Category Archives: numbers

joking by number

Today was 11/12/13, a fun date for those people who like to enjoy fun dates.¹ The date has compelled me to post something with a numerical theme, though not about those particular numbers.

A few months ago, we were telling jokes in the car on our way somewhere or other. I don’t recall who started telling jokes, but at one point the conversation went something like this:

John: Why 7 is afraid of 8?
Because 7 8 9!
Theo: Why is 3 afraid of 4?
Everyone else: Um, we don’t know. Why?
Theo: Because 4 is REALLY REALLY MEAN!

Can’t top that.

And just because, here are a few photos of numbers.

Some numbers written by Theo at age 3. Perhaps they are all facing the wrong way out of fear of the number 4.

Who knows what sinister plans the 4 has for the 5 here?

Two 4s, looking as menacing as you might expect.

¹Yes, I am one of those people: Cf. my many Pi Day posts, as well as posts for 12/12/12, 11/11/11, 10/10/10 etc. Hell, I even posted something on 7/8/9 that I’d completely forgotten about.

a post in a thousand

Here is a list of a thousand things:

I know, I know. This list is not 1000 things long. But they are thousand things. Because this is my one thousandth post on this blog. (Also, the word “thousandth” is really hard to say.)

image credits: millefiori bead from Fire Mountain Gems, mille-feuille by okki, paper cranes by James..g, the M in stone photo is my own, taken in Barcelona. The thousand dollar bill is not mine, nor did I take it.

12 twelve things for 12/12/12

Today is December 12th, 2012: The 12th day of the 12th month of the year 2012. Or 12/12/12. How could I resist making a list for such an auspicious day?¹ Here are 12 things featuring 12:⁴

  1. A dozen eggs: the standard number of eggs as they are sold, at least in the US and Great Britain. A standard egg cartons fit 12 eggs. (But they also come in other sizes.)
  2. A dozen roses: probably since they hatch out of eggs, roses are often also sold by the dozen. Rather than being sold in the egg carton packaging, which doesn’t hold up well to the egg sprouting, they are instead sold in bunches, and placed in vases.
  3. Cheaper by the Dozen: A biographical book by Frank Gilbreth about a family with 12 children, and subsequent adaptation to a 1950 movie of the same name. (The 2003 movie of the same name with Steve Martin is not based on that book, but also features a family with 12 children.)
  4. a dime a dozen: an idiom meaning “very commonplace.” As in: Those are nothing special. You can get them a dime a dozen. (Note that eggs, roses, and children all cost much more than a dime.)
  5. 12: the number of jurors on a US trial jury. 12 Angry Men (1957) is a movie about the jury on a murder trial. (Also remade in 1997.)
  6. Twelve Monkeys (1997): A movie directed by Terry Gilliam, and one of my personal favorites. It is not about 12 monkeys serving as jurors on a murder trial. That movie is called Twelve Angry Monkeys, and hasn’t been made. Yet.
  7. 12 days of Christmas: a period of festivities celebrated in many European Christian traditions that begins on December 25th. They are sometimes wrapped up by festivities on the 12th night, also known as Epiphany Eve.
  8. Twelfth Night: a comedy play by William Shakespeare.
  9. 12 step program: a program for addiction recovery.
  10. monklogo

  11. 12-hour clock: the convention of dividing the day into 2 12-hour chunks, a.m. and p.m. As such, 12 is the number of hours on a standard analog clock, and 12-hour digital clocks (as opposed to clocks set for 24 hours). 12:00 (12 o-clock) is noon or midnight.
  12. 12th grade: The final year of the American secondary school system, also called senior year. There are 12 numbered grades in the American school system, plus kindergarten, which isn’t numbered. (There are also 12 grades in many other countries’ school systems.)
  13. Little Twelvetoes: a song from Schoolhouse Rock about aliens with 6 fingers on their hands and 6 toes on their feet, and discussing the implications for counting (namely the use of base 12). The original song/cartooon was from 1973, but I quite like the cover version by Chavez from the 1996 tribute album Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks:

¹ In the past, I made list for 7/7/7, 8/8/8, 9/9/9, and 10/10/10. I celebrated 11/11 on multiple occasions, including 11/11/11

² I didn’t celebrate 6/6/6 with a list, as I didn’t yet have this blog. Like wise for 5/5/5, 4/4/4, 3/3/3/, 2/2/2/, and 1/1/1.³

³ I have to say that this post is the last post that I am likely to post according to this pattern. While I may well choose to make a list of thirteen things, it will almost certainly not be on 13/13/13. Unless, of course, the calendar gets radically restructured next year such that we have a 13th month.

