When words are unnecessary – 2

In the world of Music, Mathematics and Architecture, language is not necessary to communicate. The first ‘speaks’ in notations and through the medium of musical instruments,  the second through symbols and numbers and the last, when it is designed uniquely and well – is ‘spoken’ through drawings at its inception, and is experienced in the three dimensional ‘poetry of space.’

Question: Why don’t we see this beautiful, grounded, intelligent, well-read, educated, amazingly talented  lady (and a very good and observant writer on her own, as evidenced from the ‘postcards’ on her own site that she has written for more than 15 years) more visible in the mainstream media? Her  rationality, values, views and justified success would be such a better inspiration to young girls instead of the sad sorry samples of scandal-to-notoriety skanks we see omnipresent in the glossies in the USA?

Here’s a performance by my favourite violinist, the grounded, gifted genius Hilary Hahn. This composition by the way, is one of the most difficult ones to play and to do so by memory as she does here – jaw-dropping pure genius. And yes, she is also a master of one of the other most difficult and timeless solo violin pieces ever written – Bach’s chacconne ( a piece I am addicted to) and also plays Elgar effortlessly.

For more on Hilary: http://www.hilaryhahn.com/ & here.

An interview:  here


Related Post :

When words are unnecessary -1

All previous posts: Click here

Curious? Why is the violin so hard to play? an engineer and a mathematician explain here.



Geeky Facts:

This year we have 4 unusual dates 1/1/11, 1/11/11, 11/1/11 and 11/11/11.

Now take the LAST 2 digits of the year you were born & add the age you’ll be this year. It should be 11, 110 or 111.

Also: on January this year, we have 5 Mondays, 5 Saturdays, 5 Sundays. This happens every 823 years!

What are the origins of the word January? (The following blurb is from Wikipedia)

“January is named after Janus (Ianuarius), the god of the doorway; the name has its beginnings in Roman mythology, coming from the Latin word for door (ianua) – January is the door to the year. Traditionally, the original Roman calendar consisted of 10 months, totalling 304 days, winter being considered a monthless period. Around 713 BC, the semi-mythical successor of Romulus, King Numa Pompilius, is supposed to have added the months of January and February, allowing the calendar to equal a standard lunar year (355 days). Although March was originally the first month in the old Roman Calendar, January became the first month of the calendar year either under Numa or under the Decemvirs about 450 BC (Roman writers differ). In contrast, years in dates were identified by naming two consuls, who entered office on May 1 and March 15 before 153 BC when they began to enter office on January 1.

Various Christian feast dates were used for the New Year in Europe during the Middle Ages, including March 25 and December 25. However, medieval calendars were still displayed in the Roman fashion of twelve columns from January to December. Beginning in the 16th century, European countries began officially making January 1 the start of the New Year once again—sometimes called Circumcision Style because this was the date of the Feast of the Circumcision, being the eighth day from December 25.

Historical names for January include its original Roman designation, Ianuarius, the Saxon term Wulf-monath (meaning wolf month) and Charlemagne‘s designation Wintarmanoth (winter / cold month).”

Wow! Feast of the Circumcision on January 1st?! Considering there was no anaesthesia back then, can you believe how painful January 1st must have been for most men in Europe?? We really need to thank whoever decided to invent the New Year’s party to ring in January the way we have it today!

And guess who had first declared January 1 as New year’s day? The Roman emperor Julius Caesar – who officially declared it to be a New Year in 46 B.C based on the principle that the God Janus had two faces, one looking forward and the other looking backward – so it indicated looking back at the past and looking forward to the future – an apt way to ring in a new year.  It is said that Caesar celebrated his January 1  New Year by ordering the revolutionary Jewish forces to route back.

Well, we should certainly thank the times we’re in. Where January 1 does not involve circumcision feasts or killed on the basis of your religion. (Actually that last bit, come to think of it, still exists.) But anyway, a time where we can openly write this (click here) without a lynch mob burning us as a witch or a warlock for asking rational questions about mass beliefs. No wonder there are fewer scientists, inventors, rationalists and truth-seekers in the world and far more of those who just party while enjoying the gifts of the inventors. The former were just weeded out from the human race over time for not going along with the crowds. Just a thought.



