is there a sleeper more inscrutable than its busy inhabitants are, in their innermost personality, to me, or than I am to them?

Tags: religion · Sister Age · Wide wonderful world