⁴ Really, more than 12, if you want to get picky. But 12 items on my list.⁵

⁵If I have 12 12 things, does that make this list a gross one?⁶

⁶ This footnote is here because I didn’t have room in my list for a foot, which has 12 inches.¹²

¹² And this one is here just to have a footnote 12.

image credits: eggs, roses, clock, 12 Monkeys

eleven elevens

It’s 11:11 on 11/11/11. Here are 11 elevens.

одиннадцать,onze, once, elf, elva,११, XI

make one that goes up to 11

In just a week, it will be the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

What’s more, seeing as it is 2011, it will be 11/11/11. I plan to celebrate the day by making something that goes up to eleven. I haven’t decide yet what sort of thing I’ll make, but there’s a good chance it will be a list.¹

Won’t you join me? Post something that goes up to 11 for 11/11/11.²(You know you want to.) If you feel so inclined, set your post to be published at 11:11. And then we can have some elevenses.


Together, we can crank things up to 11.

¹ I’ve already done a list of 11 eleven things, so it won’t be that. Unless I wait till the eleventh hour.
² Edited to add: And if you don’t have a blog of your own and still want to play along, you can leave yours in the comments of my 11/11/11 post.

Image of the dials that go up to 11 is a screenshot from This is Spinal Tap.

easy as pi

Happy Pi Day!

Pi Day caught me a bit off guard this year, but was not going to let my unpreparedness result in pielessness. I had some errands to run this afternoon, so I stopped by the store while I was out to get a pie crust and some frozen berries, and voila! The Pi Day Pie tradition has been upheld.

This pi pie is the 3rd such pie I have under my belt. (Not to say that I ate three whole pies today. Though I could imagine such a feat. I do love me some pie.) My Pi Day tradition started with a pi post back in 2008, which then inspired me to bake my first pi pie. Pi Day of 2009 was a pieless day, due to traveling and attending a wedding, but then I did recapture the pi magic in 2010.

In celebration of Pi Day, I offer you a gallery of pi pies past and present.

My original pi pie, from 2008. I was so fond of it, I even wrote its obituary.

Last year’s pi pie was an apple pi.

This year’s pi Pie is of mixed berry heritage.

little Phoebe

A little list of Five Phoebe things.

  1. Phoebe is a name meaning “bright and shining,” originating from ancient Greek. The first Phoebe was a goddess in Greek mythology, one of the Titans (also spelled Phoibe)
  2. Many Phoebes have since made their appearance in fiction and life, such as Phoebe Snow, used in advertisements for the Lackawanna Railroad in the early 1900s:

  3. Phoebes are birds: “The genus Sayornis is a small group of medium-sized insect-eating birds in the Tyrant flycatcher family Tyrranidaenative to North and South America.” (wiki). They are named for their song, which is said to sound like “fee-bee” (Click here to hear some Phoebe chirping.)

    An Eastern Phoebe

  4. Phoebe is Saturn’s smallest moon, a satellite which was once a comet.

    Phoebe, moon of Saturn.

  5. Phoebe, or Little Phoebe, is a term meaning “five”

    little phoebe

    the cardinal number that is the sum of four and one

    In case this meaning seems completely obscure to you, as it did to me, it appears to have originated in the dice game, craps. Among the “Principal craps terms” listed under the heading for craps in Dictionary of the American West: over 5,000 terms and expressions from Aarigaa! to Zopilote, by Winfred Blevins are these terms for a roll of 5: “fever dice, little Phoebe, feebee, or just Phoebe

This is all by way of saying that my own little Phoebe is five today.

Phoebe, five-year old girl.

Happy birthday, sweet Phoebe.