New York, 11.1.’11. A passing thought: In times of sadness and sickness, despair and drudgery, we all have the right to look for comfort and love in our dear ones, whisper prayers for our near ones – but at the end of the day, for the last several decades, even the most irrational amongst people consciously or subconsciously know (or SHOULD know – no matter how much they might deny truth or the contribution of the brilliant geek minds of the world) that when a dear one is lying in the hospital, a victim of a virus or of violence, it is not a ‘Power’ in the skies that lessens that patient’s suffering, but the brains and skills and conscious decisions of a doctor or a surgeon who has spend countless hours and years learning in med school and using the medicines and biomedical instruments that other researchers have spend years inventing and perfecting. Often unknown. Unnamed. Unacknowledged. But it is to them we owe so much of our longevity today.

Less than 150 years back, the average man lived about 40 to 45 years (perhaps the reason mid-life crisis occurs so much in the past 150 years is because we have doubled our life expectancies?) And in all the years since, and centuries afore, there have been no dearth of believers or preachers:  But for many many decades now, even the mullah of the mosque, the Pope of the church, the Lama of Tibet, the rabbi of the synagogue and the priest of a temple –  each when he is sick or injured – rushes to be aided by……..Who?  Think…….who? As much as they may preach to their flock that their life belongs to the heavens (yes, even while some of them are molesting young boys behind, or shouting decrees of death in the ‘honour’ of the prophet, or cashing in on huge monetary donations and basking in glorified attention from enraptured Hollywood celebrities)  those preachers and teachers, leaders and ‘seekers’, in times of sickness go where they know they’ve a better chance at Life:  Yes – they go to those often unnamed, unmentioned practitioners of real medical science and research. If faith could move mountains and heal bullet wounds, if prayers could remove tumours and stitch broken arteries, then why rush to a hospital or an ER, ‘stead of a prayer house, Mr. Preacher?

And before ye television and tabloid lappers dumb down  in mass delusion in the supermarket checkout aisles, staring at the mind-numbing  now-omnipresent Kardashians and Snookis of the world, or hearing the raving ranting power-crazy Becks and other apocalypse-yelling loonies, remember instead, nay – you should THANK  gratefully, humbly instead, those silent rational men who invented penicillin; insulin;  aspirin; the vaccines for cholera, TB, polio and small pox; the x-ray machine; the electron microscope; the fMRI scanner; and much, much more; the epidural to ease the labour pains of childbirth before you show your belly to the world  – you media-whore Kate of 8 or the other Ms. freakshow octamom. I would rather know the names and stories of those men and women who silently slogged and worked in laboratories so we could live longer, better, healthier. And suffer not from ignorance while lessening physical pain. Yes, peace of mind can be attributed to many varied factors – real or imagined; And there are many words of genuine wisdom and beautiful quotations  seen in ancient scriptures. And nothing (yes not even an imaginary ‘power’) can replace genuine love, peace, authenticity and integrity. If anything, there should be much more of those latter four qualities in the world. But when it comes to trusting your ill health to be healed faster and the darkness of disease to be banished, it’s the  discoveries of Science you should thank, snitches.

(Hey – and don’t forget to thank the computer geeks of the world due to whom you can use the internet.)

http://xkcd.com/836/ (Thank you, Randall Munroe for your wit and your message, and wishing you strength through your time.)



An ode to scientist Carl Sagan : (Here) Billions of Stars, Billions of sports fans.


A year goes by. A New year comes. Every 365.2425 solar days.


Two leaves and Marley’s tail. 2nd Avenue, New York, NY.


A gentle little bunny rests on my lap.


A fly rests on the corner of a horse’s eye in a farm in Wisconsin


Jazz quartet with Charles McPherson at Joe Segal’s Jazz Showcase, Chicago


Flanked by the great jazz saxophonist Charles McPherson and drummer/neuroscientist  Dave Johnson. Charles is an architecture enthusiast and a brilliant conversationalist

Charles’ music : here; On wiki: here. More: here


My favourite patio at a secluded location where I’ve enjoyed many a meal and sunset staring out into the ocean in solitude. South Florida.


Bass guitarist Norbert Marius strums at an instrument he custom-built himself. At Jules Bistro, West Village, New York. (Norbert has also done custom-built installations for Roger Waters’ studio in New York.)


Moi, dressed as some space-age devil during Halloween, New York City.


A street light seen from the back of my car seat. I took this photo after it was irreversibly broken after a near-death accident I had while driving it last summer.


Sunset on a lake in Woodstock, NY.


A view of the Chrysler building, New York.


How do you define a Year in your life? Time? Age? Memories? Milestones? Life? (Did you know the Latin word for year is “annus”?) Or  a fixed period on a calender set this way: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year ?

Or a new dose of hope for eternal optimists?

Happy 2011!