I found these washing instructions on a shirt my wife bought:


I’ve partially deciphered the text as “Machine wash cold with like colors. Only non-chlorine bleach when needed. Tumble dry low. […] Only dry cleaning. Made in Korea.” The remaining text seems to be “Colour by numbering” but that doesn’t seem to make any sense.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

From Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Silver Blaze”:

Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”

haddon My daughter found a copy of Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Vintage, 2004) at a local BOOKSALE outlet and I bought it because she liked it. I very seldom look at novels, but I’m glad that I read this book.

This “murder mystery novel” is quite unusual in that (a) it starts at chapter 2, (b) it has footnotes, drawings, and an appendix consisting of a proof of a mathematical theorem, and (c) the murderer is revealed halfway through the novel.

So I think it is not a “real” murder mystery novel (hence the scare quotes in the previous paragraph), and, to paraphrase Sherlock Holmes, that is the curious incident.

Although the story is told from the viewpoint of a 15-year-old boy, I found the observations on language (literal and figurative), writing (how to write detective fiction), the nature of the mind (how a normal person’s way of thinking differs from that of an autistic person, or of an animal, or of a computer), and mathematics very deep. I particularly like how a wide variety of mathematics is presented (probability, chaos, games, tessellations).

A quote from Wikipedia mentions that the book “was published simultaneously in separate editions for adults and children.” It seems that my copy has a few differences from the version that Wikipedia refers to. For example, Wikipedia mentions that the lead character is given a Cocker Spaniel puppy at the end, but in my copy of the book, the puppy is a Golden Retriever.

I found the ending quite sad, although most people would probably consider it a happy ending.

The B-52’s 1989 press photo

The first B-52’s album that I bought was a Cosmic Thing cassette. I sent a letter to a fan club whose postal address was listed in the cassette sleeve, and I got an issue of a fan club newsletter as well as the photo shown above.

The signatures are printed on the photo (not handwritten) and the photo’s size is 4 inches by 5.25 inches. I can’t seem to find this picture on the internet, but the closest photo I could find is one without the signatures. The photo seems to be part of six photos included in a Cosmic Thing press kit released on June 27, 1989. The photograph is by Janette Beckman and has a 1989 copyright belonging to Reprise Records. Note that the fifth member of the band, Ricky Wilson, passed away in 1985.