Hypatia of Alexandria (370 CE – 415 CE) was a mathematician and philosopher. She was educated at Athens. Her father was the mathematician Theon who tutored her in math, astronomy and philosophy. Around AD 400 she became head of the Platonist school at Alexandria, where she taught Plato and Aristotle. Known for her great beauty she became famous for her achievements in music, astronomy and philosophy. She was the world’s leading mathematician and astronomer, a claim no other woman has been able to make. Her philosophy was considered pagan during a time of unrest and conflict between the Jews, Christians, and pagans.

Alexandria, Egypt, was founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC. It was a center of learning and culture. The city has been described by scholars a magnificent city. The great Library of Alexandria is said to have contained 500,000 books on its shelves on papyrus scrolls. As a professor at the university, Hypatia would have had daily access to these books. Unfortunately she lived in troubled times.

Hypatia was murdered by a Christian mob in Alexandria 415. She was stripped of her clothing and skinned alive with sharp pottery shards and her torn and mutilated body was dragged through the streets of Alexandria where it was put on a funeral pyre and burned.

The murder of Hypatia marked the end of Classical antiquity and the downfall of Alexandrian intellectual life. Hypatia is a powerful feminist symbol who sacrificed her life to the unruly and ignorant mob in the name truth and knowledge. The struggle goes on.






Frank and Elise

So when I got my concealed carry permit the other day I was struck by two things. One, I didn’t have to show any ID for the permit. Second, it dawned on me that now the Kentucky State Police had a record of me on file stating I was a gun owner. A record which included my address. How this is different than gun registration escapes me.

I was contemplating these facts when I came home to find my young friend Elise lounging on the couch in the living room. She was staying with me a few days until Ricardo got sprung from the joint. I knew she would be going back to him soon but I wanted to keep her with me as long as possible.


“Oh, Hi Elise! Hey, I just got my concealed carry permit! I am really excited.”

“That’s great Frank! Now you can ride your horses and shoot your guns!”

“That’s right! Maybe I could ride the horses out where you put Ezra, your German Shepard. You could turn me out to pasture too!”

“Don’t say that Frank.”

“I was just joking. Not about Ezra, but about me. I can do that. Make jokes about myself.”

“I know. But it’s not true.”

“I know. Sometimes you have to laugh about these things in order not to cry.”

“You know Frank, some of us are just doing the best we can with what we have.”

I know Elise. I know. I still love you anyway. Now what’s for dinner?












Travels with Aunt Rennie


Aunt Rennie came to Louisville, Kentucky for a visit. It was in the spring of the year so I decided to take her to Churchill Downs to watch the horses run.

We drove to south Louisville where the track is located and parked the car a few blocks away and walked the remaining distance to the track entrance. Aunt Rennie is pretty spry for an old lady.

We were both able to get in for the admission price of only $1.00 as we are both senior citizens. Louisville likes to encourage its seniors to go to the track. We made our way through the throng of horse racing fans to a booth where they were selling racing forms. I bought one and stuck it in my pocket. Then we walked out to the track and sat in the sun on the hard benches and studied the form to make our picks.

We studied the racing form and saw that there was a field of eight horses for the next race. Aunt Rennie had never been to a race track before so I had to teach her how to handicap the race. I am not an expert myself but here’s how I do it. The first thing I do is to study the form for information listed about the horses in the racing form for that particular race. First of all I look for names I like. Something that clicks. Then I look at the stats on that horse. Who is the trainer, who is the jockey, how much weight does the horse carry, how many races did the horse win this year and last, what are the odds?

I take all these things into consideration and make a selection. I picked what looked like a winner: Psycho Blue Boots. The number 5 horse in the 3rd race. I suggested to Aunt Renie that we bet $10.00 to win on the 5 horse. If it won, we would split the winnings. She agreed.

I pushed my way through the crowd to the pari-mutuel window and placed my bet. “$10.00 to win on the 5 horse in the 3rd race,” I said. The teller smiled, took my money and punched my ticket.

The race was about to begin as was indicated by the trumpet call to the gate. I hurried back to where Aunt Rennie was sitting and showed her our ticket. Just then the announcer announced, “They’re off!” and the race began.

“In the lead was Solient Green, on the outside Gold Band. On the rail was Shiftless Joe followed by our horse, Psycho Blue Boots. Royal Pain was moving up to fourth place, Psycho Blue Boots makes a sudden move….They are in the turn, Royal Pain is in third. Psycho Blue Boots moving up on the outside…now moving in…in the stretch Psycho Blue Boots takes the lead… at the wire… Psycho Blue Boots wins by a nose!” he crowd goes wild. I go wild. Aunt Rennie goes wild. We are winners!

We won enough on this race we were able to celebrate at one of Louisvilles most prestigious steak houses, Jack Fry’s. We had quite a day at the races and a nice meal to boot!

Next morning, I took Aunt Rennie to the airport where she resumed her travels. Next stop, Amsterdam!