Heinlein’s World as Myth (and how to read it)

The Number of the Beast is a novel with a reputation for being brilliant, impossible to read, and even a work of supreme authorial conceit. I concede that the latter is possible, and the book has problems, surely; but it's a fun and easy-to-read (if long) book that I reread often. There's a theory that … Continue reading Heinlein’s World as Myth (and how to read it)


A Demarest Recharge

Transformative experiences never happen when it's convenient, or even when I want them. In 1988, I was an art student and had finished my freshman year at Rutgers. Instead of escaping my Reagan-Republican roommates by finding a place to live near a few friends, I found Demarest Hall.It was--and is--a community more than a dorm, … Continue reading A Demarest Recharge

Looking for Nosy Writers

Magnificent Nose is looking for writers! (You can read on, or just skip ahead to the application.) We've had guest posts from Martha, and now one from Grazina, and based on the number of hits I'm seeing, people seem to like those posts. Maybe it's because the writing style gets switched around, or because there's … Continue reading Looking for Nosy Writers

199 Bottles of Weird on the Wall

Demarest Hall is a special-interest dorm at Rutgers University, one where I spent a very special year of my life. I've asked Grazina Strolia to write about Demarest and why she chose to live there. --NF Ivy smiled at me. She was the first person I met the first time I walked into Demarest. In … Continue reading 199 Bottles of Weird on the Wall


Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology The guitar is a refined musical cabinet that must respond freely to the complex blend of signals produced by its six strings. It must also bear, with little distortion, the unremitting stresses imposed upon it by string tension. The luthier's task is to make these often conflicting requirements work well with … Continue reading Guitarmaking

Superpower Evolution

While going through papers recently, I found a number of my old IDs. This allowed me to provide proof of the superpower I discussed in last week's post. For those of y'all who haven't read it yet (And why not?), my superpower is that I look good in all of my ID photos. And here's … Continue reading Superpower Evolution

The Guitar Handbook

The Guitar Handbook, by Ralph Denyer, 1992 I TOOK LESSONS FROM A FEW DIFFERENT PEOPLE when I was learning to play guitar, and, in those days before Youtube, I also learned a lot from books. The Guitar Handbook was the best of those. Oddly unfocused, Mr. Deyner's foundational reference volume teaches basic concepts and gives … Continue reading The Guitar Handbook

Guitar Questions

In addition to the Bicycles site I've written about, I've spent some time on the Guitars Stack Exchange Q&A site. Here are some of the more interesting questions there: This one is very cool, not so much because it's my question, but mostly because of the answer with the neat explanation of why 12-string guitars … Continue reading Guitar Questions

What you need to know to learn to play guitar

PEOPLE WHO WANT TO BE ROCK GUITARISTS will go to Guitar Center and buy an electric guitar, then try to learn from Youtube videos. I highly recommend you learn to play on an acoustic guitar, and, if you have the money, with an instructor. The acoustic guitar may seem less sexy, and taking lessons may … Continue reading What you need to know to learn to play guitar

The 12-String Bluebird

I bought a guitar in a parking lot eleven years ago. I had seen an ad in the company paper offering a 12-string acoustic guitar for $200, and it turned out to be a great-sounding instrument. The guitar says "Blueridge" on the headstock, and no other player or dealer I spoke to then had even … Continue reading The 12-String Bluebird