I took the family to watch a local theater production of Fiddler on the Roof. We also happened to be discussing basic math around the same time, so I came up with the following song. I didn’t bother to put it into sheet music form – if you don’t know the song well enough to sing it in your head with these new words, then you wouldn’t appreciate it anyway.

Who, day and night, must add up numbers quickly,
Scaling up summation, by a common term?
And who has the right, as dear Aunt Sally says, to go first in the operations?

The product, the product!
The product, the product!

Who must know the way to split the numbers up, in equal parts, in kosher parts?
Who must use long form to get the answer right, to get remainders to cooperate?

The quotient, the quotient!
The quotient, the quotient!

If you want to combine numbers but don’t want to count up,
Just use the plus sign in your math; it makes things easy.

The sum, the sum!
The sum, the sum!

And who does the equation ask to count backwards,
Comparing the two numbers, to find the space between?

The difference, the difference!
The difference, the difference!

It mostly fits, except that tradition is three syllables and multiplication is five. It works great with division, addition, and subtraction. If you know of any 3-syllable word that means “multiplication” and rhymes with tradition, please put that in a comment.

I wasn’t trying to put the 4 terms in the order of operations, but it worked out nicely that way. What I did was tried to fit the math term with the closest-sounding original word. I think I started with “the sum” matching up with “the son” and then I matched “the product” with “the papa”, then “the difference” with “the daughter” because they both start with D. That paired “the quotient” with “the mama”, which doesn’t really match but there was not much of a choice left.

Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.

1 Corinthians 11:2

How Kids Learn

There are an increasing variety of things these days that are not appropriate for kids. For the purpose of this blog post, I’ll focus on movies, but it could apply to other things, such as any TV show being made now or a number of books or songs.

I have heard some people justify taking their kids to things they shouldn’t, or producers justifying inappropriate content in what should be an innocent show, by saying that it will just go over the kids’ heads.

In other words, they won’t understand it, so it won’t hurt them.

How do you think kids learn things?

If you do that enough – take kids to things that go over their heads – eventually they will catch on. The basic concept of education is something like this: 1. present new material, 2. explain it to the students, 3. see how well they understand it.

By having things go over their heads, you are not keeping them out of harm’s way; you are introducing them to the new material. You are starting the education process. So you think it’s okay because you’re skipping part 2? That just leaves them to form their own conclusions about why the adults are laughing.

Kids are kids for only a short time. Don’t make them grow up faster than they need to, just so you can have your entertainment. What will matter more for eternity: that you were amused for a few minutes or that you let a child be pointed in the wrong direction morally?

Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.

Mark 9:42

Running Tips

Here are some handy tips if you decide to run for exercise (or any other reason, I suppose):

  • If you see a swarm of gnats, put your head down and close your mouth.
  • Don’t sprint through tall grass – you can’t see how uneven the ground is and you’ll sprain your ankle.
  • If you’re running on the road and a car goes past you, be sure to look behind you before you veer back into the driving lane. This applies more to those of us who run on dirt roads that aren’t quite two lanes wide and have no shoulders or lane markings. It’s hard to tell if there’s another car behind a car that passes you.

You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

Matthew 23:24

Wrenching Tips

If you’re going to be doing anything significant with a socket set anytime soon, here is a tip for you:

All ratchets become torque wrenches at some point.

It’s just not calibrated.

In fact, one of my sockets – the actual socket, not the ratchet – broke while I was trying to remove one of the Buick’s calipers. The bolt wasn’t budging, so I tried the breaker bar and with much exertion, the bolt started to move. Or so I thought. The movement was that socket rotating because it was now larger than the bolt. The bolt, of course, was stubbornly not rotating.

And I had two other ratchets give up on me when I pushed them too hard. When the ratchet makes clicking noises in both directions, you have problems.

So now if you are going to deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, let me know, that I may turn to the right hand or the left.

Genesis 24:49

Survey Ratings

I forget the reason, but I was asked to fill out a survey and I obliged. These days, there’s no lack of opportunity to complete a survey – I’m declining at least once a day, it seems.

After a few questions, I was tired of thinking so much of each topic. Each answer had 10 levels. I forget the wording, but it was something like “Extremely Disagree” to “Extremely Agree”.

That’s too many options.

Surveys don’t need 10 gradations. Does anyone have feelings that nuanced? 3 should suffice, 5 at most. I personally don’t think about most items that much, especially the categories these people were asking. Good/Fair/Poor should be the options.

It’s good that corporate America, maybe even the world, has agreed upon the 5-star rating system. It makes everyone’s life simpler since everyone uses the same process – you know what you’re doing and how everything compares. If I need to start a rating system though, it will have 6 stars – that way my things will look better than everyone else’s.

Grade inflation for product ratings.

And, of course, my surveys will go to 11.

So they divided the land between them to survey it; Ahab went one way by himself and Obadiah went another way by himself.

1 Kings 18:6

Independence Day

This post is a repeat – I’m phoning it in today because I’m enjoying the holiday.

Happy Birthday


Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.

Psalm 33:12

Writing Efficiently

Delta got himself in trouble the other day. That doesn’t really narrow it down, as he gets in trouble every day. But my wife took the opportunity to combine his punishment with schoolwork, so he had to write “I will do what is right” 5 times.

image of paper on which a child has written I will do what is right

He admitted afterwards that he wrote it more than he was supposed to because he cheated.

While drawing one straight line for the Is, the Ls, the Ts, and the Hs was an admirable display of efficiency, I must say my favorite was the Gs – one continuous curly line.

But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.

2 Thessalonians 3:13