Image links: a roll of Phoebe with dice, Phoebe (moon), Phoebe (bird), and Phoebe Snow. (All 4 of these are public domain images. The image of Phoebe (child) is not.)

once (once) upon a time(piece)

11:11 on a digital clockIt’s 11/11 once more, and once again, I find myself wanting to mark the day with a bit of eleven-ness. A few years ago, I made an 11 list. (My list goes up to 11.¹¹) Last year, I got all creative with 11-related photos.

This year, it struck me (ouch!) that once is the word for eleven in Spanish. Which at once made me have associations with the English word once. (Once in a blue moon… once an X always an X…once bitten, twice shy.) Once that got started, it brought to mind the Once-ler, who was the one who did in all the truffula trees in The Lorax. Have I mentioned that we’re going to be having a bunch of big trees around our house taken down soon? I feel rather like the Once-ler. Except that I have no plans to make thneeds.

I also found myself wanting to take a picture of 11:11 again. This time I went all analog. (And now it’s time for me to get back to work.)

Once once on a timepiece.

¹¹ This joke never gets old for me.

10 Ten things for 10/10/10

Here it is, October 10th, 2010. Or 10/10/10. How could I resist making a list?¹ Here are 10 “ten” things:

  1. 10: the number of fingers of a typical human
  2. decimal system: the base 10 system of numbers, the numeric system most commonly used in the world, likely due to people liking to count on their fingers
  3. a scale of 1 to 10: used to rate various things, from degree of pain to physical attractiveness, or athletic performance, such as olympic gymnastics
  4. a perfect 10: an expression meaning that the entity to which the expression is applied has achieved the highest score possible, particularly when the scale is of something positive.
  5. Perfect 10” a song by The Beautiful South [on youtube]
  6. 10 (1979): a coming of (middle-)age movie about a man (Dudley Moore) who stalks a younger woman he doesn’t know (Bo Derek) after seeing her on her way to her wedding, and deciding that she is the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. (Oddly enough, this is a romantic comedy, and not a suspense/thriller.)
  7. 10: the start of many countdowns, and either the beginning or end of various counting rhymes, counting games and counting songs, such as “The Ants Go Marching,” “10 in the Bed,” and “10 Little Indians
  8. The 10 Commandments: a list of (10) religious rules from the Old Testament, and a 1956 movie based on the same
  9. decimate: to reduce something drastically, but historically by 10%:

    c.1600, in reference to the practice of punishing mutinous military units by capital execution of one in every 10, by lot; from L. decimatus, pp. of decimare (see decimation). Killing one in ten, chosen by lots, from a rebellious city or a mutinous army was a common punishment in classical times. The word has been used (incorrectly, to the irritation of pedants) since 1660s for “destroy a large portion of.” Related:Decimated; decimating.

  10. top 10 lists: 10 is a popular number for itemized lists of things that are “best ofs” or “worst ofs.” In poking around for this 10 list, I came across quite a few intriguing lists. Here are 10 of them just for you:

So, there you go. 10 ten things.²

¹Seeing as I had a 7/7/7 list, an 8/8/8 list and a 9/9/9 list…
² Yes, I realize that there are really more than 10 things in my list, seeing as some of hte items themselves contain multiple items. But here are another 10 10 things I left off the list, anyhow: 1) 10-foot pole (something you wouldn’t want to touch something with), 2) Ten (Pearl Jam’s 1991 debut album), 3) tithe (donate 10% of your earnings), 4) 10 pin bowling, 5) 10 (the numeric value given to face cards in a game of blackjack), 6) X: the roman numeral 10, 7) decagon (a 10-sided polygon), 8) 10th (the tin wedding anniversary), 9) dime: A ten-cent coin in the US or Canada, and 10) Perfect 10, a magazine³
³ This was new to me. I found it on Wikipedia, where the entry said this:

a quarterly men’s magazine featuring high resolution photographs of topless or nude women who have not had cosmetic surgery and focused in particular on slender models with piercing eyes and medium to large, youthful breasts in pensive or artistic poses.

Um, okay, does anyone else find the attachment ambiguity here highly entertaining? How, pray tell, does one portray youthful breasts in pensive poses?
¹º I know I should have 10 footnotes, but I’ve already spent way too much time on this list. So I’m not going to. Except by way of cheating.

Images from WP Clipart.