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

Making trouble today for a better tomorrow…

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Entries Tagged as 'Blog to Book'

Baby delivered this morning by UPS!

July 30th, 2008 · 1 Comment

Baby delivered this morning by UPS

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

On our doorstep before 8 a.m. this morning — Frank’s brand new book, The Lightness of Being!

I decided that our family cradle, now repurposed to stuffed toy storage, would be an excellent place to take this newborn’s photo.

A thoroughly modern baby, this book even has its own website, “, and its own Flash animation there. Some early reviewers call it lively and cheeky — others describe it as masterful and deep. Eh — it’s a particle, it’s a wave — it’s quite a book.

And what a great way for new babies to get delivered!

Tags: Blog to Book · Frank Wilczek · funny · Science · Wide wonderful world

Ronni wants your stories and so do I!

June 25th, 2007 · Comments Off on Ronni wants your stories and so do I!

My great-grandfather is smiling here because Ronni Bennett posted his story today over at her Elder Storytelling Place. Well, maybe he’s smiling also partly because he was a sweet good-humored man, somebody I would never have had a chance to know if his “blog” hadn’t been preserved in my dad’s Baby Book.

I’ve been enjoying reading other people’s stories there–for example, Frank Paynter’s childhood coverup–but it turns out to be even more fun to see my story there, because Ronni’s story-reading community leaves so many comments and such warm-hearted ones.

Stories already published in your blog are fine–help keep this site going!

Tags: Blog to Book · Metablogging · My Back Pages · Wide wonderful world

My role model? The exaggerating Elizabeth Jordan

June 10th, 2007 · 1 Comment

Elizabeth Garver Jordan I was born just a couple of months before she died.
My godmother and namesake, Elizabeth Jordan–a tiny woman, well-known in her long-ago day for her writing and editing, for her ostrich-plume hats and theatrical gestures. (Rumor claims she inspired the outspoken Henrietta Stackpole in Portrait of a Lady.)

By late 1946, when I was born, Aunt Jean (as our family mysteriously called her) had long outlived many, many admirers–for example Mark Twain (1835 -1910), Henry James (once rumored to be her fiancé(!)), and Frances Hodgson Burnet (1849-1924).
But when was Aunt Jean born? That was a family mystery, my mother told me, a deepest secret. My mother’s first clue to the mystery came when she brought her new baby, recently christened Elizabeth Jordan Devine, down from Massachusetts (where my father, post-World-War-II was finishing up at Harvard Law School) to New York City, where “the aunts” lived on Gramercy Park.
Aunt Jean was in bed, very sick, when we arrived–I was slid into the bed with her. She looked at me with great pleasure and whispered–though my mother heard–“Who would have imagined that this little baby is 83 years old?”
Even then, as so often before, my Aunt Jean was exaggerating. Because she herself was a mere 81 years old, having been born on May 19, 1865.

Tags: Blog to Book · writing

Wow–this morning I’m Polish! Who knew?

June 7th, 2007 · Comments Off on Wow–this morning I’m Polish! Who knew?

Book cover for Polish edition of Frank Wilczek and Betsy Devine's book _Longing for the Harmonies_. Well, maybe not totally Polish, but now I’m *in* Polish, and so is Frank (who was half-Polish to start with) in a new translation of our book Longing for the Harmonies.

More on my newly discovered Polish attributes:

Betsy Devine
Z wykształcenia jest informatykiem, studia ukończyła w Princeton. Regularnie prowadzi w Internecie blog „Funny Ha-Ha or Funny Peculiar” poświęcony różnym zagadnieniom z pogranicza nauki, polityki i humoru. Od 1973 roku jest żoną Franka Wilczka.

Thanks–I think! What a handsome cover design–I hope we get one of these. Thanks to Ewa L. Łokas and Bogumił Bieniok [sic] for this translation and to the busy bots of Technorati for letting me know the book is now out on the Internet.

Tags: Blog to Book · Frank Wilczek · Wide wonderful world

A TV studio is an adventure itself…

May 1st, 2007 · 1 Comment

Jim Clash of The Adventurers" with Frank and Betsy

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine.

…and even more so when hanging out with Jim Clash for his Forbes TV show The Adventurers.

Another adventurer (the one who took this photo) was Kevin O’Brien, whose adventures involve exploring caves and the waters therein. Watch out for Gollum, Kevin!

