Dear Reader,

Jean ColonomosBy Jean Colonomos      June 25, 2021

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Dear Reader,
This is for you; in gratitude. May 1, 2021 It has been my longtime interest to understand algorithms. Strange that I find a comprehensible definition in Kate Wilhelms’s mystery, “Death Qualified.” Described by a mathematical whiz, Mike refers to irregular (non-linear) coastlines: “Those Mandelbrot images are derived from one of the simplest algorithms ever discovered…they have fractal property ties; that is, they are selfsimilar, no matter what the scale is and they are infinite.” (Google search: “A fractal is a pattern that the laws of nature repeat at different scales.”)…“From the simple comes the most complex. And that describes just about every natural object that exists… What we’re learning is that under the most chaotic appearing systems, there is order and simplicity.” My mystically bent son-in-law showed me a fractal in my jade plant. At the tip of each stem one leaf faced north, one faced south, the other 2 east and west. The pattern was identical at the end of each stem. I see an algorithm as a mathematical formula to find patterns of connection, a sort of a Where’s Waldo hunt repeated since the world was born. May 5 Sheila and I have book secrets. She’s sending me undercover her review copy of Elizabeth Strout’s new novel, “Oh William!” (She knows my grandson’s name is William.) I’m sworn to secrecy as she doesn’t want her “Bloomsbury Books” employees to know I’m first in line to read it. A quick read then back to Sheila. May 3 Life has speeded up and I was too tired to write. I liked the down time the pandemic offered and I need to hang on to some of that. May 4 Lots of volatility in the market. Investors selling off due to fear of inflation and possibly higher taxes for some. May 5 Facebook’s oversight Board has voted to ban Trump for six more months. He’s also banned from Twitter. Lots of implications for social media and how they’ll handle those out to destroy democracy. May 6 A delightful lunch with Alma, a car broker who helped me buy my car. She told me about an American manufacturing company, the sole American business creating a necessary microchip needed for all cars. Though the company makes other items, during the pandemic it stopped making the chip because the future was uncertain. Alma reported nobody could buy a new car because they were the only ones making the chip. “If you go online and look at Honda dealerships, for example, there are fields of them sitting in the lots.” She said it will take 6 months to produce the complicated chips but coming out of a pandemic, lock-downed people want new cars NOW. Thank you, Senator Bernie Sanders: “The GOP is an anti-democratic cult.” A new study estimates more than 900,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19. Speaking with my Israeli-American cousin, Ziv, who spoke of recent optimism, mentioned that Netanyahu can’t put together a coalition and that his rival, Yair Lapid, has four weeks to form a government. Amazing news that the Arab Islamist party, Raam, has five seats in the Knesset. Ziv also said that in the last 10 years young people can opt out of the military. “Israel had a huge army, but the economy could no longer support it,” he said. May 7 Now there’s a Texas law that allows citizens to carry guns without a permit!? South Carolina lawmakers vote to allow death by firing squad!? The world has stopped making sense. May 9 My glowing friend, Marie, visited today. She lived 14 months in Maui because she was stuck there during the pandemic. She’d cut her below-the-waist black hair and now has a short haircut framing her beautiful face. Occasional gray strands soften the look. As an Asian, she shared, “I didn’t feel alone there because most of the people look like me.” Fractal from my 5/14/21 column where Izzy and I were discussing which letter of the alphabet we’d get rid of, this quote sent to me by poet Millicent Borges-Accardi. It’s from “Abigail Mack” by Christopher Gavin, printed in the Boston Globe. Ms. Mack’s mother passed away from cancer in 2014 when she was 12 and she wants to get rid of the letter “s.” “I hate the letter S. I used to have two parents, but now I have one, and the S in parents isn’t going anywhere.” Happy Mother’s Day. I’ve surrendered. The world is filled with mysterious mythologies, mysteries wider than our human wingspan can understand; there’s comfort in letting go. Epilogue: Poet Ken Jones, Chichester, England: “RANDOM WALK// You will ask me/ where did this come from// and I will say,/ of course,/ that I have no idea// and that will be the/ truth/ today.// I set my soul/ on a random walk/ a lifetime ago/ and I washed up here// wrapped up/in these few words.”
Jean Colonomos

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