## Archive for November 24, 2011

### A Math Geek Gives Thanks

My life is pretty good. I mean, sure, I wish I were better at Scrabble^{®}, or a little smarter, or a little faster, or a lot better looking. But don’t we all? Overall, I really can’t complain.

For instance, I get to write a blog about math jokes, I get to do math every day for a living, and I know that the proper amount of time *t*, in minutes, to cook a turkey is given by the formula *t* = 38 × *w*^{2/3}, where *w* is the weight of the turkey in pounds. And all of that is pretty cool.

I’ve not been as happy lately as I probably should be. Thanksgiving seems like the right day to reverse that pattern and recount all the things in life for which a math geek like I should be grateful. Feel free to let me know what you’re grateful for, too.

- For twin sons who love math almost as much as their daddy
- For my sons getting so excited that they speak faster than I can possibly understand (especially when they’re excited about math)
- For a wife who’s willing to tolerate a schlub like me, and who makes it very easy to keep loving her
- For grocery store tiles of the perfect size, so that your natural stride length perfectly aligns with light and dark squares
- For the wonderful safety of numbers
- For getting lost in a challenging problem
- For going to bed with a challenging problem, and waking up with the solution
- For MathWorld
- For cheesy math jokes
- For people who appreciate cheesy math jokes
- For good health
- For Nurikabe
- For friends who know what a scoober, a thumber and a blade are
- For Excel
^{®} - For all of the amazing people at Penn State who are not currently garnering headlines but are doing wonderful things for society
- For eyesight, to see the mathematical beauty in the world
- For teachers, and for anyone else who is willing to share their knowledge
- For disappointment, which reminds me to appreciate all the good things that I already have in my life
- For cell phones and free long distance
- For serendipitously changing the channel to a football game with five minutes left when Tim Tebow has the ball
- For zizzes, and for the word
*zizz* - For Scrabble
^{®}(and more recently Words with Friends) - For finding a parking spot with time still left on the meter
- For placing the last piece of a puzzle
- For having a really great original idea
- For friends who save me six seconds by pulling a beer out of the cooler and tossing it to me rather than walking over and handing it to me; and, for friends who trust that I’ll catch it
- For clever food names, like the “Muddy Pig” (mini-donut with Nutella and bacon crumbles) at Union Jack Pub in Harrisonburg, VA, or “Devils on Horseback” (chutney-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon)
- For ordering a beer you’ve never heard of, and finding that it’s your new DOC (drink of choice)
- For usually making good decisions
- For having things happen that aren’t all that bad when I’ve made poor decisions