Before the show, I got to geek out with cool TV studio toys, and afterward we went out to lunch at the Gotham. Now, if only Jim had told us about his own terrible South Pole adventure before I ordered that plate of petit fours…

Tags: Blog to Book · Frank Wilczek · Science · Travel · Wide wonderful world

View of a Foucault pendulum..

January 14th, 2007 · Comments Off on View of a Foucault pendulum..

View of a Foucault pendulum

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine.

Ahhh! The Centro Estudio Cientificos is well and truly launched, with a wonderful party, some short but poetic speeches, and the symbolic smashing of a Champagne bottle by Michelle Bachelet, who Is Chile’s new President.

There are more great photos of related events over at my Flickr pages. Now I have to run to a breakfast, a bus, a plane, and a three-day boat trip. More when we next land in Internet-capable places!

One of the launch events was snipping a ribbon to release a giant Foucault pendulum. You can see it in the lower right corner here. Foreground, two Nobel laureates. Background, 200 photographers.

Tags: Blog to Book

The tiny pudu deer has a big fanblogger

November 29th, 2006 · Comments Off on The tiny pudu deer has a big fanblogger

Lots of photos, lots of fun prose, enjoy!

…the pudu (actual species name: pudu pudu) is the world’s tiniest deer, a two-foot-tall little ungulate with big wide eyes and a body that resembles a Vienna sausage balanced on four wobbly toothpicks…

Pudus have no natural defenses to speak of. When threatened, pudus usually try to find a log to hide behind or possibly climb. This works about as well as it sounds…

Bob Harris, I’m grateful and I hope your book about losing at Jeopardy sells a million copies!

Tags: Blog to Book

Do you want your two-year-old forced to wear Manolos?

November 6th, 2006 · Comments Off on Do you want your two-year-old forced to wear Manolos?

Paid for by Ohio Republican Party

Originally uploaded by J. Star.
Another GOP last-minute mailer, this one in Ohio.

The target of all these seems to be what Bill Clinton calls “the diving-board voter“–a Republican feeling just a little bit scared about switching over to vote for a Democrat.

So these mailers are meant to make them a whole-lot scared!

How will Nancy Pelosi force her Hollywood values onto your family?

  • Replace milk in baby’s bottle with Pinot Noir…
  • Force tired mommies and daddies to go out and “swing” until dawn…
  • Take away Junior’s burger and feed him sashimi…

I’m scared already–and I’m not even Republican!

Tags: Blog to Book

Making fiends and carving pony-tailed pumpkins

October 29th, 2006 · Comments Off on Making fiends and carving pony-tailed pumpkins

Frank decided to carve a Vendetta pumpkin

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine.
Frank, a big fan of Making Fiends, modeled his pumpkin on the Vendetta Tshirt that he’s posing with here.

For ponytails, we colored a bunch of string bright green. Some bright green cookie-decorating sugar crystals that have been lying around our house since dinosaur days were boiled with the string to achieve this elegant color.

Many prizes were awarded for pumpkins today. Frank’s took “Most Cerebral” and only lost “Most Horrifying” by a very slim margin to Ollies, whose broccoli brains were eerily visible through its gaping eyes.

Tags: Blog to Book

“Mr Wilczek is awesome!”

October 10th, 2006 · Comments Off on “Mr Wilczek is awesome!”

Frank came home from MIT the other day puzzled. All of a sudden he’s getting many more requests for autographs than usual, and he couldn’t figure out why.

This morning, GoogleAlert probably told me why.

Frank’s response last month to a request from Poland to send autographed photos “for charity” got enthusiastic publicity on a website devoted to the business of fan mail. (The business of fan mail?)

Hello all, at first I’d like to ask You for adding me to the 10 $Allposters Gift Certificate, because the prize would be very helpful for the charity I’m collecting autographs for.
Thank You in advance, board of directors!
I got a digital camera from my brother, so now I’ll post maaaaaaaaaaany recent successes for my charity, stay tuned

Frank Wilczek – Nobel Prize Winner

Sent: 27 days ago

Rcvd: 10 days ago

Mr. Wilczek is awesome! He sent me many autographed photos, and a huge poster that is not on the photo.

Heh. “No good deed goes unpunished.”

Tags: Blog to Book